Often seen as being one of the first Goth groups, Bauhaus were formed at art college in Northampton by Peter Murphy (vocals), Daniel Ash (guitars, vocals), David J (bass, vocals) and Kevin Haskins (drums) in 1978.

Their 1979 debut single, the nine minute 'Bela Lugosi's Dead', which was recorded just six weeks after they got together and which told of the 'Dracula' actor's death and funeral in 1956, set a prototype for much of what is to follow, combining eerie guitar and drum effects with brooding vocals from Murphy.

Bauhaus would go on to record several other classic singles, including 'Dark Entries' (1980), 'Kick in the Eye' (1981), a cover of David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust' (1982) which earned = them their only Top 20 hit, and 'She's in Parties' (1983).

They also released four studio albums, 'In the Flat Field' (4AD, 1980), 'Mask' (Beggars Banquet, 1981), 'The Sky's Gone Out' (Beggars Banquet, 1982) and 'Burning from the Inside' (Beggars Banquet,1983).

Reviled by critics in the UK and adored by those in the United States, their initial career was, however, short-lived and they broke up abruptly in July 1983, a week before 'Burning from the Inside' was released.

Daniel Ash went on to initially form Tones on Tail with Haskins, and then the pair eventually reunited in 1984 with David J in Love and Rockets, which would release another seven albums before splitting in 1999. Murphy meanwhile worked briefly with Japan bassist Mick Karn in Dali's Car before starting a solo career.

Bauhaus briefly reunited in 1998 for an American and European tour. They reformed again in 2005 to play the massive Coachella Festival in California and another world tour. Their fifth and final studio album 'Go Away White' (Cooking Vinyl) came out in 2008.

Kevin Haskins' new book ‘Bauhaus – Undead: The Visual History and Legacy of Bauhaus’ was published on March 16th via Cleopatra Records, and, a deluxe coffee table art book, combines mainly previously unseen photos and memorabilia with a series of articles from Haskins about Bauhaus in all its different steps.

Pennyblackmusic spoke to Kevin Haskins about Bauhaus and his new book.


PB: Bauhaus was formed in Northampton, which is not known for its musical history and which at that time largely consisted of cover bands. Do you think that was an asset the band, and perhaps, as you had no other local bands to play off, gave you a lot of your pioneering spirit?

KH: Yes, I definitely feel it helped us carve out a unique sound. It was suggested from time to time that we move to London but we were afraid that we would lose our identity. It was also a fairly boring place to live in, so that was an influence too. The bottom line though is that there we were very creative non-musicians that formed a very potent chemistry.

PB: You are often described, along with Siouxsie and the Banshees, as being “the Godfathers of the Goth movement.” Is that term “Goth” something that rests easily with you?

KH: I don't mind it and understand how we were tagged as such. We did wear all black, make up, release a song about vampires and drove around in a hearse! However I feel that there were way more dimensions to Bauhaus. A better tag would be post punk art band.

PB: Bauhaus have in many ways gone on to become better known since their initial split in 1983 and since influenced countless bands. The MC5 were once described as “the guys who chopped down the trees to clear the dirt roads to pave the streets so that the rest of us can drive by in Cadillacs.” Could the same be said about Bauhaus?

KH: Ha! Ha! Ive never heard that before...I like it! Well, our bank balances would attest to that.

PB: You were slated by the British rock press, especially for your first two albums, ‘In the Flat Field’ and ‘Mask’. The UK rock press is famously reactionary, and was equally harsh on the Sex Pistols. Did it come as a surprise to you that you were so derided and that much of your initial critical acclaim came from America?

KH: It did come as a surprise and frustrated us because we felt we were the bees knees! When I look back now, it's water of a duck's back to me. A couple of days ago I was watching a music documentary and there was one of the old hacks from the 'NME' commenting, and he was being really elitist and condescending. I thought to myself,"There it is! He still has the same chip on his shoulder. Ha! We as Bauhaus concluded that they were all failed muso musicians, and were simply jealous and envious.

