Back in the early 1990s, there was a joke in the UK music papers that referred to an imaginary indie band called Slowdriveride – an amalgam of some of the groups who made up the ‘shoegazing’ scene of that time. True, many were making swirly, ethereal guitar rock while shuffling about onstage, but the music of one band – Ride – literally soared above the rest.
Formed at art school in Oxfordshire in 1988 by Mark Gardener, Andy Bell, Stephen Queralt and Laurence Colbert, Ride had a rapid impact on the alternative music scene.
Initially described as “the House of Love with chainsaws”, within a year their serrated guitar melodies were attracting unusual amounts of attention. At the start of 1990, their debut self-titled EP reached #71 in the UK charts – the first time their label, Creation, had ever registered such a high placing.
By the end of the Spring, the band had transcended their independent roots and entered the Top 40 with their Play EP, helped by their youthful good looks and large-scale touring.
The success continued with the release of their Nowhere album in winter 1990. It had been a year of dramatic “releases”: Nelson Mandela was freed and Margaret Thatcher was booted out of government. So the mood of Nowhere, with its high-octane, driving guitars and emotional sweep, hit the spot dead on.
Tours of Japan, Australia and America showed just how impressively swift the band’s rise had been, especially when the EP Today, Forever went straight into the UK Top 20. Their success was sealed by a headline appearance at 1991’s Slough Music Festival in front of 8,000 fans.
In 1992, Ride consolidated their position as one of the most interesting new bands with the excellent album Going Blank Again and the hypnotic single Leave Them All Behind.
Their third album, Carnival of Light, was released in June 1994, at a time when Britpop was the obsession of the music press. The album was not well received by critics (the band themselves later referred to the LP as “Carnival of Shite”).
Following the break-up of the band in 1996 and the release of their final album, Tarantula, members moved on to various other projects, most notably Andy Bell who became the bassist for Oasis.
In 2001, the band briefly reunited for a one-off performance for a television show. Ride announced their second reunion in November 2014.
Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Laurence ‘Loz’ Colbert