About The Band

History of the band and it's members.

Band Members

Click on a band member below to find out more about them.

Tim Wheeler Mark Hamilton Rick McMurray

Directed by John Thompson

mark hamilton

Mark Hamilton

Bass Guitar

FULL NAME: Mark Hamilton
NICKNAME: dmh, Wrecking Ball
BORN: March 21, 1977

BIRTH PLACE: Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
HEIGHT: 6ft 1


Mark Alexander Hamilton (bass guitar) and Timothy James Arthur Wheeler (vocals, and guitar) were both born in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, in 1977. Starting high school the pair met for the first time at the age of 12. Rubbish at football, the band turn to music and set out on an excellent adventure, but gain a reputation locally as the worst band in County Down as guitarist and bassist in 'Twisted Sister' and 'Iron Maiden' wannabes 'Vietnam'.

"We're to young and stupid to think of doing anything else"
Tim Wheeler - 2004

After a couple of gigs many members dropped out and with grunge hitting its peak 'Vietnam' split, leaving Tim and Mark without a drummer. They eventually find one in cowboy booted church sticksmith Richard Wilson McMurray, who at aged 16 was two years older. He had been seen to wander the school corridors alone with a demented bug eyed stare. Picking the first short word they like in the dictionary, Ash is born.

Inspired by the sounds of 'Nirvana', 'Mudhoney', 'The Pixies' and local punk rock gurus 'Lazergun Nun' who play most weekends at dives in Belfast and Downpatrick, the band set about writing their own material. Over this first ultra prolific summer together they record approximately 50 demo songs at local 7-track studio Cosmic Rays, 1 track was broken. The demo tapes, 'Solar Happy' and 'Shed' are self-funded.


Ash's third demo tape, the 13 track 'Garage Girl' tops local charts, featuring tracks like 'Intense Thing', 'Petrol', 'Obscure Thing' and the standout track 'Jack Names The Planets'. Mark uses their schools Young Enterprise scheme to fund and press their first record, self-releasing the track 'Season' with other local acts on the Raptor Records 12. Despite these achievements the band start to get disillusioned playing to the same 20 kids at every gig. With GCSE exams looming they wonder how to get a record deal in a country with a non-existent music industry and few avenues to get noticed.

We were only 19! We thought it would last forever. We didn't realize that the music industry is really fickle and fame can be fleeting.
Tim Wheeler - 2001

Things are looking bleak, but Tim finds time on holiday to write evergreen classic, Girl From Mars. On the verge of breaking up, enter local Svengali Bill McCabe who sends their tapes off to his London contacts. Working at Nirvana's press agency, publicist Paddy Davis and radio plugger Stephen Taverner (Tav) fall for the tape. Taverner takes a leap off faith sending the band 300 to go into the studio.

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