When it comes to goth culture, there are few bands that had as instrumental a hand in creating it as English post-punk band Bauhaus. Though only having released five studios albums over nearly three decades, their impact cannot be denied. From performing “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in the opening of The Hunger to topping indie charts at the onset of their career, from breaking up not once but twice, reuniting in 2005 to co-headline Coachella to releasing their final studio album in 2008.
Bands such as Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Type O Negative, Soundgarden, Korn, Mogwai, Ministry, Elliott Smith, The Dresden Dolls, and many, many more have all cited the group as an influence on their material. It’s safe to say that they are one of the most important bands of the past 40 years and without them the musical landscape we live in might look far different than what we know.
To celebrate the band’s impact as well as to pay homage to its rocky history, drummer and founding member Kevin Haskins has put together “Bauhaus – Undead, a beautiful coffee table book that features nearly everything that Haskins could collect over the years. This includes, “…early “Local Band Makes Good” articles, backstage passes, ticket stubs, original artwork, letters, set lists, posters, contracts, band sketches, fan club material, pins, tour itineraries, hand written lyrics, home made flyers, Bauhaus comic strips and candid photographs from his personal collection.” The oversized book weighs 13 lbs. and measures 13″ by 19″, so you’ll need a lot of room for it!
I had the chance to catch up with Haskins to discuss “Bauhaus – Undead” and the memories it stirred in him, how he sees the musical environment we live in today, and what drew him to this project in the first place. Additionally, there is a short excerpt from the book, all of which can be read below.
“Bauhaus – Undead” can be pre-ordered right here. It begins shipping on November 1st.
What inspired you to create this visual history?
A good friend of mine suggested that I use all the memorabilia on the band that I collected over the past 30 years to good use and put it in a coffee table book. Once I began the process I became very driven to produce a beautiful and comprehensive book on the band. Of course I had to do our legacy justice and I feel that I have achieved that.
This book comes near the band’s 40th anniversary. Admittedly, there were some gaps where the band wasn’t active but the lack of musical output didn’t stop audiences from appreciating and revisiting your works. What thoughts come to mind when you think about the impact Bauhaus has had during these decades?
It’s at times surprising, and also very gratifying. When fans of the band inform me that our music changed their lives, it’s difficult to take that on board! We never set out with that in mind of course, we just wanted to make unique and creative music. It’s a strange feeling. It makes me reflect on how Bowie and The Clash did the same for me, but I never would have thought that our band would have had a similar effect. Also, to learn that several of my favorite artists that I have a deep respect for name checked us as an influence bowled me over!
The book “Bauhaus – Undead” collects items and memorabilia from the beginning of the group’s career. Were there any particular pieces that had a significant impact or jarred forth specific memories?
Yes, many of them. Mainly the candid photographs that I took and had forgotten all about. Photographs, like music, can transport one back to a place and time and can trigger an emotional response. I think that’s something we can all relate to.
As you looked through the various pieces and thought about the years that this all took place during, I’m curious if you found yourself thinking about music today and what your thoughts are on how it’s produced, how it’s distributed, and how it’s absorbed by audiences?
No, I did not think about this! But it is something that comes up quite frequently in conversation. I find it very difficult to grasp how the music industry works now. The internet can be a marvelous and wonderful thing, but it has severely devalued music and, to me, that’s very sad. It prohibits many producers and musicians from being able to make a decent living, and many young bands from being able to grow and thrive.
Actually, one of the motivations to make this coffee table book was that unlike most forms of art/media, in its purest form, a coffee table book cannot be digitized. As with vinyl, I am excited to produce something thats tactile. Something that can be held, and even smelled! You cant smell a jpeg, haha! This will be a very large book, with thick paper and a lush fabric cover. I, for one, am very excited after all this very hard work to actually hold this book and embrace it!
I know that many people wonder if there is more in the future of Bauhaus. Did you find that looking through everything stirred those feelings for yourself?
It really stirred feelings about how back in the early days we were a brotherhood, the love and the tight bond we had. It wasn’t easy, we didn’t have much money, and it was a real struggle to make any headway and that really bought us closer together. Rather than harp on any negative aspects, I decided to make this book a celebration of the band and our legacy. There’s enough negativity in the world and there were a lot of amazing, positive, and funny experiences within the band!
What do you hope people take away from reading ‘Bauhaus’? Will it just be feelings of nostalgia and a recollection of memories or is there something more you hope comes from the experience?
Definitely for those of our peers it will be very nostalgic, but as I said, I hope that people will have a smile on their faces as they read the stories and a warm feeling as they close the back cover of the book.
What else does the future hold for you?
“I wonder what the future holds?”……….Who knows?! Haha!
From “Bauhaus – Undead”:
Plan K is an intriguing venue. Housed in an old sugar refinery in Brussels, Belgium, at six stories high, one had to navigate a maze of floors, rooms and narrow foot bridges to explore its industrial interior. It wasn’t just the building itself that was interesting; the kids who ran it were our age and took a lot of pride in making each show a real event. I recall finding this very inspiring and had the idea of doing something similar in our home town. The night that we played there on April 5th, 1980 they named it “Soirée Vampires!”. Before we took to the stage, they screened several films from a 16mm projector including: “La Fiancée Du Vampire”, “Le Masque Du Demon” and “Mensch Und Kunstfigur”, the latter being a documentary about Oskar Schlemmer, an artist and teacher associated with the Bauhaus art movement.