The star tells NME.COM he's "very positive" about the follow-up to 'Alone With Everybody'...

Richard Ashcroft has spoken exclusively to NME.COM about his new album, which he describes as “purer insanity”.

>Richard Ashcroft has collaborated with Chemical Brothers on the track ‘The Test’ for their new album ‘Come With Us’. Meanwhile, the former Verve frontman has been writing his second solo album, the follow-up to 2000’s ‘Alone With Everybody’, which is likely to be released in late 2002.

Richard Ashcroft said: “It isn’t really finished yet so it would be stupid to talk about it, but all I can say is I’m very positive about it and there’s a lot of material and it’s strong.”

Asked if it was similar to his debut, he commented: “No, not really. I dunno how to compare really. I think each thing that I do is just extended a little bit, so the songwriting to me is strengthened, stronger songs and the insanity is purer insanity basically. It’s a good mix.”

While promoting his debut, the singer suffered various setbacks, including injuries, which caused several cancelled dates in the US. Critics were divided on his debut album, with some describing it as middle of the road rock.

Speaking about his debut, >Richard Ashcroft said: “I’m never happy with any record, never truly been happy. Been happy with songs but you know, it’s a cliché, but the day I become happy about something is the day that it stops.”

Describing his problem injury, he said: “I’ve had an operation on my (left) hand, dunno what it is, some tendon problem basically, causing pain when I was playing any instrument, piano or guitar. So I had that sorted out.”

The singer also denied suggestions he had “mellowed out” since his days in Verve.

Richard Ashcroft said: “Obviously aging has a certain amount of mellowing process because there’s certain things you realise you were doing when you were younger that were plain ridiculous, stupid. But mellowing out in this kind of journalistic, what can we make Richard Ashcroft into this year? No, absolutely not. I mean, when people said I was making bread at home, I was taking a four-week old baby out on my first solo world tour. I was going to cities and places that most people who consider me to be some kind of mellowed out fucking home-maker had never been to or experienced, do you know what I mean?”

See next week’s NME (February 9) for a full interview with Richard Ashcroft andChemical Brothers.