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Richard Ashcroft says turn off TV talent show competitions and pick up a guitar

Photo Credit: Ben Stas for Vanyaland

Richard Ashcroft wants you to turn off the television when music competition shows like The X Factor come on, and instead spend that hour learning how to play music on your own.

The former Verve frontman and re-energized solo artist, who releases new album Natural Rebel on October 19, went on a rant over the weekend while he appeared as a guest on England’s Sky Sports show Soccer AM.

In the clip below, Ashcroft took aim at The X Factor and judges like Simon Cowell, telling the youth in the audience and watching at home that they’ll get more out of an hour messing around with an instrument — guitar, keyboard, drums, whatever — than sat on the couch watching TV.


He also says the judges on the show “have no right” to decide who has talent and who doesn’t, and criticized the practice of standing out in the rain hoping for a chance to impress a small panel of people.

“This is my advice — when The X Factor comes on tonight, right, if you’re a budding musician, turn it off immediately, and go and find an instrument,” Ashcroft says. “And no matter how rubbish you are, within that hour, you’ll have done more for your future than just sat there watching people who have no right to be judging anyone musically… Every Saturday night they say to the youth of the nation that you need to queue up in the rain in order for them four to tell you whether you’re good enough… turn the telly off, get hold of your guitar, keyboard, drum machine, however you make music, and spend that hour when that show’s on making your own stuff.”

Listen to Ashcroft’s latest single “Surprised By The Joy” via our recent spotlight.

Featured image by Ben Stas for Vanyaland, from Ashcroft’s appearance at Boston’s Blue Hills Bank Pavilion back in May.