If it feels like about fifteen years since Northern Irish power-pop masters Ash were liberally scattering classics such as 'Girl From Mars', 'Kung Fu', 'Oh Yeah', 'Goldfinger' and 'A Life Less Ordinary' around the top 40, then that's because it has been. Subsequent smash hits such as 'Shining Light', 'Burn Baby Burn' and 'Candy' make for further compelling reasons for the unitiated to check out A-Z Volume 1, the first installment of their alphabetically-ordered singles compilation (all brand new singles, to be released one every two weeks) - and, to mark this distinguished yet convention-befuddling career stage of a band still only in their early thirties, Sport.co.uk was honoured to subject drummer Rick McMurray to that there World Cup grilling thing we've been doing so much of lately...
Which nation are you supporting at the World Cup?
Anyone but France after their deceitful qualification. Looks like they’re getting their bad karma back though!
Who will win the World Cup?
Argentina are looking pretty handy but I’m no fortune teller.
What is your favourite World Cup memory?
Northern Ireland beating Spain in ’82.
Who would be in your dream World Cup XI?
Who is the best player to have graced the beautiful game?
If you could pick an England player of yester year in the current squad who would it be and why?
Lineker; ‘cause he could score.
Which non–English player would you poach if you could?
Giggs; he’s wasted in the Welsh squad.
What's the best football chant you've ever heard?
The incessant sounds of a vuvuzela.
If England could have a World Cup motto what would it be?
Lower your expectations; you’ll enjoy the competition more.
Tim shows off his new ape-ron...
Which artist would you most like to see do a World Cup song? And what do you think the song would be called?
The Prodigy should do something. Maybe called ‘Football Mental’.
Who is the Lionel Messi of music? Which band would win the World Cup of music?
Lionel Messi is. Haven’t you heard him sing?
If you had to be stranded on a desert island with a footballer who would it be and why?
Gazza back in the glory days; there’d be plenty of meat on him if I had to resort to cannibalism.
If you could go on a date with a WAG, who would it be? Where would it be? And why?
Its fine thanks, I’m not available tonight. I’ve got to sit at home and punch myself repeatedly in the face.
Mark does his impression of Tom from Father Ted
Beginning with a clutch of UK warm up dates – see www.ash-official.com for details – Ash kick off their festival season with a headline performance on the John Peel stage at Glastonbury on June 27th and wrap up with Reading / Leeds festivals in August. A-Z Vol 1 is available now - with limited edition CD/DVD formats featuring an A-Z tour diary filmed last autumn.