One of the keynote UK bands of the '90s arguably made a huge noise in their day, yet surprisingly created little more than a ripple in the mainstream. Ride had the looks, the tunes, the acclaimed live shows and the critics on their side, but Mr and Mrs General Public barely twitched when the Oxford quartet chimed and jangled their way into earshot.
Built for stadiums, yet consigned to venues, Mark Gardener's charges were always on the verge of greatness, yet never fully embraced. Being labelled with the term 'shoegaze' probably didn't endear them to casual listeners, but with patience, they would have been treated to the equal or better of their more successful label-mates at the time, namely The Boo Radleys (who ironically supported Ride on a few early shows) and a certain Oasis.
Debut album 'Nowhere' was a blistering powerhouse that challenged My Bloody Valentine for the 'beautiful noise' throne, but it was follow-up 'Going Blank Again', complete with resplendent single 'Leave Them All Behind', that threw them into the UK #5 for an all-too-brief dalliance with fame and fortune. Although follow-up albums 'Carnival of Light' and 'Tarantula' sold well, the writing was on the wall and Ride split in 1996. Gardener dabbled with another band (The ill-fated Animalhouse) until going solo at the turn of the century and with his own studios, OX-4-Sound, the songwriter has been busy overseeing studio sessions and releases by various local bands, as well as releasing a collaborative single with another luminary from the (cough) 'shoegaze' era, Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) called 'The Places We Go'.
Later this year, Mark will be performing a handful of solo shows as a follow-up to his recent Sit Down and Sing tour of Germany and a pre-cursor to new material. Towns announced so far for shows in November include Brighton, London (Brixton), Leicester, Salford and Newcastle. Tickets are available now, priced from under a tenner (£12 for Brixton).