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Ride Biography

Home > Music > R > Ride > Biography

Birth Place: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Years Active: 1988 – 1996, 2001
Genres: Alternative Rock, Shoegazing

Ride was a British shoegazing band formed in 1988 in Oxford, England, consisting of Andy Bell, Mark Gardener, Laurence “Loz” Colbert and Steve Queralt. The band was initially part of the shoegaze scene that emerged in England during the early 1990s.

Gardener and Bell had been to Cheney School in Oxford, appearing in the school's musical theatre productions, and in October 1988, they moved to Banbury to do Foundation Studies in Art and Design at North Oxfordshire College & The Oxfordshire School of Art & Design. There they met Colbert. Queralt, who also went to Cheney School, was recruited from the local record shop where he worked. After considering various names, the band settled for Ride, with its evocation of travel, and after the ride cymbal.

The band formed in the summer of 1988 and played their first gig as Ride for the College's Christmas Party towards the end of the year. While still at Banbury, the band produced a demo tape, recorded in Queralt's bedroom and hallway, including the tracks “Chelsea Girl” and “Drive Blind.” Queralt and his record shop boss and future Ride manager Dave Newton had started a live music night in Oxford called Local Support, and it was due to a cancellation by another band that Ride got their first proper gig at one of these nights. After the band supported The Soup Dragons in 1989, The Jesus and Mary Chain manager Alan McGee signed them to his Creation Records label.

Ride released three EPs between January and September 1990, entitled “Ride,” “Play” and “Fall.” All three EPs made it into the U.K. Top 75, with “Play” and “Fall” reaching the U.K. Albums chart’s Top 40. The first two EPs were released together as “Smile” in the United States in July 1990, while the “Fall” EP was incorporated into their first album, “Nowhere,” released in October 1990. “Nowhere” was a critical and commercial success, reaching #11 in the U.K.

Demand for new material was high, and the band recorded another EP, “Today Forever,” which was released in March 1991. The EP marked a change in direction for the group away from the noisier early style.

In February 1992 the band broke into the U.K. Top 10 with “Leave Them All Behind,” and the following month saw the release of the band's second album “Going Blank Again.” It was produced by Alan Moulder, and peaked at #5 on the U.K. Albums chart. In October 2009 the album was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry.

Ride was able to see out 1993 riding on the success of “Going Blank Again” and a third LP was keenly anticipated. A double weekend of gigs with The Charlatans that year kept them in the public eye amid a wider lack of interest in the shoegazing scene. Their third LP, “Carnival of Light,” was released in June 1994, at a time when Britpop was the focus of the music press. Produced by John Leckie, partly engineered by Nigel Godrich and featuring a guest appearance on keyboards from Jon Lord of Deep Purple, the album was split between songwriters Gardener and Bell, with the former's songs making up the first half of the album and the latter's the second. The album showcased the band's shift from shoegazing to a more traditional, alternative rock sound. It was not well received by critics, and by the end of 1994 even the band members had become disillusioned, referring to it amongst themselves as “Carnival of Shite.”

1995 saw the dissolution of the band while recording “Tarantula.” Gardener and Bell had led the band away from their shoegazing roots to become more contemporary, hoping to change their style with the times. Gardener had become interested in dance music, and wanted Ride to incorporate that into their style, while Bell disagreed.By the time Tarantula appeared in March 1996, the band was beginning to self-destruct. Bell penned most of the songs while Gardener provided only one - the tension within the band leading to an inability to write meaningful musical pieces. Gardener walked out during the album's mixing sessions, and the band announced their break-up shortly before its release in March 1996.

The album was released and remained on sale for one week before being withdrawn. Critics and fans alike had panned the album. Since the break-up, both Bell and Gardener have been more reflective about the group's disintegration, with Bell especially admitting his own part in the process.

After the split, Bell formed a new band called Hurricane No. 1 but this project was permanently dissolved when he was asked to play bass for Oasis after having turned down the opportunity to join Gay Dad. Gardener and Colbert joined with Sam Williams to form The Animalhouse. As BMG signings, they were successful in Japan. The band was, however, short lived and split in 2002.

Gardener also toured as a solo artist, while Colbert, Gardener and Bell have played in a Bob Dylan tribute band called The Zimmermen. Queralt appears to have retired from professional music. He spent the years following the break-up working in Oxford, playing 5-a-side football and raising a family. He is now living in Hammersmith, London.

In October 2001, all four members of Ride agreed to be filmed by Channel 4. The footage was used for the show “Pioneers,” a documentary on Sonic Youth, and featured a 20 minute improvised jam. The recording of this song, plus two short sound checks, were released in 2002 as “Coming up for Air.” The interest in this limited release caused the band to consider future releases.

In late 2002, Ride released a box set which is made up of “OX4 The Best of Ride,” “Firing Blanks” (unreleased tracks) and “Live Reading Festival 1992.” In 2003 they released “Waves,” a collection of tracks from five radio sessions recorded for the BBC.