Originally formed in Nashville in 2002 and now living in Chicago, Welcome To Ashley dropped their last album “Beyond the Pale” on Jamendo. After an eponymous debut LP (2006), a pair of outstanding EPs and the new full-length, Beyond the Pale, Welcome to Ashley has garnered the support of Chicago radio (WXRT, Q101) and charmed the independent press which acclaims the band. They put fire on every stage they do, led by the vocals of Coley Kennedy who is compared to David Bowie, Morrissey and many other legends. They play some tough rock'n'roll with no artifices, big guitar and melodies. We have to know more about this amazing band, Coley Kennedy answered to our questions.
- How was the band formed? Can you make a short description of each member of the band?
Welcome to Ashley is Coley Kennedy (vocals), Pete Javier (guitar), Jeremy Barrett (bass) and Sherrlia Bailey (drums). Pete, Jeremy, and I grew up together. We started a band in '96 called the Bennies - along with John McDonough and Brendan Kelly. When the Bennies stopped making music together, Jeremy and I moved to Nashville. It was in Nashville that we hooked up with Sherrlia. We wrote some songs, and played a bit in Nashville. The three of us then migrated to Chicago, where we were reunited with Pete.
- From where comes the name “Welcome to Ashley”?
Jeremy an I were driving through Indiana, looking for a place to stop and get a beer when we saw the sign “Welcome to Ashley” ( Ashley being a small town in Indiana) and were instantly struck with the notion that this would make a good band name.
- Why did you leave Nashville for Chicago? Was it a professional decision?
Jeremy and I moved to Nashville for the hell of it. We just worked and fooled around a lot. It wasn't until we moved to Chicago with Sherrlia, and were reunited with Pete, that we started to really get our shit together musically.
- You have good reviews on your last album and great comparisons (The Smiths, Morrissey). However you stay quite unknown. Is it a choice? Have you been contacted by some labels?
A choice to be unknown? Hell no. I want the whole world to hear our songs. Labels? Don't even get me going on the music business today.
- How would you describe your music? Can you talk about your influences?
We've never been good at describing our music. We don't need to. You can listen for yourself. Influences? The Smiths, The Stones, The Clash, The Replacements, The Pogues, Psychedelic Furs, Rod Stewart and The Faces, Jesus and Mary Chain, Big Star, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, The Charlatans UK, Leonard Cohen.
- Who makes the choices about the song? Who makes the composition and the lyrics?
The songs are written by Pete and me. I write all the melodies and lyrics. The whole band collectively arranges the songs, and makes changes as needed. Sherrlia is a great drummer and Jeremy always comes up with great bass lines. We've been writing this way for many years. It seems very natural now.
- What are the themes of the album “Beyond the Pale”?
City life, Death, Gangs, Love, Hate, Race, Weather, Days of the week, Drinking, Dreams
- Where did you record this album? How many days did it take?
We recorded at the Gallery of Carpet, in Villa Park, IL. It took six days; three days to track and three days to mix.
- You are very active during your shows. What does it represent for you? Do you have a big fan base?
We love playing live. We do have a big fan base. Being "active" during our sets isn't something that we think about. It's a natural reaction. We feed off of the crowd.
- Have you planned to come and play in Europe or other countries?
We have not played in Europe yet. We're very excited to tour there someday soon.
- If you could play a show or song with one artist or band, who would you choose?
Tough call. I have respect for a lot of different bands and artists. Off the top of my head, I'd have to say Morrissey or Shane MacGowan... or Paul Westerberg.
- What's your next project?
No specific projects in the near future. We continue to write good songs, and when we have enough new material, we'll make another record.
- A word to finish?