Psychedelic rock explosion with socially conscious lyrics and pop hooks


Ashoka (pronounced Uh-show-kah) is the creation of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ashok Warrier. His unique brand of soulful, intelligent psychedelic rock combines influences as varied as The Beatles, Soundgarden, The Police, Nirvana, Radiohead and Led Zeppelin. An adventurous yet highly accessible sound is his trademark.

Born in Chicago, Ashok began his music career as a drummer at the age of 15. After years of slugging it out in bands, Ashok turned his attention to guitar and songwriting. He released his first solo effort "The Human Mixture" in 1998 and relocated to New York to pursue artistic excellence. While in New York, Ashok released "American Mantra" and learned the art of recording/producing. After 7 years in the big apple and a revolving door of half commited musicians, Ashok decided to return home to Chicago after recording "Driving to Nowhere".

"Driving to Nowhere" marks the 3rd disc on which Ashok plays every instrument. The 7 song EP is a strong culmination of all the various influences and methods Ashok has picked up in years of music making.

Upon returning to Chicago, Ashok finally found his musical partners in crime in order to bring the Ashoka sound to the stage. Avi Kopernik, Ben Johnson, and Ngandu Kasuku have rounded out what is sure to become one of the most exciting bands around.


(Welcome to) The Wayside

Written By: Ashok Warrier

He spends his days breaking rock
waiting for the dividends
All his dreams bought and sold
in exchange for a safer path
Gold watch, simple home
and a bullet holed pension plan
Enough to keep him hanging around
‘til they find a cheaper man
But when the sun goes down
he wonders what life was all about
Thirty years go by in the blink of an eye
now he’s down and out

They told him where to sign
“You’ll get your money in time”

Welcome to the wayside
Welcome to the wayside
We’re falling to the wayside
Welcome to the wayside

Shiny and new she’s the latest off of the assembly line
Ready to rule but she’s gotta learn that winning smile
Dirty soul wearing diamond shoes ready to hypnotize
They’re growing up fast, now is the time to capitalize
But when the sun comes up
and everyone sees what she’s all about
She can smile and wave
and count her blessing on the way out

No one hears her cries
For better days gone by

Welcome to the wayside

Anytown USA

Written By: Ashok Warrier

I’ve worked the mill for 10 long years
To buy a bigger house on the highway
So I could watch all the strangers pass
On their way to places I’ll never see
So many years in the same situation, so many rivers run dry
This simple life is a complication
There’s so much more I want to know

Spend my days make believing
And at night I always say

I can try to run away
But everywhere’s the same
As far as the eye can see
We dream the days away, and watch the sun go down
Living in the heart of Anytown U.S.A.

Cemetery tells the same old tales
Of soldiers and fallen heroes
Cargo train going anywhere
Goes screaming through the lonely night
So many miles of this desolation
So many fields of green and gold
One more day of this isolation
Would make a weaker man explode

The open air is deceiving
And silence is your only friend

Put on the fire and light my way back home
A burning desire never free to roam

Cold in the Sun

Written By: Ashok Warrier

One more forest burns
The paper mill it slowly turns
Another day of taking in the fumes
I see the ocean turn
Slick as oil and black as coal
Another day of swimming in the ruins

I watch the light of day fade away

Silhouetted in the early morning haze
Shivering in the poison gamma rays
The rain falls like bullets from a gun
And I don’t know why I’m the only one
Who feels cold in the sun

One more summer day
Brings the cold enduring gray

We’re wallowing in a moonlit matinee
I hear the engines turn
Spitting out their unconcern
We’re swallowing the poison everyday

And summer time don’t mean that much today

Black Garden

Written By: Ashok Warrier

Black Garden

You can try to build your temple in the sky
And hide within the walls inside your mind
Crucify all the angels who dry your eyes
And find a savior in your own denial

But the leaves will fall, the serpents crawl
When nobody else is in sight
And the seeds you sow will all outgrow
Your world without a light

Nothing will grow in
Your black garden
The flowers have all withered away
No one will go in
Your black garden
They will find the light and walk away

Hypnotized, the world is yours only child
And everybody else has done you wrong
Deep inside, you know what really lies behind
The aches and pains that keep you up all night

But the wind will blow the fallen snow
And cover everything in sight
And the roots will show the scars below
The last remaining light

Nothing will grow in
Your black garden
The flowers have all withered away
No one will go in
Your black garden
They will find the light and walk away


2005: Driving to Nowhere Ep

2001: American Mantra Lp

1998: The Human Mixture Ep

Set List

Ashoka currently performs 1 hour of music consisting of mostly originals and 1 or 2 cover songs.