Photo Credit: Rob Davies
It’s been over ten years since Ultrasound imploded acrimoniously back in 1999, citing ‘a series of musical and personal differences’. They left behind a handful of singles that managed to be both epic and pop, and a ludicrously ambitious double album that confounded critics but has now achieved that rarified status of ‘cult classic’. A reconciliation was both unexpected and unlikely, yet in 2010 the band reformed to play a handful of gigs which quickly sold out. We caught up with singer Andrew ‘Tiny’ Wood and guitarist Richard Green prior to their gig at Dingwalls as part of the Camden Crawl, to find out what they have been up to in the intervening years…
“We reformed for a charity gig” explains Tiny. “Tim Smith of the Cardiacs fell ill and we wanted to do something to help him. It was originally supposed to be a gig at the Southbank Centre, but on the eve of the concert it was cancelled. However, by that point we were all together”. Ultrasound went on to contribute a track to the fundraising LP ‘Leader of the Starry Skies: A Tribute to Tim Smith’.
“Since the spilt we’ve still been involved in various forms of music” continues Richard, “but it feels good to be back. We feel rested.”
We point out that it is ironic that their old label mates Suede have reformed as well. Are Brett and the boys trying to steal Ultrasound’s thunder? “Yeah, they are jumping on our bandwagon” jokes Tiny. “And they didn’t split up for as long as us. It’s only been a couple of years for them.”
Music public relations guru Phil Savidge recently described Ultrasound ‘as the very definition of Britpop excess’ in an article in The Times Newspaper and it is often asserted that their debut album bankrupted Nude records. “Yeah, that’s probably true.” Richard concedes. “It’s certainly a good story and I think it possibly contributed to it. Though in reality, I’m sure they actually bankrupted themselves”.
“In hindsight we wouldn’t change anything though”, expounds Tiny “We should have made it a triple!”
The 2010 gigs were joyous affairs, with the crowd singing along to virtually every track. “We’ve been very surprised at the reaction” confesses Richard “Every gig we have done has been lovely, because you don’t know whether you have been forgotten and you are going to have to start again from scratch.”
The band will now be playing with a new keyboard player though, Matt Jones having recently left to join Beady Eye. “Yeah, he’s Liam bitch now” laughs Tiny, “Matt has always been a keyboard slut.”
We talk about groups playing reunion gigs, and the sense that sometimes the crowd don’t want to hear any new material from the band. “That’s why we always start with a new song” Tiny interjects, “I don’t see much point in it if you don’t do anything new.” “It’s fun playing the old stuff though”, Richard points out “You can put a new slant on the songs, and it’s been a long time!”
It certainly has. You can catch Ultrasound at the Reading and Leeds Festival with new material to follow “later, rather than sooner”.