An extra bonus from when we reformed Bauhaus, selling out three nights at The Paladium in LA in eight minutes and performing to over 100,000 people on the main stage at Coachella, was the thought of how much it would wind up those negative, spiteful hacks! I clearly recall that when we came to America what a marvelous breath of fresh air it was to have journalists really appreciate us and have no hidden agendas. It was really refreshing and appreciated.

PB: Bauhaus are perhaps inevitably often seen as being bleak-natured. Yet in the written extracts that accompany ‘Bauhaus - Undead’ you tell in one anecdote of being good-naturedly heckled by Iggy Pop at a gig in New York and in another of custard pie-ing Nick Cave when he was in the Birthday Party. Was one of the main aims of this book to show what fun it often was being in Bauhaus?

KH: Yes! Well the main aim was to make a beautifully aesthetic book and for it to be a celebration of the band. I feel that it's sad when former band members resort to muck raking and making snide personal jabs. So, I did set out to avoid that because we were a brotherhood and we went through thick and thin to succeed. We also had a healthy humour, which I don't think people would imagine us to have. I hope that when people reach the final page that they have a little smile on their face.

PB: Other stories in ‘Bauhaus - Undead’, such as those about becoming involved with John Peel, suggest that Bauhaus had no real master plan and that everything that happened for them was by chance. Do you think that is a fair assessment?

KH: You're good! Yes! However I wouldn't say by chance. There is, of course, elements of luck in every walk of life, but we did work really hard and were very committed. The best songs though came easily, out of nowhere. But we had no master plan. I think that's a case of not forcing things and allowing them to flow from within us.

PB; You are by your own admission something of an archivist. ‘Bauhaus - Undead’ features literally hundreds of photos, gig tickets and press reviews. Did they all come from your own archives or also from other sources?

KH: Mostly from mine but I did have lots of help from Andrew Brooksbank, Vincent Forrest and a chap named Gabor. These guys have articles that I didn't know even existed! For example, they would spend hours pouring through their archives for any poster or ticket stub that I need to accompany a story I was writing. Their help and support was immense!

PB: Andrew Brooksbank also compiled the 1997 Bauhaus biography, ‘Beneath the Mask’. In what way do you think that this book is different than Andrew’s book? Is it simply that it has been written and compiled by a member of the band?

KH: No, not just that. Andrew's book is more of a chronological survey of the evolution of the band. It is very succinct in a historical way. It uses a lot of interviews and reviews and because of that I feel that it's valid in its own respect and a great accompanying volume to my book.

PB: It was available for pre-order as far back as the Autumn of 2016. Why has it taken so long to come out? How long did it take you to put it together?

KH: Well,they termed it as a pre-order but the books were ready to mail out in early December so they have been selling really well from Cleopatra's webstore. The street date was March 16th and that is when it was distributed worldwide. It is available from book stores and Amazon. Signed copies are only available though from the webstore.

PB: You now have a new band Poptone, which you have formed with your daughter Diva Dompe and Daniel Ash that is “revisiting the music of Bauhaus, Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets.” You are “presenting it in a fresh, new direction.” You have not yet toured the UK, but are doing a lengthy set of American dates. In what way is it fresh and will you eventually be playing UK dates?

KH: I guess it's fresh in the terms that its being played by a relatively new and very invigorated band! I'm really pleased that Diva has injected a youthful energy in to the performances and that has inspired Daniel and I to raise our game. We are really killing it live and having a lot of fun in the process. It's great to be playing those songs again. We have an LP of the live set coming out in May on Cleopatra Records. It comes from a session that we did for the 'Part Time Punks' radio show on KXLU here in LA.

As for the UK, we really want to come and play there and everywhere. We are yet to find a promoter than can offer us a tour that is financially viable.

Pb: Thank you.














Related Links:

https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/bauhaus-undead-the-visual-history-and-legacy-of-bauhaus-book/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhaus
https://en-gb.facebook.com/kevinhaskinsofficial/


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