Conversations with The Verve’s Nick McCabe

Conversations with The Verve’s Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe of The Verve by Frank Yang

A question of “how did Nick McCabe get those insane sounds on The Verve’s A Storm In Heaven?” on a guitar discussion board I frequent inevitably turned into “Where’s Nick McCabe?”. The answer to the former is reasonably well-documented: an Alesis Quadraverb+ rackmount effects unit was the main secret sauce the utilized for his immense guitar sounds, and the making of that record was the focus of a recent feature piece in Guitar magazine:

The Genius Of… Verve – A Storm In Heaven @ Guitar

To the latter question, while he did seem to disappear from music following the band’s second dissolution in 1998 the success of Urban Hymns, he has stayed relatively active after their third (and final?) split in 2009, after releasing and touring Forth. His project Black Submarine with Verve bassist Peter Jones hasn’t released anything since their 2014 album New Shores.

In a Facebook post a year ago, they acknowledged they were all working on different things. For his part, McCabe is currently attached to Litter and Leaves with Black Submarine singer Amelia Tucker.

But obviously it’s his work with The Verve that people are still most interested in, and while any interviews he did around the respective releases of the first three records are mostly consigned to the physical copies of the magazines in which they appeared, I did find this one from Total Guitar in 1998 transcribed on a fan site (I have the actual magazine beside me; there’s another interview in Guitar that if I somehow end up with a surplus of free time, I will transcribe myself). But for now, there’s this from before the second band split:

The Genius of Ashcroft & McCabe @ Total Guitar (via The Verve Live)

The remastered reissues of A Storm In Heaven and A Northern Soul in 2016 generated their own press cycle, and he was able to speak about the records and the band’s story with the benefit of hindsight. He got into the drama of their creation with MusicRadar:

Nick McCabe on The Verve’s studio battles, egos and tonal exploration @ MusicRadar

And had an extended interview with defunct magazine Coney’s Loft, now archived (again) at fan site The Verve Live:

Q&A with Nick McCabe @ Coney’s Loft (via The Verve Live)

Those releases were followed the next year with a massive 20th anniversary edition of Urban Hymns, and McCabe again was willing to sit down for some interviews about the record alongside bassist Simon Jones. The following is a compilation of a few (?) audio interviews from that press cycle, no idea with what outlets:

Radio-X’s X-Posure conducted a song-by-song run through Urban Hymns with McCabe and Jones offering commentary; obviously the musical portions have been excised from the upload, but it still runs over an hour.

There’s an extensive interview with McCabe at XSNoize about a lot of the Verve’s issues, but what caught my eye is:

“…and I have done a couple of tunes with Daughter; eventually, that will see the light of day…”

— Nick McCabe

The Verve Guitarist Nick McCabe Revisits “Bittersweet Symphony” @ XS Noize

Those tunes, four years on, have obviously not come to light but oh man, I’d like to hear that. Also the track he mentioned as being one of the best things they did that somehow still didn’t make it onto a five-CD box set? Thankfully it’s online:

The Verve – “All Ways Are Maybes”

In this interview with Gigwise, we find out why the track isn’t on the set:

“It got lost and then Chris Potter went and unearthed it and everybody was really ecstatic about it. Then Richard came in – the very last guy to come and input into the boxset… and he vetoed it instantly. I was fucking furious.”

– Nick McCabe to Gigiwise

So that’s that.

The Verve’s Nick McCabe reflects on Urban Hymns 20 years after its release @ Gigwise

NME talked to McCabe about, well, Oasis, and the state of his relationship with Richard Ashcroft. NME is gonna NME, after all.

The Verve’s Nick McCabe discusses the state of guitar music, ‘Urban Hymns’, Richard Ashcroft and Oasis @ NME

The late Drowned In Sound covered a lot of ground in their interview with McCabe, from the early days through his then-current musical projects:

Urban Hymns at 20: DiS meets Nick McCabe @ Drowned In Sound

And more recently, in Spring 2019, a music student got to get part-time lecturer McCabe to sit down for an interview on his work and experimental music in general. It’s just too bad he couldn’t have gotten a recording student to handle the audio on the video.

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