After Mark Gardener left Ride during the mixing process of the band's 1995 album Tarantula, the singer/guitarist began working on solo material and released the "Magdalen Sky" single on Oxford, England's Shifty Disco label in 1997.
Soon after he joined forces with Ride drummer Loz Colbert, guitarist Sam Williams, and bassist Hari T and started playing as the Animalhouse. They released an EP in 2000, Small, then the Ready to Receive album before dissolving soon after. After taking a break from music and moving to France, he started working with the other members of Ride to remaster and release the band's albums, which inspired him to start playing again. Years of touring as a solo artist followed, sometimes backed on-stage by the band Goldrush. The two released the EP Falling Out into the Night in 2003, then Gardener put out a solo acoustic album, Live at the Knitting Factory, NYC, later that same year. Goldrush were back to work with Gardener on his debut studio album, 2005's These Beautiful Ghosts, which was released on the United for Opportunity label. Around this time, Gardener provided vocals on albums by the Morning After Girls and Rinôçérôse, then in 2008 hooked up with Brian Jonestown Massacre and helped out on their album My Bloody Underground. Time spent touring, collaborating with other artists (like Dive Index on their 2010 album The Surface We Divide), and operating his OX-4-Sound studio kept him busy, but mostly under the radar, for the next few years. A single recorded with the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie in 2012 ("The Places We Go") was a highlight. Gardener's life took a huge turn in 2014 when it was announced that after years of denying they would ever re-form, Ride were indeed getting back together to play a series of festivals in 2015. In the midst of the excitement about the upcoming reunion, a full album made with Guthrie titled Universal Road was released. ~ Andy Kellman & Tim Sendra, Rovi