We caught up with Bauhaus member Kevin Haskins to talk about his new book, interview by Sasasmi Ashworth
What was the process like of revisiting and cataloguing all of the articles that went into the book? Did you round up pieces from the accomplices and playmates of your past, or was it all from your personal stash? Well it's began as a solo journey. A good friend of mine suggested that I put all the memorabilia that I had collected of the past few decades to good use in a coffee table book. I had never even thought about the idea before and if it wasn't for him all those items would still be in the large plastic container in my basement. Of course it was a very interesting process for me to revisit all the photographs, drawings we made, tour itineraries, articles, etc, it did bring back a lot of memories. I also "interviewed" a few people along the way, mainly to jog my memory and I learned some things that I never knew, or saw the band from their experiences and perspective. Somewhere along the way it was suggested that I contact a few people here and there who are very big fans namely Andrew Brooksbank, Vincent forest and a chap who goes by the name, Gabor. It was at the times when I came up against a brick wall, when I needed a poster or ticket stub from a gig that I was writing about and simply didn't have it. So I would contact anyone of these fine gentleman and sometimes they replied instantly with, "yes I have it right here in front of me" Or at other times, they would literally search for over a week in their attic knowing that they had the item in question somewhere. So I have to thank these kind souls immensely for what they brought to the table. They really did enhance the book.
Were the band's art school roots employed in the conception and creation of album/poster art during the bands history? Well I would have to answer that with a definite yes! When making this book, I recalled that I was the one that made most of the early posters and flyers. Of course we didn't have computers back then or Photoshop, so I would use paper, scissors, glue and something called Letraset. Which was basically lettering that you could transfer onto paper by rubbing a pencil over the sheet of Letraset. The only piece of advanced technology that I employed was a photocopy machine! I would call upon techniques that I learned in art school and also was able to reference information that I learned in history of art lessons. Not surprisingly I stole a lot from the bauhaus art movement and also employed elaborate gothic imagery. For Posters, Daniel and his Dad designed and screen printed them as hid dad was a signwriter. For our records sleeves Daniel and more so David were the ones who took care of that side of things.
I loved the excerpt about Daniel and the band's inaugural affair with Iggy Pop, does the bulk of the book document habitués of the Bauhaus scene, or does it focus on the more outlandish, shocking encounters throughout the years? If I had any preset notion, it was really to remain very positive and celebrate the legacy of the band. I'm not really one for gossip and exposing dirty laundry, I don't really see the point, so if by shocking you mean that, then no, however there are many funny and surprising aspects in the stories. In general I was focused on remembering how we were a brotherhood, a gang, who had to push through a lot of adversity before we broke through and "made it".
Is there any single account or piece from the book that you consider your favorite or most memorable? There really are many many striking visual pieces and so it's really difficult to choose just one. I really love the photo that I took of Iggy Pop and Peter, it really tells a story. There's a poster that I've always loved that hangs on my studio wall. It's from when we played a venue called Plan K in Belgium. The promoters named the night Soirée De Vampires and it's a rather crude depiction of a vampire bat but it just has a wonderful innocent nature to it, well you have to see it to appreciate it! There are also several drawings that we made using a surrealist technique called "exquisite corpse". It's where we would fold a piece of paper into four parts, the first person would draw the "head" and fold that over so that the next person could not see what he had drawn, and then the next person would draw the "torso", and so on until a complete "body" had been drawn. And then at the end there would be the big reveal of the usually very bizarre character! We used to love playing this game and it would help with the endless boredom of being on the road. As for accounts, well again it's difficult to choose just one. What comes to mind instantly is the story about when we bought a hearse, and we claim not to be Goth! That's a funny passage where Peter decided to take it for test drive with two teenage daughters, whose father owned the studio where we were recording at the time. I sat in the passenger seat and the girls were in the back where normally the coffin would sit. I should quote from the book;
"Following the deal, we drove it with great excitement back to the studio and showed it off to Derek and the studio owners teenage daughters, who immediately asked us to take them for a spin. Derek (our recording engineer") was exasperated because we were "supposed to be recording an album, and not driving a bloody hearse around all day!"
After assuring Derek that we would be back in fifteen minutes, the girls took up their positions in the back, where normally the coffin would be placed. With Peter at the wheel we all set off with gusto around the narrow country lanes of Wales. Peter decided to test the capacity of the engine for speed and endurance, and as our lives flashed before our eyes, we went careering around the narrow bends and curves, over humpbacked bridges, and on several occasions, ironically, almost meeting our keeper! The poor ladies were being thrown from side to side of the rear compartment, screaming with both fear and delight! Fortunately, we eventually made it back in one piece.
Your written chronicles are as fetching as the visuals- can we expect other written work from you any time soon? Thank you! I don't know. I really did enjoy writing and actually learning to write in the process. I enjoyed the entire process of making the coffee table book so it's crossed my mind to maybe do one on Tones On Tail or Love And Rockets.
The book is available on www.bauhausbook.com