While still a member of Bauhaus, Ash formed Tones on Tail early in 1982, originally as a duo with art school friend, flatmate and Bauhaus roadie Glenn Campling. The band’s name was a reference to the way calibration tones were recorded on the “tail” of reel-to-reel tape.
The pair issued their debut eponymous EP on 4AD in March 1982, followed by the single “There’s Only One!”, released by Beggars Banquet Records on 24 September.
After the break-up of Bauhaus in 1983, they were joined by drummer Kevin Haskins, and became a full-time concern for all three members. Their first release as a trio was the Burning Skies EP, issued by Situation Two on 6 May 1983.
Their sole studio album, Pop, was released by Beggars Banquet on 6 April 1984 in the UK; featuring the singles “Performance” (released 9 March) and “Lions” (released 11 May). The album was also issued in North America in altered form as The Album Pop. “Go!”, the popular B-side of “Lions”, was issued on its own as a single in Canada, licensed by Vertigo Records.
During October 1984, the group embarked on a short 12-date tour of the US; in concert, the band sported all white outfits.
The final Tones on Tail single, “Christian Says”, was issued on 9 November 1984.
The band disbanded in late 1984, and Ash and Haskins quickly formed Love and Rockets with former Bauhaus bassist David J.
The 1998 compilation Everything! compiled every Tones on Tail track in remastered form, plus a radio interview with Ash and Haskin