JOTR Mixtape: Daniel Ash

Founding member of Bauhaus as well as Love And Rockets and Tones on Tail, Daniel Ash is one of the key guitarists of his generation. He recently jumped on the phone with us to put together a virtual cassette compilation of some of his favorite songs. On Halloween 2015, he released his latest track “Flame On.” To hear the entire episode, click here
Favorite Road Trip Song

Daniel Ash: I don’t really go on road trips. I go on motorcycle trips, so I don’t really listen to music on the bike but years ago I used to stick a Walkman on. What would be at the top of the list was “Raw Power” by Iggy and the Stooges. I’ve loved since it first came. Actually, when it first came out in the sixties, I hadn’t heard it. I probably heard it the mid-seventies (or) late seventies. It could have been recorded last week as far as I’m concerned. I like both mixes. I like the Bowie mix and I like the Iggy mix as well. The thing is that I think the songs are so damn good, you couldn’t go wrong in producing that album anyway. Unless of course you took the guitars out or something. But I think the energy in that studio I think was incredible. For me, it’s just one of those perfect records. In that genre of course.

Guilty Pleasure Song

Daniel Ash: It’s called “A Man and a Woman.” It’s from a sixties French film. I remember hearing this thing and I thought it was a great melody. And some people might think it’s really cheesy but I think it’s like camp at it’s best. That’s the way I would describe it, but I don’t think that was intentional when they were making the film. I think they probably took it seriously, but it’s very very French. And my mum is half French half Belgian, and that’s probably why I like it as well. It’s in the blood. It’s the 1966 music to a film called “Un Homme et une Femme.”

Broken Heart Song

Daniel Ash: It’s Bowie’s “We Are The Dead.” I just get that real feeling of loss…of melancholia. It’s a real sad song for me but I love reveling in its darkness. It’s not an obvious choice for a broken heart song, but some of the lyrics I relate to on a personal level.

Signature Track From A Movie Made About You

Daniel Ash: “Ballrooms of Mars” by T.Rex. I just love that song and again, I relate to the lyric on that. That particular album by T.Rex is a complete work of art. There isn’t a bad song on there. Everything’s perfect. And that’s a very rare thing for an album to be perfect from to start to finish. But in my view, it is. I heard that in 1972, when it first came out and it just blew my mind for want of a better expression. It was something else. There was nothing else like it at the time. The whole production from Tony Visconti has such a silky feel. I really appreciate great production, and I think Visconti at that time was firing on all fours. The work he did then with Bolan and Bowie was immaculate to me. I saw Bowie way back when during the Thin White Duke tour when I was at art school at 17. But I didn’t see the Ziggy thing and I didn’t see Bolan. I saw Roxy Music at that time around 15. That was at the Rainbow in London. And I remember getting tickets for that on the off chance and I got tickets right at the very front. And when you’re 15 that was something else. And the thing about that gig as well, was that the audience looked as interesting as the band. Everybody looked like these dream characters. Very androgynous. It was like being on a planet that I wish I was born on.

Grey Day Song

Daniel Ash: OK…Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel’s “Sebastian.” I’m not familiar with the album. The only thing that I connected to with that band are the singles. “Mr. Soft”…”Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” and things like that. I was a complete Bowie freak at that time. I remember buying the Jobriath albums around that time, which again, weren’t a very cool to listen to at that time because it was a Bowie but I was intrigued by the cover of the album. With Cockney Rebel I never bought the albums, but I heard that (song) years later when I discovered it on YouTube or something and loved it immediately.

Favorite Remix

Daniel Ash: It’s a remix of “To Hell With Poverty” by Gang of Four. It’s the Go Home Productions remix. It got this CD a couple of years ago in Portland at a record store. There’s one (disc) with the singles on it and another with the remixes. It’s called “Return The Gift.” It’s better than the original.

Go To Karaoke Song

Daniel Ash: I don’t really go out doing that, but if I did it might be “If I Was A Rich Man” from “Fiddler On The Roof.” I do remember back in the day with the band that if I’d had a few drinks I’d start singing that for some reason. I think that’s the only thing I could do if I had a couple of pints of vodka or something.

Getting Ready For An Evening Out Song

Daniel Ash: That would be “Fall In Love With Me” by Iggy Pop from “Lust For Life.” It sort of gives you a bit of confidence when you’re going out, looking for girlies and stuff like that. The lyrics…I love that track.

Favorite Cover

Daniel Ash: I thought our version of “Ziggy Stardust” was pretty good. Peter and myself got the idea for that after listening to a live Bowie gig that Pete had on a cassette. It was really f*cked up, this cassette. You could hardly hear it…it was so muffled. But we a heard a version of Ziggy on this cassette and we went ‘Wow! We could do that approach to the track, which is exactly what we went into the studio to do after the memory of hearing that thing when we were in school…that little up screwed up cassette that we had. So 15 years later we wound up recording it in that style. There’s no point in doing a cover if you’re going to do the original exactly the same. There’s no point in that. That’s just ripping it off. You have to put your own take on it. The press couldn’t believe that we had the audacity to do such a thing, especially since Pete was getting compared to Bowie anyway. The people that didn’t like us were saying that we were just a Bowie rip off and all the rest of it…then we go and have the audacity to actually record a Bowie song, which at that time nobody would do that because nobody could touch Bowie. He was everything in England at that time. So we thought ‘Let’s do that. This is going to wind everybody up.’ Typical Bauhaus attitude. It was after we’d done “The Hunger” and everything. It was probably a year or two after that. It was just one of those things. I don’t think David was around. It was just three of us late at night…two or three in the morning…and we just started playing it for fun. So actually recording it properly, came from one drunken night. It definitely got us some press. It got us on Top of the Pops at the time, which was like MTV back then. (Bowie) was asked if he liked the version and all he said was “I’ve done some terrible cover versions in my time.” So, it was actually a compliment but that’s what we got back.

Something Recent That Knocked Me Out

Daniel Ash: OK…the thing about this that knocked me out was not only the song, but the video that goes with it. It’s not that new, but it’s not old either. The band is called The Knife and the song is called “Pass It On.” The official video for it, is very weird and wonderful. Very European. And I can’t suss out it that’s a girl singing or a guy.