Ash will be notching up their 10th date at Reading Festival this year and drummer Rick McMurray says they are looking forward to seeing their statue.

"The organisers promised on our tenth anniversary they would give us a statue, so this is a gentle reminder,'' said Rick, who vividly recalls his first visit to the famous festival, not to play but as a guest in 1994.

"We were just starting out, doing a small tour of the UK and our manager Stephen Taverner got us into Reading. We saw Neil Young and the Sound Garden and it was so cool, hanging around back stage.''

The following year Ash had skyrocketed into the public conscience with Girl From Mars and won their own slot at Reading, the tea time slot, where thousands came to see them. Rick says that it was pure chaos. He added that another memorable gig was playing the main stage the same year as the infamous Stone Roses appearance.

"They said we stole their fireworks,'' laughed Rick. "They were ours, we paid for them."

Rick is the straight man when it comes to warm-ups before going on stage. He takes his drum sticks and does a straight forward routine, while bass player Mark Hamilton puts ice cubes down his back, and lead singer Tim Wheeler performs kick-boxing moves.

"He drags me into practice with him sometimes,'' said Rick, who so far has managed to avoid injury.

Rick currently lives in Scotland and the other two in America. The band's recording studio is based in New York. "It's a bit tough for me commuting,'' said Rick, who is currently packing for his trip to the US to work on a new album.

For the past 25 years Ash have been pumping out solid rock tunes from the first single, Jack Names The Planets, which was brought out on Stephen Taverner's own label La La land. The song picked up BBC Radio 1 backing from John Peel, Steve Lamacq and Mark Radcliffe and that set the musicians off on hits highway. The trio met at school in County Down, Northern Ireland, and through friendship and music forged the Ash sound.

Rick said: "Tim and Mark met when they were about 12-years-old, it was the Iron Maiden back patch and guitar for Christmas that made them decide to play together. I was in the same school and we got together when I was 15.''

Rick has been playing drums since he was 13-years-old, he bought himself some drum sticks and would sit in his room listening to records and hitting his pillows along to the beat, until his parents finally gave in and bought him a drum kit.

Along with writing hit singles the band also flirted with film music and the track Kung Fu was used in a Jackie Chan movie, and A Life Less Ordinary, was written for a film of the same name.

Rick said: "We saw the scene first and played against it, syncing it up. It was good fun, and since then Tim has written for other films, he wrote Feels Like Summer for Shaun the Sheep movie.''

Ash have a bit of fun with their riders asking for a cylinder of oxygen as it gets pretty breathless on stage.

"It's exciting when we get one.'' said Rick.

Burn Baby Burn, Shining Light, Renegade Cavalcade and of course Girl From Mars will be on the agenda for Ash at Reading as Rick says they never shy away from the songs that have put them where they are.

"But you will have to wait for next year to hear songs from our new album,'' he said. "We have had a pretty quiet six months so are itching to get back to playing at the summer festivals.''

For more details or book tickets to see Ash at Reading Festival visit - Flicky Harrison