The Verve Call It Quits — Again - Rolling Stone
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The Verve Call It Quits — Again

Sing a hymn and say goodbye to the late, great Verve

To almost no one’s surprise, the Verve, considered by some to be
guitar rock’s last great hope, has thrown in the towel for the
second time in four years. Despite the fact that 1997’s Urban
Hymns
allowed the British band to break into the notoriously
difficult American market, earning them a platinum record and a
Grammy nomination for their efforts, the band’s problems with one
another were insurmountable.

The group’s management alerted media of the split Tuesday (April
28) with a low-key press release that stated that the members of
the Verve have amicably agreed to the breakup, and will turn their
attention to individual projects. Ironically, the breakup may be
the only amicable thing the band has ever done. Almost from the
onset of their decade-long career, which began with a live show at
their alma mater Winstanley College in Wigan in the fall of 1989,
there has been creative tension between the band members. When the
tension turned destructive, the band imploded, as it did during an
American tour to support 1995’s Northern Soul. “There was
always a power struggle between Richard [Ashcroft, singer] and
[guitarist] Nick McCabe. They could never agree on anything. It’s
what destroyed the band the first time, and what finally did them
in,” said a source close to the band.

After their initial split, the band buried their differences and
reformed a year later to record the sprawling Urban Hymns,
which they took all the way to the top of the U.K. charts.

For all intents and purposes, the band has been broken up since
their final gig at Ireland’s Slane Castle last August, when their
manager Jaz Summers told the BBC that that show would be their last
and he didn’t know if the band would record together after that.
But the final trouble had begun a month before that, when McCabe
announced that he was not going to play live shows with the band
for the rest of the year. This alone would have been a blow to the
unity of the band, but it came right on the heels of a canceled
German tour in June, after bassist Simon Jones was felled by a
viral infection.

Rumors about their breakup have been rampant ever since Ashcroft
began recording his solo album last November with drummer Pete
Salisbury. But, according to insiders, that is not what broke them
up. The band blamed “impossible circumstances” for their decision.
For his part, Ashcroft revealed that the breakup has caused him
much consternation. “The decision to split the band did not come
without a great deal of stress to me personally,” Ashcroft
explained. “I have always given everything to the band and would
have continued to do so if circumstances had not made it
impossible.”

“I would like to thank the fans for their loyal support and their
phenomenal response to Urban Hymns. I feel more positive
now a decision has been made — being in limbo isn’t good for the
soul,” wrote Ashcroft in the release. “I can now move forward and
put my energies into new songs for a new album.”

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