Good afternoon. A few years ago, Chris and Jonny were persuaded to star in Slashed, a horror movie made on the road by Northern Irish band Ash. The film never saw the light of day and has since become the stuff of legend. But now, Ash have decided to use some of the footage for the video of their new single, Binary, which is out this week. We called up Ash’s frontman Tim Wheeler to find out more about Slashed and Coldplay’s role in it.
Hi Tim. How did Chris and Jonny come to be in Slashed?
We were on tour with Coldplay, doing a lot of support slots in America in 2002. When you’re a support band, you’ve got a lot of free time, so we decided to make a slasher movie on the road. And then we kept meeting so many interesting people and getting them involved. It was kind of amazing how much fun we had and how many people wanted to join in on the action. Dave Grohl is in it too.
Did you think Chris and Jonny were good actors?
I thought they were incredible! They really showed us up. They brought an air of professionalism to the whole thing and they were really game for the laugh of it. Later on in the film, they get totally doused in blood and they were absolutely fine with it. They were both really funny as well. It’s good to see their comedy side.
Why has it taken so long for Slashed to appear?
Well, we never quite finished it. I guess in the end, I was meant to get killed and our manager was meant to get killed, but I think we just ran out of time and energy. And because we never completed it, it didn’t make sense to put it together. But since then, YouTube has come into existence and it’s perfect for something like this, so we figured we’d stick it on one of the videos for one these 26 singles which Ash are putting out this year. It was kind of like, if we don’t do it now, we’ll probably never do it.
Are you still friends with Chris?
Yeah, we’ve been pretty close friends for a while now.
And you’re a fan of Coldplay?
Oh absolutely. I’ve always loved what they do.
Did you see Coldplay on the Viva tour?
Yeah, I saw them in Belfast. I always seem to get a nice shout-out when I go and see them! Chris has been known to play Shining Light sometimes too - I remember he did that when I went to see them in Kentish Town once. That was a real buzz.
He does seem to be a genuine Ash fan.
I think so, yeah. He talks about hearing Angel Interceptor when he was 18 years old. He realised that we were the same age as him and he says he was intensely jealous and didn’t actually want to like it, but then couldn’t help himself! I think he said he saw us play at the London Astoria in ‘97. And I remember Will said that when they were at university he sat around trying to figure out how to play Goldfinger, which has got some quite tricky chords in it. Then, when we met them a few years later, we just really connected.
Doesn’t legend have it that you met them on the street?
I think they walked by me when they were recording up in Highbury, but they said they didn’t have the guts to talk to me then! Haha! I think we met properly at a festival in Norway in 2001, when I got talking to Chris. Then later that night me and him and a bunch of people went swimming in a fjord at 4am and I got totally stung on my feet by a jellyfish! After that night, we became really good mates.
And you’ve even collaborated with Coldplay.
Yeah, I played guitar on 1.36, which was one of the B-sides of The Scientist, and then Chris sings on Everybody’s Happy Nowadays, a Buzzcocks cover we did for the Shaun of the Dead movie. He’s also on one of our B-sides, called We Don’t Care. And we’ve toured a lot together. So, yeah, there’s a lot of mutual love there, I think.
Chris and Jonny do work well as a screen double act.
Absolutely. I think their role in Coldplay is very much like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. You can tell those two really love each other. There’s a lot of affection there. They’re sweet guys.
And there’s more to come from them in Slashed?
There is. I don’t want to give the plot away too much, but both of those characters meet a very gruesome end!
Do you think they have careers ahead of them as horror movie actors?
Oh, I think they’re more versatile than that - I wouldn’t restrict them to slasher B-movies. Or, in the case of our one, more of a Z-movie!