By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 1992
Back in the early 80’s, David J was part of Bauhaus, one of the most influential bands of that era. Along with such other groups as the Cure and Sisters Of Mercy, Bauhaus helped provoke a generation of teenagers to wear black and take pride in being depressed. But David, who’s full name is David John Haskins, has not looked back since the break up of that band in 1983. While still working with former Bauhaus band mates Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins (his brother) as Love and Rockets, David has also embarked on a solo career. His most recent effort, “Urban Urbane”, manages to bring together a wide variety of styles and proves to be his strongest solo effort to date.
The sound of the LP ranges from jazzy numbers like “Some Big City” to dark, Love and Rockets like material to more acoustic sounding tracks. David says that he didn’t have anything specific sound in mind when he went in to make the album. But he does feel that the length of time he took to make it (three and a half years) may account for some of the diversity.
On “Candy on the Cross,” David is reunited with former Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy, whom he has not worked with since the break up. “The track came up and I could hear Peter’s voice on it, so I phoned him up to see what he was doing,” explains David. “It was quite odd really because he was in New York at the time and before I could get around to asking him he asked me to come down to maybe do some recording with him in New York. And then I say “It’s funny you say that Pete because the reason I’m phoning is to ask you to do the same, I’ve got this song. But that didn’t happen because I didn’t make it out to America and had to wait for him to come back to England and then we finally got together a studio in London.”
David says he originally got into music as a teenager because he “wanted to play the bass like the reggae guys.” Although he was content to stay “four steps back from the front” as bassist in Bauhaus, David says he enjoys singing and being more of the center of attention.”I wanted to do it when I was about seven and eight,” he says. “I remember trying to sing like Cliff Richard when I was that age, imagining myself up on the Top of the Pops stage and daydreaming.”
Having recently completed a solo tour, David’s next move is more work with Love and Rockets. The group has completed it’s new lp after a planned one year break that turned into four years. According to David, the album is something of a departure from their previous work. “It’s really representative of all the music we’ve been listening to individually during that time, particularly the dance/rave scene that’s been very big in England since ’89,” he explains. “Its certainly taken that on board, and it’s quite ambient as well in places.”
Because Love and Rockets is essentially Bauhaus without Peter Murphy, there have been reports that the group came out of a failed attempt at a Bauhaus reunion. David says that this is “absolutely false” and that there is “completely different chemistry” in the groups. The group began its evolution when Kevin Haskins joined Ash’s Tones On Tail. David has been working with Jazz Butcher and rejoined his former bandmates after the demise of Tones On Tail. Although he admits that “commercially it was insane” for Bauhaus to split, David says that the group has simply run its course and the break-up was completely amicable.See all interviews →