On 5 April 2015, Ride – the highly-influential indie rock outfit Andy Bell started with Mark Gardener, Loz Colbert and Steve Queralt back in 1988 – played their first gig for two decades.
Since that initial Oxford reunion, packed houses and rave reviews have followed the shoegaze innovators wherever they’ve stepped on the stage and – as their forthcoming UK tour readies to kick off – anticipation is, once again, sky high.
Before Ride hit the road, guitarist Andy Bell shares 10 albums that shaped his playing and the band's sound.
Ride UK tour
O2 Academy, Leeds (11 October); UEA, Norwich (12 October);O2 Academy, Brixton (14 October); O2 Academy, Liverpool (15 October); Anson Rooms, Bristol (17 October); O2 Academy, Newcastle (18 October); Corn Exchange, Edinburgh (19 October); Rock City, Nottingham (21 October); Institute, Birmingham (22 October)
In addition, Ride’s landmark 1990 debut album Nowhere is being re-issued as the expanded Nowhere25 package onNovember 6th. It includes a DVD of their March 1991 Town & Country Club show.
1. The Beatles - Revolver (1966)
“I’m starting with The Beatles because they were the band that got me into music in the first place, and I’ve chosen Revolver because it’s the point where it all gets a bit more sort of heavy and druggy, with Tomorrow Never Knows being the perfect example.
“That’s a song that Ride played right from the first rehearsals and we still play it occasionally now. Revolver’s got a lot of guitar sounds that I still reference when I make records. It’s very bass-light and it’s very high-end-light, as well. It’s all middle with varying degrees of mids and high-mids.
“That’s something that I know Noel Gallagher has always been into. He realised that if you take out the really low-end, you get more volume overall, so you can concentrate this loudness in the middle where all the guitars are operating. It’s like using guitar-playing as a production tool…”
2. The Smiths - Hatful Of Hollow (1984)
“This is the record that made me a guitar player. I got given a guitar aged nine and had been taught a couple of things on it, but it’d basically stayed propped against the corner of the room and not used that much… until I first heard The Smiths when I was 13. It was just like, ‘This is what I want to do – I’m doing this! I’m going to be a guitarist in a band!’
“Johnny Marr was like a surrogate guitar teacher right through my early teens - 13, 14, 15 years old - to when I met Mark Gardener at school. We became mates because he heard I could play the riff off Bigmouth Strikes Again and asked me to show him.
"That’s how we became friends, so Ride’s got a lot to thank The Smiths for. I still find some of Johnny Marr’s playing totally baffling, like those swoopy lead parts on How Soon Is Now?.”
3. The Who - Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (1971)
“This is like a greatest hits-type thing, and I picked it up at a record fair when I was about 14. Me and my dad would go to record fairs in Oxford Town Hall, and I’d save up and buy a couple of records each time.
“In those days, there was no way of hearing a record without buying it, so a lot of the time you’d buy something based on the sleeve or just based on a recommendation, and I think I bought this because of the sleeve.
“I’d heard that The Who were a good band but – when I listened to this - I discovered a whole new level of guitar sonics. Everything about the violence of Pete Townshend’s guitar playing really affected me. He changed the rules of what a solo could be… just some noise could be a solo and, obviously, that became a big part of Ride, because we were all about the noise being an instrument.”
4. Simon & Garfunkel - Sounds Of Silence (1966)
“It was the mid-'80s, I was in my early teens and Simon & Garfunkel came into play. A lot of the acoustic side to my playing comes from Paul Simon. He’s one of the greatest guitar players that ever lived and he’s done so many seminal guitar parts that I just fucking worship!
“I first heard them very early in life because my parents had three Beatles records and Bridge over Troubled Water, but that’s not so much a guitar album. The album that changed my life as a guitar player was Sounds Of Silence, and it sort of opened the door into folk and folk-rock and then Bob Dylan.
“Anji, the Davy Graham cover, is one of the first tunes I learned to play on acoustic, and it’s an amazing tune. I challenged myself to learn it and got my head round it. That whole album is full of really, really cool guitar playing.”
