Tim Wheeler of Ash has spoken about the influence of his father’s illness on his new solo album.
Wheeler will release ‘Lost Domain’ – his solo debut – on November 3. Speaking to The Independent recently, Wheeler opened up about the difficulties of losing his dad to dementia and how the emotional struggle was channelled into the upcoming release.
“I remember how distressed [my father] was by [the illness]. He was always trying to make sense of what was happening to him. I’d visit, and find him scribbling on paper a lot, gibberish, illegible stuff, as if he was trying to write his way out of his situation. I’d watch him do it and, well, it was hard to see.”
“One particular day, he looked up at me as I came in and gasped, as if he knew exactly who I was, but also who he was, and why he was there, in hospital. He just started crying,” he continued. “He was a very strong character, my dad, in many ways a lot to live up to. I kept thinking, after he died, whether I had managed to, you know, to live up to him.”
Elsewhere in the interview Wheeler details the bittersweet moment of playing the album to his mother for the first time. “I played it to her during a car journey. It was a bit… um, I don’t know, to be honest. She didn’t say much about it. She’s quite stoical, my mother. I just hope she wasn’t upset by it. That wasn’t my intention.”
A portion of the record’s sales will be given to the Alzheimer’s Society, a charity Wheeler has worked closely with since his father’s death. The album can be pre-ordered via Pledge Music now.
Discussing the donation, Wheeler said: “After losing my father to dementia, I felt the need to personally do something to fight Alzheimer’s. My friend Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy’s father also has Alzheimer’s so we put on a concert in Belfast in November 2011 with The Divine Comedy, The Undertones and Ash to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society. Since then I’ve had close links with the Alzheimer’s Society and this year was involved with the Dementia Friends campaign. I’m proud to continue to support them and raise more awareness with the album ‘Lost Domain’.”
Tim Wheeler rose to fame as the frontman of Ash, who released their first mini-album ‘Trailer’ in October 1994. Their last release was two volumes of the band’s ‘A-Z Series Singles Collection’ in 2010.