Intervista di Giuseppe Bellobuono
Hi Kevin, can you tell us about your book “Undead: The Visual History and Legacy of Bauhaus”? How did the idea about creating this book come about?
Around this time three years ago a very good friend of mine, Matt Green, suggested that I put all my memerobelia to very good use in a coffee table book. The idea had never occurred to me before and so I’m very grateful to him because had he not suggested it, it would all still be sitting in a container in my basement!
What would you say Bauhaus’ legacy is today?
I’ll have to take my humble hat off for this one. It’s a collection of highly original and innovative songs that created an entirely new genre of music and stood the test of time. Highly influential, being named dropped by the likes of Massive Attack, Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, NIN, Janes Addiction, Moby, Tool, Interpol, and Radiohead to name just a few. It’s a band that can reform 20 years after its inception and play to over 200,000 people.
Bauhaus is one of the few groups of the post-punk era to achieve truly mythic status with a savory legacy of artful, timeless, dark rock and theatrical performances. What was your secret and the alchemy that kept you together despite having very strong personalities?
Thank you! The secret?! Millions of different circumstances and a spoonful of luck all coming together and colliding in a random event in time.
“Undead” contains stories written by you personally, memories, concert material, memorabilia … is there anything you wanted to say and that was left out for some reason?
No, I left nothing out that I wanted to say. I wanted this to be a good natured celebration of the band and its legacy, and I feel that I achieved just that.
What is the best memory you have entered in “UNDEAD”?
There are many great memories. Such as meeting some of our heroes, Iggy Pop, Niko and David Bowie come immediately to mind, but also moments like ironically almost meeting our maker, as Peter Murphy drove our newly acquired hearse, at breakneck speed, down the narrow country roads of Wales. There are many funny stories such as this in the book.
Together with David you were probably one of the most revolutionary rhythmic sections in the history of music. How were Bauhaus music tracks born?
Thank you. You are very kind! Most of them honestly just happened, especially the good ones. When you labor and labor over a song you might as well discard it. I’m not saying that it was all done and dusted in one second. Once the seed has been born, then there is a lot of work to chisel away at it and refine it. But with the good ones the work flows with no resistance. So it was a very organic process with little intellect involved.
In the book there is also a frame from the Ziggy Stardust video. Your contribution to the White Duke, the very great David Bowie who had invited you to participate in the filming of Miriam, wakes up at midnight by T. Scott. How was it working with him?
He was very much a gentleman and very down to earth. There was a marvellous moment in the middle of the day, when the filmmakers were setting up the next scene. Bowie discovered an old jukebox that was in the club and began to select records on it. Myself and all the club kids that were extras were following him around from a distance, and he turned around and told us to come and sit down around the jukebox. For over one glorious hour, he selected songs, most of which were on his LP Pinups and told us stories about when he first saw The Who, The Kinks and The Yardbirds at The Marquee club, and how he was influenced by them. I had to pinch myself several times because I couldn’t believe this was actually happening!
In your records there are songs by Marc Bolan, David Bowie, John Cale, Brian Eno, Velvet Underground and Lou Reed. Were these the groups and the records that shaped you musically?
Oh yes! Very much so. We were also influenced a lot by dub reggae, punk rock and believe it or not the Beatles. In fact, I believe that every song that one hears during one’s lifetime seeps into your subconscious and reveals itself in your work.
After so many years the Bauhaus records remain and continue to be a reference point for many bands that start playing. Does it make any sense in 2017 to talk about post-punk or dark? How has the way of experiencing music changed today?
I can definitely hear the influence of post punk music in contemporary bands now. Very much so. Savages are one example. I actually see a lot of Bauhaus in them when I watch them live. They have the sound, drive and energy, and they’re actually way more accomplished musicians then we were back in the day!
Could you imagine a fantastic reunion of the original Bauhaus line up or that some utopian wish for your fans? Or is this a dream that could never happen again?
Well I have learned to never say never.
Can you tell us about your new band Poptone and is there any chance you might come to Italy to play here? We would love to see you.
Poptone is a career retrospective project where original member of Bauhaus, Tones On Tail and Love And Rockets; Daniel Ash, myself and my daughter Diva, are playing music from all of those bands. We toured all last year and the reception from our fans has exceeded my expectations. It’s wonderful to be playing all those songs again, and we’re having a lot of fun doing it. We have a self titled LP being released in June on Cleopatra Records. It would be marvellous to play Italy, so if there are any serious promoters out there, we would welcome offers. I really hope that can be realised.
Thank You Kevin!
Thanks to Shauna McLarnon (Shameless PR)