5. Joni Mitchell - Court And Spark (1974)
“My first girlfriend used to listen to Joni Mitchell, and the album that she got me into was Court And Spark. I was 15 or 16 when I first heard it, and the acoustic playing is more like a jazzy sort of thing. I found that really cool.
“I love her style as a guitarist, and I love the songs on that album, too. They’re quite funny, and they put you in a certain mood, like Free Man In Paris and People’s Parties. I like it a lot more than Blue and a lot more than Hejira, and the other ones that people go on about. It’s just really good.
“Nick Drake’s Pink Moon  also deserves a mention as a very important acoustic album for me. Can we have it as a bonus record?”
6. The Jesus And Mary Chain - Psychocandy (1985)
“In 1985, I was 15 and Psychocandy came out. With all the records I’ve mentioned so far, there’s not much there that you would call extreme, except for Tomorrow Never Knows, maybe… but into that regular world came this absolutely mental record!
“The first time I heard it was when Muriel Gray played a track on Radio 1, and I remember her introducing it and saying, ‘This is going to divide the listeners!’ It’s hard to overstate the effect that record had. It really did shatter everything!
“Sound-wise, it was so relentlessly extreme - for 40 minutes - and it was just a brilliant piece of production as well. As soon as I heard them, it was one of those eureka moments.”
7. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (1988)
“That came out in 1988 when Ride was starting to happen. Mark and I had gone to art school, we’d met Steve, met Loz and - as a band - we got into a lot of American stuff like Dinosaur Jr., Screaming Trees and Sonic Youth.
“Sonic Youth were on a real run of great albums there with EVOL and Sister but Daydream Nation was their peak and their sort of White Album for me. It changed my life and my playing with the open tunings, theguitar abuse with screwdrivers and slides, the long jams, the headspace and just the whole sprawl of it. It was like the Pete Townshend thing but taken a few steps further.”
8. My Bloody Valentine - You Made Me Realise/Feed Me with Your Kiss (1988)
“As a band, we had Ecstasy And Wine and we liked that and we had Isn’t Anything? and we liked that, but then the Valentines came out with these two EPs.
“We had [You Made Me Realise] hook, line and sinker and we stole everything we could off it. The title song has the noise section and we just took that and stuck it in Drive Blind, although we owned up to it and it became something slightly different when we did it.
“The second track on that EP was called Slow and us trying to rip that off kind of became the song Close My Eyes - same speed and the same key and the same kind of beat. The Valentines changed my life because they were the primary influence on Ride.”
9. The Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll (1988)
“Since I’ve gone back to learn these early Ride songs for the reunion tour, I’ve noticed how much Robin Guthrie’s playing influenced me, and it harks back to Johnny Marr and George Harrison with little patterns and little sort of partial chords with open strings.
“Johnny Marr had a little bit of chorus and a bit of echo and a bit of reverb but Robin Guthrie had an absolute grand canyon of reverb! And, talking to him, he is an absolute connoisseur of reverbs and stuff like that.
“The Cocteau Twins were very otherworldly and were very influential on the Ride sound. [Record label] 4AD as a whole was a massive influence on us.”
10. Oasis - Definitely Maybe (1994)
“Oasis definitely did change my life when I first heard them! [Bell later played bass and rhythm guitar in Oasis, 1999-2009.] They were like a breath of fresh air.
To put it into context, Ride were working on the third album, Carnival Of Light, and we were taking a bit of a break. We were starting to get a bit frayed at the edges and we were starting to pull in different directions musically, too.
“We were really shooting for a kind of West Coast Byrdsy California sound mixed with a little bit of Led Zeppelin and a little bit of classic rock. I think we were also subconsciously trying to make a cleaner record, because we’d stopped getting played on the radio… but then along comes Oasis sounding like the Jesus And Mary Chain meets the Sex Pistols and just completely blew everything out of the water!
“As we’re talking about guitars, I should just say that I think Noel’s really underrated as a lead guitar player. His playing is like a John Squire-y thing, but there’s a lot more muscle behind it. He kind of trademarked his own style, which has become something that everyone uses now – that massively overdriven sound with quite a lot of delay on it. [His playing] just sounded epic.”