The band speak exclusively to NME.COM backstage at the Carling Weekend: Reading festival…

ASH have spoken for the first time about supporting THE DARKNESS on their forthcoming UK Arena tour.

Singer Tim Wheeler told NME.COM that his friendship with Darkness singer Justin Hawkins meant the tour would be one of their highlights of the year.

He said: “It’s going to be really good. I really, really like The Darkness and I really like big shows as well, so it’s everything good rolled into one.”

Today’s Main Stage bill also features both bands, giving fans an idea what the gigs in November and December will be like. But for Wheeler, Reading has its own flavour.

He continued: “Reading is a unique festival, it’s a real classic alternative rock festival. We’re going to do some hits and a lot from the new album. We’re going to really mix it up.”

Wheeler was speaking backstage at the NME Signing Tent, where bands meet their fans. Others set to appear over the weekend include Peaches, The Distillers and The Hives.

Tim said that some of his fans had bizarre requests. He laughed: “I had two fells asking me to kiss them, and a woman asked me to lick a finger of a twix which she was going to eat later. She asked me to fully insert it into her mouth. It’s all a bit fucking weird actually!”

Ash play on the Main Stage at 7pm.