Richard Ashcroft says he feels kinship with Kanye West

The Verve singer defends rapper in new NME interview

The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft has spoken of feeling affinity with Kanye West, speaking to NME in an exclusive cover feature in this week’s magazine (available now, free in the UK).

Rapper West has recently made headlines by insulting Taylor Swift on a new track, defending Bill Cosby and arguing with Pink Floyd and Lou Reed producer Bob Ezrin on Twitter.

Likewise, Ashcroft’s career has often been dogged by his sometimes erratic behaviour. In 2006, he was arrested for arriving at a Chippenham youth club in a ‘dishevelled’ state, offering the kids present £10,000 and the chance to write songs with him.


Asked if he feels any kinship with Kanye West, Ashcroft replied: “Yeah. If you really, truly believe in something, you’re on fire and your tongue rolls at the same pace. A lot of his outrageous quotes, I believe, come from that.”


He continued: “At The Verve’s first ever gig I said that we were gonna blow this local band off the stage. It was only in the local Wigan paper and they rang me to ask why I was being so aggressive. I just went, ‘Hey man, it’s like boxing. I’m just trying to sell a ticket.’ That side of my personality has always been there and that’s why I’ve been labelled arrogant. It’s not that – it’s because I see this as combative. I’m in a fight. It’s not all lovey-dovey, huggy fantastic. This is music, man. This is serious shit.”

Quizzed on how he feels about being nicknamed ‘Mad Richard’, Ashcroft shrugged and said: “Great. If this world hasn’t made you semi-mad then you ain’t living in it. [When I got that nickname] it was my youthful exuberance being misread. I don’t believe in a new-age movement; I’m not a hippy. Maybe at the time I believed I could fly. I still believe. It’s a long way back down. I’m not going fucking anywhere.”

Read the full interview and see the brand-new photoshoot in the all-new free NME, available now and on Find out where you can get your copy from the full list of pick-up points.

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Richard Ashcroft releases new album ‘These People’ on May 14. He recently released new track ‘This Is How It Feels’, which Liam Gallagher later praised.


Richard Ashcroft will play the following live dates:

Manchester, Albert Hall (May 14)
London, Roundhouse (May 16)