Bauhaus Undead | An interview with Kevin Haskins | Plus excerpt about Nick Cave and The Birthday Party

[dropcap]Famed[/dropcap] goth rock originators Bauhaus will soon have a career spanning visual history released—chronicled in the form of a coffee table book thanks to drummer Kevin Haskins. BAUHAUS UNDEAD: The Visual History and Legacy of Bauhaus, exhibits an extensive personal collection of Haskins’ ranging from show fliers, photos, hand written lyrics and more—that he has diligently saved since the band’s beginnings. Combining all of this with personal anecdotes as well as stories from their peers—this makes for the perfect room darkening addition to any fan.

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Presales are up now—but before the book’s release, Kevin took time to answer a few of Post-Punk.com’s questions via email, as well as shared an exclusive excerpt featuring The Birthday Party.

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What the first piece of Bauhaus memorabilia you remember collecting? 

The first piece would have been a clipping from our local newspaper: Northampton Chronicle & Echo. Having played in several bands previous to Bauhaus, I think that I must have been very excited to actually see our name in print. Taking this clipping was actually the catalyst for the entire collection, once I began, I couldn’t stop!

Was it just for personal nostalgia or were you already confidant that the band was going to be a hit? 

I don’t think that I had any particular endgame in sight other than personal nostalgia I guess. I never really thought about it. I do recall having a sense that the band would become very successful but that didn’t influence me in collecting anything.

When digging through your archive, did you ever come across any artifacts that made you say to yourself, ‘wow! I can’t believe I still have this?’ 

Yes! In fact it was more like, “I had no idea that this existed!” That would apply to photographs that I took and certain sketches I made. There was also a canister of 16mm film of out takes from the “She’s In Parties” video that I had forgotten that I owned.

I read your brother showed his support—but how has the rest of the band reacted to news of the project? 

Everyone gave me their blessings with a couple of minor conditions.

Does this pick up where Andrew J Booksbank’s Beneath the Mask’ or is this a completely different view on the Bauhaus tale? Did you or the band have any involvement in that version aside from signing off on it? 

I feel that it’s a very different view because I’m recalling stories that happened as a band member, so obviously that’s a different perspective. I also decided not to include many press clippings because I felt that Andrew had covered that already. Andrew’s is also different in that it’s laid out in a historical chronological way. I can’t recall having any involvement with it. I should state though that Andrew was VERY involved with my book. He gave me access to his hallowed time line that seriously must have taken him years to compile and it was a godsend. Aside from this we must have written literally hundreds of emails back and forth with me asking if he had this ticket stub or poster. Andrew would also offer up golden nuggets from his own collection. So I am indebted to him and also Vincent Forest and Gabor.

I watched you video sharing and excerpt about Iggy Pop heckling the band but congratulating the band backstage, did any of the band join him at the ‘dangerous S&M club?’ 

Ha! ha! Well just to be clear he was heckling the band in a jovial, “come and prove yourselves” kind of way. And no we did not join him, otherwise I would definitely have written that story!
What was it like personally, and mentally, to revisit so many years of the band’s history? 

I found it a very enjoyable experience. I made a conscious decision from the outset not to delve in to any negative aspects. Life for all of us is a roller-coaster; there are the lows and the highs. Some biographers write about all of it, and that’s their prerogative but I wanted my book to be a celebration of the band and not mean spirited.

Is Bauhaus now officially in-the-books for good or has the creation of this history sparked any light back into the group?

I have learned, never to say never. One really does not know which path life is going to take you down. I would say that it’s highly unlikely, but you never know.

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THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (An excerpt from BAUHAUS UNDEAD: The Visual History and Legacy of Bauhaus)

SPLAT!! A direct hit! Nick Cave just took a custard pie, directly to his face. Well it wasn’t actually custard, it was shaving foam, but it sufficed. Born out of the silent era, slapstick comedy attained great popularity as it didn’t require sound to conjure up laughs. Charlie Chaplin, Mack Sennett, Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, The Three Stooges and Buster Keaton all mastered the art of the pie in the face. Now I’m not putting myself on the same level, but myself and roadie, Glenn Campling did a pretty good job of plastering each member of the band, as they played their final song, “Cry”.

It was June, 27th 1981; the last date of our British tour supported by The Birthday Party, who I must say, were on phenomenal form. It was customary on the last date of touring to play pranks on the crew, support bands and vice versa. Everybody was on heightened alert; running surveillance and checking their shoes for toothpaste and the like.

I must admit that it was with some trepidation that I took to the stage armed with two pies as The Birthday Party could appear very intimidating. The lads from down under took it on the chin, (excuse the pun), and I did garner a reluctant, “nice one!” from some unfortunate sporting a cream covered mug.

Pranks aside, for the shows finale, The Birthday Party joined us onstage for a dark and moody, spine chilling version of the classic song, “Fever”, most notably covered by Peggy Lee.

As for my contribution to the evening’s entertainment, it may have not met everyone’s haughty expectations, but there’s a certain heartwarming nostalgia attached to it. And who else can say that they “custard pie’d” Nick Cave?

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