Richard Ashcroft Grins, Bares It For "Lovers" Video

Former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft is set to release his first solo album, titled "Alone With Everybody," on June 27, and the video for the first single, "A Song For The Lovers," is already drawing raves for its rather unorthodox style -- as well as its striking image of the topless singer.

Ashcroft collaborated on the clip for "A Song For The Lovers" (see "Richard Ashcroft Draws Inspiration From Joy Division") with director Jonathan Glazer, although as he recently told MTV News, he wasn't quite prepared for the state of undress required for the shoot.

"It was a bit bizarre when I turned up," Ashcroft said, "because I had no idea. I thought I was doing it with the top on -- I've said this before -- but no, it was like a 'top-off shoot' kind of thing.

"That was something I had to

get my head around, 'cause by no mean am I presenting some

like that

. Y'know, I'm not strolling around here thinking I'm D'Angelo or anything. This is Richard Ashcroft, all 10 stones [140 lbs.] of him, or 10 and a half stones, or whatever I am.

"I was aware that I was gonna look pretty skinny in this thing," he continued, "and probably a lot of people are going to find me very unattractive 'cause of that. But then you get on the tip and you're like, 'Sod it. Let's just do it. Let's just make a piece of British film that does all the things that videos shouldn't do.'

"So, the first bit of lip sync, my back is to you, and I'm mumbling. In the second bit of lip sync, I'm eating a sandwich with bits of it coming out of my mouth, and I stop the track. There's silence on MTV for 10 to 15 seconds. There's tension in the video, all these

things. There's humor at the end.

"It's a good laugh, really," Ashcroft said. "It's using the medium well. It's doing everything that I want a good video to do. But the unfortunate thing is that I have to star in it. [Laughs] It'd be great if it was someone else." [RealVideo]

Ashcroft has already shot another video for the track "Money To Burn," which features him walking down Wall Street in the rain, although it's not yet known if "Money To Burn" will be the second U.S. single from "Alone With Everybody."

For more from the MTV News interview with Richard Ashcroft, be sure to check out the online feature, "Richard Ashcroft: Everybody's Talking," premiering here on Friday, June 16.