A NORTHERN SOLO

"I've got no idea if Richard has recorded one, two or 20 tracks," he tells NME...

THE VERVE took the decision to split only days before the story was broken worldwide by nme.com. That’s what manager Jaz Summers claims in an exclusive NME interview, refuting suggestions that the band has been finished since playing their final gig last year at Slane Castle, Dublin.

There had been little activity around The Verve in the intervening months until, three weeks ago, NME discovered that Ashcroft had booked himself into a south London studio. His wife Kate Radley joined him there on a number of occasions, though her spokesman said she was still a member of Spiritualized, whether or not she had done any recording with her spouse.

Discussions with the band’s management at the time revealed that Ashcroft was just laying down demos and NME was asked to let the story lie to avoid attracting unwelcome media attention to Ashcroft’s movements.

NME complied, reassured that, at that point, the future of The Verve was still undecided and that Ashcroft demoing was not a cause for speculation as The Verve had often worked that way – with Ashcroft going in to record solo and the band working with him later. The reason given for Ashcroft using a proper recording studio rather than a demo or rehearsal room was that he occasionally laid down a vocal on an early take that was good enough to be used on the final recording.

When the announcement was made last week that The Verve were at an end, Jaz Summers, the band’s manager, contacted NME to explain that Ashcroft had intended to break the news through an interview with us but had a change of heart and decided not to speak to anyone about the break-up.

Richard has decided that he doesn’t feel it is appropriate to do any interviews at this time,” Summers explained to NME. “This is the end of The Verve, a very traumatic time, and he didn’t want to be seen to be exploiting the end of The Verve to further his own solo career.

When asked about the “circumstances” that Ashcroft referred to in his statement as the reason it was “impossible” to continue, Summers said: “I can’t really say. What happens within a band is like what happens within a family. It’s private.”

Summers said, “The Verve split has been hard on everyone and Richard is in the studio now, getting it all out of himself.”

Summers says he has “no idea when, where or how” these solo recordings will be released. “When I talked to NME a few weeks ago, Richard had literally just gone into the studio and with all this to deal with, I have no idea whether he has done one, two or 20 tracks.”

There is also no concrete news on the activities of the rest of the band. Bassist Simon Jones says in the official statement: “The remainder of the band – myself, Nick McCabe, Simon Tong – are continuing to work on our projects, while Pete Salisbury (The Verve’s drummer) is currently working on Richard’s new album. The rest of the band might even work with each other in the future. If this happens, it won’t be as The Verve.”

Hut Recordings refused to comment on The Verve split, but a spokesman for The Verve confirmed Richard Ashcroft and the rest of the band are still signed to the label as individuals.

He reiterated the split was “final” and said: “The band is over. If any of the band members decide to record together then that is up to them.”

For the full story on The Verve and the split, see this week’s NME on sale in London now and across the UK from tomorrow.

You can send our exclusive Verve split e-card by by clicking here.

Were The Verve more than just Richard Ashcroft and some blokes? Did the departure of Nick McCabe make it impossible to carry on under that name anyway? Will the new songs be any good? Tell us what you think. Post a message on Angst…