For about 43 years, Daniel Ash has played primarily with the same group of men — vocalist Peter Murphy, drummer Kevin Haskins and bassist David J — in the influential goth band Bauhaus.
Ash also played in Tones on Tail with Haskins, and in Love and Rockets with David J. and Haskins.
Later this year, he will show off his new project, Ashes and Diamonds, with a different cast of characters. In Ashes and Diamonds, Ash will be joined by Public Image Ltd.’s Bruce Smith, and Paul Spencer Denman of Sade’s band.
“I’ve never worked with these two guys before,” Ash says. “It’s a real breath of fresh air. It’s still me working on songs as such. The approach is different, as we’re not in the same (place). Bruce is on the East Coast. Paul is in LA. I’m here (Ventura County, California).
“The music has this New York vibe to it, which is really working out well.”
The lineup came about organically. Denman desired to perform with Ash for years, as their birthdays are within a day of each other.
“We have a lot in common,” he says. “I believe in that zodiac stuff. We’re two Leos and a Sagittarius. There’s a lot of fire going on.
“He contacted me, and it felt this was the time to do it. Everybody has a lot of time on their hands. We started just to see how it would work. We have a great chemistry there. We get things done relatively quickly. We’re spontaneous, rather than laboring for things for months on end.”
The trio has recorded about 15 songs and, as of mid-February, was in the final stages of mixing and finishing the record, which is as of yet unnamed. Though they started work in the studio 18 months ago, the band traded files with each other to finish it when the COVID-19 pandemic began to plague the world.
“We’ve been working via the internet,” he says. “We’re sending files to each other, tweaking songs. When we get the mixes back, we tweak them again.
“All of the stuff was written without the three of us being together. It’s bass, drums and guitars. There aren’t a ton of overdubs on it. It’s quite simplistic in that way.”
Of the 15 songs, Ash predicts the band will choose the best 10 and release those tracks.
“How we’re going to put it out has yet to be determined — maybe a track a week or two weeks or put the whole thing out. I don’t know,” Ash says. “We’ll probably do vinyl as well. That seems to be really picking up these days.”
Ash has lived in Ventura County since 2000, living about 10 miles “up the road from the ocean.” He’s spent the pandemic imbibing in his motorcycles, riding up to the mountains to get away from the pandemic storm.
“The bikes sort me out,” Ash says. “It’s my yoga, if you like. I’ve been riding since I was 12. That has kept me going this whole time. It’s the one thing you can do and stay solitary. When this really hit, about last April or May, everybody was staying in. I was going on the bike, filling up at gas stations in the middle of nowhere.
Still, he came down with COVID-19. He says he believes he picked it up at a motorcycle shop in Oxnard, California, and realized he had it May 15.
“I was down for the count for 15 days,” Ash says. “I think, subconsciously, I wanted to get it out of the way. Now I have the antibodies for it.”
Ash says he’s looking forward to hearing the reaction to Ashes and Diamonds’ music. They hope to play live once the pandemic restrictions are lifted and to have the tracks placed in film and television.
“A few tracks are custom made for that,” he says. “It happens by accident that way. They stand up on their own as instrumentals.”
Ashes and Diamonds