Richard Ashcroft Goes For "Head Music" With Solo LP

Richard Ashcroft, the former frontman for The Verve, is set to return to record stores this week with his first solo album, "Alone With Everybody," a title lifted from a poem by Charles Bukowski.

The Verve, who scored a huge hit in the U.S. several years back with "Bittersweet Symphony," officially called it quits in April 1999, although Ashcroft says that his solo effort is pretty much a continuation of the sound of the band's final LP, "Urban Hymns."

"What really was clear in my mind," Ashcroft told MTV News, "was that I didn't want to leave what I'd started on 'Urban Hymns,' as far as the production and what I was gonna do with my voice, and the layering of the voices, and infusing gospel and country and blues and all of these styles. You know, bringing instruments out of context and infusing them in a different backdrop.

"I

knew I wanted to do all of this, but getting it together, in the early stages, took longer than I thought." [RealVideo]

Ashcroft also said that he and co-producer Chris Potter intentionally layered the voices and instruments on "Alone With Everybody" to such a degree in order to give the album a rich, textured sound that was reminiscent of certain "head music" records of his youth.

"I knew what I was like when I was 17, 18 years old," he said. "We'd lie on the floor, turn the lights out, put two speakers on either side of our ears, and try to blow our minds with music. I know that I want to make a record that does that, yet a record that if it was played on the radio at twelve in the afternoon, the guy making the wall, the guy cleaning the motorway, he's got a melody to hang on. He's

got something to hang

on to.

"All these different levels that great music should really work on is where I'm at. I'm totally up for experimental music. I'm up for music that they don't play on the radio, and I take in all of it. But my thing, the thing that comes most natural to me, is making the stuff that has a melody, it has a soul to it, yet it's head music. Whatever people may think of it, it's pretty out there as well." [RealVideo]

For more from our interview with Ashcroft, be sure to check out the recent MTV News Online feature, "Richard Ashcroft: Everybody's Talking."