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Ash's Tim Wheeler in (Foo) fighting form

Fergal Hallahan

Ash frontman Tim Wheeler says he's looking forward to the band's upcoming Irish gigs
John Kearns

TIM Wheeler from Ash tells me he can't wait to join Foo Fighters at Slane this month.

The Downpatrick band who are back with a brand new album are rightfully taking their place at one of the biggest rock events of the year.

“We are so looking forward to playing that show, we really are,” beams Tim. “Slane is such an important gig on the calendar and we did play it before a few years back. I think we're even more in the mood for it now. The Foos are such an amazing band and they are a super stadium act but the thing is they are also the nicest, kindest guys to be working alongside. We have played with them many many times before so it's always fun to hang out with them."

Although Slane might be one of the year's stand-out shows for any act, the Ash boys are also just as excited about playing a slightly smaller venue just a week later... and it's even closer to home.

“We're really buzzing about playing The Limelight in Belfast again too (June 8). I'm so looking forward to playing our new songs to the home fans as well as knocking out the back catalogue of course.

"We are ready for that show and even though it will a much smaller audience than the gig the week before, it will be just as satisfying for us. There's something about playing to Belfast audiences.Bands who aren't from Northern Ireland say that and so do we very proudly.”

Tim Wheeler seems happier than ever and still manages to look like he is an 18-year-old starting out in the business rather than a seasoned campaigner. The band's latest songs are some of the most interesting and compelling they have ever produced. Some of that new Ash material has been created through inspiration from a very peculiar source indeed. Tim who now lives in New York explains how his new found hobby has influenced his songwriting.

“I do kick-boxing now here in New York and I've got really into it. I've been doing Muay Thai martial arts and there are a few tracks that have been inspired by the fighters that I've been hanging out with. I'm hoping the energy of that comes across in the material.

"Certainly I think where I live now has a major impact on the songs. It's a vibrant, multicultural and exciting city and it's very difficult not to get immersed in it all.”

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