by Anton Corbijn [from the band’s MySpace]
interview by Jim Beckmann
This weekend, starting today in fact, is one of this year’s biggest musical events at Coachella. Among the headlining acts of this three day festival in Indio, CA, which include Prince, Kraftwerk, and Death Cab for Cutie, is Love and Rockets. In 1985, the trio of Daniel Ash (guitars, saxophone, and vocals), David J (bass and vocals) and Kevin Haskins (drums and synthesizers) formed Love and Rockets out of the ashes of the seminal goth band Bauhaus, which crumbled in 1983, and have released seven albums and a ridiculous amount of singles before the group also dissipated. Recently, though, Bauhaus reconvened, recorded, and released a new album, Go Away White. And of course, at Coachella this Sunday, a reunited Love and Rockets will headline the Outdoor Stage.
Before heading off the festival, Kevin Haskins stopped to talk about the new (and purportedly final) Bauhaus album and the future for Love and Rockets.
Jim: The obvious question, of course, is that 25 years later, what propelled you to go back into the studio and record a new album as Bauhaus?
Kevin: I think because we played the Coachella Festival (2005), and by all accounts it went extremely well and was a big success. That gave us the motivation to carry on touring. When we rehearsing for Coachella, we thought that it would be great to try something really new, so we were playing around with a couple of ideas, which actually didn’t come to fruition. But that was the spark. We thought then, well let’s try to record a new album.
It’s being said that Go Away White will be the final Bauhaus album. Was that what you were intending when you went into the studio?
No. There weren’t any preconceptions at all. We just wanted to go in and see what happens. I was kind of wary, personally, because history has … (Kevin’s phone cuts out)
[you can pretty much figure how that sentence ended]
[Kevin calls back on a new phone]
I think that when we got cut off, we were talking about the album and whether its being your last was intentional.
So no, there were no preconceived ideas at all. We made sure we kept a high quality control. We went in with the opinion that if it wasn’t sounding really good, we were going to scrap the whole thing. But we felt it was going well and we obviously continued on.
Then the packaging of the album, its title and the way it’s presented, came after the fact?
And it’s true that you’re not going to be touring off of this album?
But you will be performing at Coachella with Love and Rockets. Any chance of a new Love and Rockets album?
It’s possible. The subject has come up and we’re talking about it.
With the All Tomorrow’s Parties Don’t Look Back series and the recent reunion shows, it seems like there’s a lot of demand for bands to reform.
Yeah, I wonder whether it used to happen as much back in the 70’s and 60’s. I’m sure it went on to some degree but now it seems to be very in vogue.
Many of the songs on the new album, or at least elements of those songs like the guitar line on “Undone,” will be familiar to long-time fans, but the album seems very different as well. How was different for you, now that you’ve all had numerous projects over the years, coming back together again?
We’ve never been accomplished musicians, technically. We sort of got a bit better in that respect. (laughs) No, I don’t think there was a huge change there. One thing, after Bauhaus, the three of us (Kevin, David J, Daniel Ash) went on and did Love and Rockets for actually like a decade and a half. I feel we have this intuition now that was born from that period of time of working together — almost a psychic connection in a way. That definitely helped with the album and when we played live with Bauhaus.
This was an album that you put together very quickly, in less than three weeks, but you had several songs previously.
There was just one song, “The Dog’s a Vapour”, which we recorded in 2000. We thought would fit in well with the album, but we re-recorded the vocals and remixed it, but that was the only one.
You yourself have done some other projects. I know that you have worked with new media. [Kevin is a co-founder of Messy Media] Is that something you’re still doing now?
Yes, but I had to put it aside when we were touring and recording with Bauhaus, but now I’m actively getting back into it and have a new agent. It’s something that I really enjoy doing. It’s a new challenge and a new way of working with music.
I read that you were recently up front and center for a show in Los Angeles with The Horrors. Obviously, they have taken Bauhaus as an influence. Do you notice a lot of the other bands who take no the Bauhaus mantle?
Definitely so. When we originally reformed in the late ’90’s as Bauhaus and then this time around, it came to our attention. I heard first hand Thom Yorke mention us, Billy Corgan, Interpol, and so on. I think with Bauhaus we seem to have been very influential, and you can hear it quite obviously in certain bands, but we weren’t the only ones in that period who were influential in that way: Joy Division, certainly, a lot of other bands.
Would you ever consider producing or mentoring some of these newer bands? Is that something you’ve ever thought about?
It has crossed my mind. It can be very enjoyable and creative, but also you can be opening a can of worms. (laughs) So I haven’t dived in, but I still might consider it.
poster by Shepard Fairey
One final question for you: given the fact that Bauhaus has reunited a couple of times already at least two times — and supposedly Love and Rockets formed from an earlier potential reunion — is this truly the end for Bauhaus?
Kevin: Right now I think it is, but if you were to ask me in 1985 and if you were to ask me in 2002 if Bauhaus would ever get back together, I’d say definitely not. But I’ve learned to never say “never.”