The Verve Never Have To Say They're Sorry

Wigan,

England's native sons The Verve, are beginning to get some

attention on these shores with the release of their new single "This

Is Music," off their impressively titled A Northern Soul,"

which will be released on Virgin late next month. Up to now the band

has been known primarily as the band that was forced to change their

name from Verve to The Verve in America, to avoid being sued by Verve

Records in 1993. But they have come a long way from then. The band

have recently been on a search and destroy mission, opening up for

Oasis on their European dates, and engaging in some after-hour hi-jinx

that are best left to the imagination. The Verve had a profound

bonding experience with Oasis eighteen months ago, when Oasis

supported The Verve on the "A Storm In Heaven" tour. In fact, whenever

Liam Gallagher is asked he effuses over The Verve, calling them his

favorite band. The friendship runs deep, and The Verve don't publicly

vent about the reversal in their billing, although singer Richard

Ashcroft recently cautioned a reporter from Melody Maker from

bringing up Oasis. "I'm sick of Oasis getting mentioned in our pieces.

It's about us, this thing is about us." But we'll have to excuse

Ashcroft, who by his own accounts is suddenly homeless, ever since he

broke up with his longtime girlfriend last month. Guitarist Nick

McCabe is also feeling a little down in the mouth, since he broke his

hand (as earlier reported at their April 22 show in Paris) in a fracas

with a bouncer. They may be bloodied but not bowed, and though

massive success has eluded them, they refuse to give up their vision.

"I'd rather paint boats on the beach than taint my dream of what this

was all about when I was a kid. We will never lose the excitement of

playing live or writing a new song," pontificates Ashcroft. Tainting

the dream for the singer means easing up on his characteristic wail.

"I went to a Harley Street specialist about my voice, and he said that

if I carried on with the way I was singing, really intense and pushing

my voice, then it would be gone in three years." The band also seem

reluctant to give up their wild ways. "When I've been on tour, I've

taken it pretty far and I can't believe that people did it all the

time. Take it from me, that lifestyle hurts bad." The lifestyle caught

up with him last year when the band was playing Lollapalooza. Ashcroft

had to be hospitalized for dehydration, after a long stretch of

alcohol-induced craziness during Lollapalooza's run. "But for us the

main thing's the music," says Ashcroft. "When we're on tour, we'll

have a great time, suck the marrow out of it all and come home like

corpses, recharge our batteries and go out again... After all, rock

and roll means never having to say you're sorry."