Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bauhaus - Interview with Kevin Haskins in 2005

More old writing from the Jade Anna Hughes archives...

I thought I had lost this one! Back in November 2005 I was lucky to get a phone interview with Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus, Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets drummer). Not only was he just a lovely guy, answered all of my questions and spent way more than the allotted 15 minutes on the phone with me; he also put me on the Bauhaus guestlist for the first night in NYC. I got to meet Kevin, Daniel Ash and David J in person, AND hang out with them at the after-party. Honestly one of the most memorable nights of my life to this day.
This interview/review was published in a zine in 2005 (I don't remember the name and feel terrible about this). Bauhaus DID release another album in 2008, Go Away White, but never toured again.
I actually own a CD of the show's recording - I don't know what happened to those guys, but they would record shows around the world and you could buy them online. All legit, and a pretty cool memory.

“Resurrection Round Two”

Twenty two years after releasing their last album and eight years after their last reunion tour (Resurrection Tour in 1998) Bauhaus are back again with what is called the “Near The Atmosphere” Tour. First leg being North America; second leg Europe in the New Year.

There is something pretty amazing about a band who can still play sell out show after sell out show in every city they set their instruments down in considering their last studio album (Burning From the Inside) was released in 1983!

It’s not as if the band members (Peter Murphy vocals, Daniel Ash guitar, David J bass and Kevin Haskins drums) have only Bauhaus on their resumes. When Bauhaus disbanded in the 80’s all of the members' music careers continued without any real break (solo careers, Tones on Tails, Love and Rockets…); they reunited as Bauhaus for the Resurrection Tour and then again this year after their Coachella show in April. No new music, but still a vast (and to this day ever-growing) fan base and, as always, a great stage act to witness. This time round the theatricals are more toned down compared to other tours (no Murphy suspended upside down), but all the more moving and as fabulous as ever.

Courageous? Yes, very. Apart from the lack of new songs the publicity for the tour was quite minimal (none of your endless ads on MTV and VH1), some interviews and promotion, nothing grandiose. But word of mouth spreads fast on the Internet and the mere mention of the words “Bauhaus” and “tour” automatically bring out the hordes. They were considered cult in the 80’s and even more so today. Bauhaus are still seen today as the leaders of the Goth movement, although they will probably deny the leadership and will just agree that they were and are a big part of it. It’s interesting to see how this movement has remained and how Bauhaus seem to have contained this longevity too. But they can’t be confined to one movement alone and their cult status has just grown and grown. You only have to look at the fan base to see that Bauhaus is not just all about Goths, capes and vampires.

During a phone interview with Kevin Haskins I asked what prompted the band to reform for this tour. The idea had apparently been in the works for a while, but finding the right timing when everyone could get together was problematic. What with solo careers and side projects it wasn’t easy to find a time when everyone could get together and when everybody felt ready for it. After reuniting at Coachella this year it became pretty obvious for all that the time had come and that a tour was impending. Maybe a kind of "now or never" atmosphere hovering above.

And the reaction has been fantastic yet again. Kevin relayed how the audiences have been just amazing every night. The Bauhaus fan base is not just limited to nostalgic 40-50 year olds and the hardcore Goth crowd – they have a huge widespread following. The little 11 year old who listens to Bauhaus every night before he goes to sleep (as a side note I want to thank Kevin for telling me the heart-warming story about this kid – it just shows how down-to-earth the guys really are); the girl who has grown up with the band even though she was only 5 when they broke up; the 47 year old mother who saw them for the first time in her teens back in the early 80’s and who is coming back for more… Kevin says how blessed and honoured he feels to have such a supportive fan base after all these years.

So what about a new album then? New material was expected and certainly hoped for after the Resurrection tour, but to no avail, just the release of a live album entitled “Gotham”. What can we expect this time? Kevin was honest in his reply – if they do go back into the studio as Bauhaus then they will have to produce something amazing. Anything less than that, anything that they are not 100% happy with, will never see the light of day. To put that in other words – if one of them isn’t sure about what is produced it will end up in the garbage. Intelligent reply – and who can blame them? If you are going to release new material after 22 years it has to be because you are inspired to do so, not because it’s something that you think should be done. A new album would be fantastic – but the current Bauhaus material is still as excellent as it was when first released and as contemporary and inspiring as it was back then. They could tour every eight years until they are too old to without releasing new songs and they would still play to sold-out venues and a spellbound crowd.

How have the dynamics changed in the band over the years? Kevin laughingly says that they all play a lot better and more intuitively now. Maturity has helped them put things into perspective a lot more and they also get along a lot better than they did in the past- does this mean no more disbanding and reuniting, or just that they’ve learnt to cope with each other better now? One must remember that three of the four band members (David, Daniel and Kevin) continued playing together as Love and Rockets and the musical closeness that they possess can certainly be felt on stage. Peter Murphy may be the enigmatic front man, but every member of the band is a star in his own right – they are together as a band and individual as musicians at the same time, which is one of the main reasons why a Bauhaus show is just so unique an experience.

New York, Friday November 11th: With a set list to make everyone happy and a presence onstage that could capture the most cynical fan, the show was amazing. With no theatricals the band that made previous tours so exciting, just fabulous musicianship and Murphy’s unforgettable voice, Bauhaus rocked through “Burning on the Inside” to the infamous “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” passing by favourites such as “She’s in Parties”, “God in an Alcove”, “Hollow Hills”, “Stigmata Martyr” and “Ziggy Stardust”. While Peter started off a little quiet, he gained momentum after the first two songs. Daniel, David and Kevin shone more than ever. Kevin was right – their intuition while playing is amazing, all four of them just “click” together on stage.

The atmosphere was set from the intro and never let up, and the packed venue really showed its love to these four men who will continue to inspire and rock out for a while yet. Those who went to the second New York date the following night got to hear “Double Dare” instead of “Bela”: Lesson: always go to both dates!

There’s a lot of life left in Bauhaus and I certainly was not disappointed in finally seeing what I had wanted to see for a long time.

Totally and utterly undead and kicking. Roll on the next tour!

Jade Anna Hughes
Published in November 2005

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