Good things happen by accident, or by choice. I’m sure that back in England, in the year of 1978 four young fellas (Murphy, Ash, Haskins and David J) could not imagine how important and pioneering the band they had formed would be. The name of this group was Bauhaus…. Later on, a co-founder of the band, Kevin Haskins, presents in public his first book: “Bauhaus – Undead”. In this book, someone will learn things about Bauhaus he didn’t know, and all this from a member of them. I believe this source is by far the best.
Hello Kevin, let me ask you a question that probably many people may share: What was the basic idea of writing a book about Bauhaus by you?
I had no aspirations to write a book. A good friend of mine Matt Green who works at Cleopatra Records suggested the idea about three years ago. He knew that I had a big collection of Bauhaus ephemera and thought it should see the light of day. I thought it was a great idea and became excited at the thought of sharing my collection. Then off I went on a long journey of writing and working with Jeff Anderson, Donny Phillips and Kaylee Carrington, who between them designed the layout and were a great motivating and creative force. I attempted to self publish it in October of 2016 but it’s didn’t work out and eventually I came back full circle to my friend Matt, who offered me a good publishing deal with Cleopatra.
Reading your forthcoming book, what should someone accept about Bauhaus’ story? Do you believe that it will alter his/her “feelings” about the band, will learn stuff (s)he didn’t know, and why should we buy it in the end of the day?
Well because I wrote all the stories, the reader is getting a first hand, fly on the wall, account from an original band member. I’m sure that in this way, the reader will learn information that they did not know. I also set out in part, to make this book a good natured celebration of the band. I don’t think it’s cool to air dirty laundry and share negative things that should be kept between the band members. So I hope that the reader will learn more about the more humorous and positive aspects of the band.
The period the book is referring, is it in the years that you were member of Bauhaus or even later on?
I have been a member of Bauhaus from day one and will always be. Bauhaus cannot exist without all four original members, so there is no ‘later on”? The period of the book begins right at the beginning in 1978 and I end it in 2005 when we played the Coachella festival. In honor of our legacy and in the nature of the book, it ends on a high note.
Bauhaus was a pioneering band back then, and also a band that didn’t change its music style. Was that because you were focusing on the music that you played, or was it because those days it was difficult for a band to target on the money factor?
There was no plan of action other than to show up in a rehearsal room and see what happens! The music was created in a very organic way. I think that the only restrictions we placed on it was to be as minimal as possible and we decided to wear black, other than that it simply just happened. So the music came first.
How do you feel then as a member of Bauhaus, and what is left now after all these years?
I feel very proud of our legacy and astonished at how influential we have been. When I think back to when we first started, we had no idea what lay ahead of us and how we ended up, almost thirty years later, playing go 110,000 people at Coachella. What a journey!
After so many years, what is the relationship with the other members of Bauhaus? Are they better or not?
Pretty much the same.
They say that “what is done, it is done”, but if you could go back in time, as a member of the band is there anything that you regret, or something that you should do then but you didn’t?
When we disbanded Bauhaus after just four albums, at the time I personally wanted the band to continue. Had we been able to….. what would have happened?! There would have probably been no Tones On Tail album and Love And Rockets wouldn’t have existed. So I’m very grateful for having been in all these great bands and count myself lucky everyday. So I wouldn’t change anything.
Name a Bauhaus’ song which mostly represents your ‘phase’ you were then, and one for your current phase.
This is an interesting question that I’ve never been asked before! I would pick ‘Double Dare‘ for the ‘phase’ that I was in back then. Full of youthful angst and rebellion! For now I choose, ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything‘. If there was a song to go alongside the book, this would be it. Although it represents our childhoods, and what it was like growing up in more innocents times, for me it’s also about the band. A beautiful reflective song.
Does the book have a …Bauhaus’ aesthetics (from the movement!) or is it just a ‘plain’ one design-wise?
I gave the layout artist, Donny Phillips, one piece of direction. I told him that I want it to be quite austere, like a high art book. So that everything presented speaks for itself without the distractions of design. In this way, because it’s very minimal, I feel that it reflects the Bauhaus aesthetic. I loved the colors he chose and I couldn’t be happier with the end result.
After Bauhaus, you and Daniel Ash formed Tones On Tail, and later with David J. you formed Love And Rockets. What was the difference between these later groups from Bauhaus, and which period was your favourite?
Tones On Tail were more experimental and less confined. I feel more eclectic than the other bands and there was more freedom. Love And Rockets was more conventional to a degree and in general had a lighter aspect. Obviously it turned out to be more commercial. The trading of vocals between Daniel and David gave it a unique character.
As with all three bands, there was never a master plan of “lets do this and lets do that” it just happened.
As this is your first attempt as an author, may I ask what others writers do you admire or furthermore what is your favourite book?
Well when I was writing I referred to books that I had recently read by Peter Hook and John Lydon. What I realized was, was that they each used their own natural “voices”. There was no pretense, so I took that to heart. Writers that come to mind are Iain Banks, Nick Hornby, and recently I loved “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr.
So, did you keep notes from the period (not as a secret detective of course!) you were a member of the band or was it something you clearly remembered writing “Bauhaus-Undead”?
I did not keep any notes and was concerned about recalling all the moments. I found though that once I began writing about a certain story, that all the details came flooding back.
Apart from the book are there any other projects in mind for the time being? If so, could you please give us more details?
Aside from the book I am playing in a new band called Poptone. It consists of me, Daniel Ash (founding member of Bauhaus, Tones On Tail, Love And Rockets) and my wonderful daughter, Diva Dompe. It’s a career retrospective and we are playing music from all three bands. Last year we toured North America and hope to visit other parts of the world this year. We have an LP soon to be released on Cleopatra Records.
Photo credits: Judy Lyon (1st one), Brian Shanley (2nd one), Stella Watts (3rd one)