News Flash: The Verve Look To Record New Material Soon

With their album Urban Hymns riding

strong in the top 30 and their

hit single "Bitter Sweet Symphony" continuing to command airwaves thanks to

its use in a Nike commercial, this spring would seem the ideal time for

British sensations The Verve to mount a tour of the U.S.

Though such an outing had been discussed, it has now been scuttled, perhaps

with an eye toward recording new material and likely returning to greet

even bigger U.S. audiences this summer.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they recorded more," said Ambrosia Healy,

spokeswoman for the band's U.S. publicity firm, Shore Fire Media, on

Tuesday. "They like to record, and they keep putting extra tracks on

singles as B-sides."

Although he has not heard of plans for more recording, it's always an

option for The Verve, said Jon Wessendorff, a spokesman for the band's U.K.

label, Hut Recordings. "There's not anything scheduled at the moment," he

said. "You know how these things work, they might change their mind and go

ahead and do something."

Last fall, as

HREF=",_The/Bitter_Sweet_Symphony.ram">"Bitter Sweet Symphony" (RealAudio excerpt) was first gaining favorable

reviews and radio airplay, the band -- which reunited to record and release

the Urban Hymns album -- mounted their most successful American tour

since forming in 1989. A follow-up for '98 had been planned, although

there was no firm itinerary in place, according to Healy.

"There actually wasn't a tour to postpone," Healy said. "They

talked about spring dates, but there was nothing scheduled. It looks like

they'll be coming back in the summer."

As yet, there are no concert dates set.

Waiting until the traditionally strong summer tour-season may allow The

Verve to fill bigger venues than the theaters and clubs in which they've

been performing, especially if Urban Hymns reaches the coveted

platinum status (1 million copies sold) in the months ahead. The album has

thus far sold about 500,000 copies.

"They're going to be checking out [which venues are] right for the market,"

Healy said. "It also depends on how long the tour is, though there's

nothing planned yet."

Meanwhile, a spring layoff affords The Verve time to record more material.

Band manager Jazz Summer said recently that singer and songwriter Richard

Ashcroft "wanted to get some new music out of [himself]," according to the

Los Angeles Times.

In the meantime, The Verve will prepare for their sold-out May 24 gig in

their hometown of Wigan, England. The audience is expected to number

33,000, the largest crowd for whom the band has ever played. -- Chris

Nelson [Wed., Feb. 18, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]