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Members include Daniel Ash, guitar, vocals; David J, bass guitar, vocals; and Kevin Haskins, drums. Addresses: Record company--American Recordings, 3500 West Olive Ave., Suite 1550, Burbank, CA 91505.
The history of Love and Rockets reaches back almost to the very beginning of its member's lives. Drummer Kevin Haskins and bassist David J are brothers, and guitarist Daniel Ash first met David J in kindergarten. The three did not start playing together, however, until their teenage years in their hometown of Northampton, England.
The Haskins, J, and Ash joined with singer Peter Murphy in the late 1970s to form the band Bauhaus, which became the biggest influence in the black-draped, gothic music scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Songs like "Bela Lugosi's Dead," "Terror Couple Kill Colonel," and "Stigmata Martyr" defined the era's post-punk, dark, gothic rock music. Despite their dedicated following, Bauhaus broke up in 1983, after the release of their third album.
"I think Danny and Dave needed to have a break from each other," Haskins recalled in Musician. "They've both got very strong personalities, and they're at opposite extremes in their musical tastes and the way they form songs." Murphy went on to establish a duo called Dali's Car and then pursued a solo career. Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins founded the band Tones on Tail, and David J played bass for Jazz Butcher and released his own solo albums.
During that break, Tones on Tail produced two albums. Ash and Haskins completely dismissed their dark Bauhaus days by purposely dressing only in white during their performances. "I'm generally very proud of the Tones on Tail stuff," Ash told Joe Gore in Guitar Player. "I was being myself more than ever then, because there were no commercial pressures whatsoever. I love the idea of music that sounds like it comes from another world, but you can still tap your foot to it."
But due to musical differences, Tones on Tail disbanded in 1985. "At that point, David, Danny, and I had been socializing," Haskins told Alan di Perna in Musician. "We looked back on that last period of Bauhaus and realized that there was a special chemistry there. And that's what decided us to get back together again." The same year Tones on Tail broke up the three former Bauhaus members and longtime friends launched Love and Rockets, named after the chic, adult comic book by Los Angeles's Hernandez brothers. Daniel Ash and David J shared both the songwriting and lead vocals for the band.
The members of Love and Rockets came up with a story about how they came together. They said they were "discovered" by the Bubblemen, space aliens from the planet Girl. Later, the trio recorded a 12-inch rap single under the name Bubblemen, in tribute to their space alien alter egos, whom Love and Rockets described as "very nice beings" and "saviors of the world." "Contrary to popular belief," Ash told Jeffrey Ressner in Rolling Stone, "Glenn Miller was abducted by a Bubblemen flying saucer in the 1940s, and they whisked him to a small nightclub on their planet." In reality, Daniel Ash created the characters from doodles that he had drawn during the latter period of Bauhaus.
Love and Rockets released their debut album, Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven, in Great Britain in 1985. But the LP did not arrive in the United States until after the release of the band's second album, Express. Express reached Number 72 on the U.S. charts and featured the singles "Kundalini Express," "All in My Mind," and a cover of the Motown group the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion."
Though their reputation with Bauhaus preceded them, Love and Rockets pursued their own style of music while leaving room for experimentation. "You can't pigeonhole us," Ash told Elizabeth Royle in Rolling Stone after Express arrived in the United States. "It's a little of everything, '60s, '70s influences and the present."
The following year, Love and Rockets released Earth, Sun, Moon on Beggars Banquet/RCA Records, which contained the single "No New Tale to Tell." The band, though, would not achieve major commercial success until their self-titled 1989 effort. The T-Rex-influenced single "So Alive" hit Number Three on Billboard's singles charts, while Love and Rockets reached Number 14 on the U.S. charts. With their career boosted, the band toured throughout the country and saw the video for "So Alive" given heavy rotation on MTV.
With Love and Rockets, the group further displayed their tendency to experiment with music. After the restrictive dark sound of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets extended their musical limits and followed their creative whims. "They're 'anything goes' artistic creed has made their four-album catalog a study in stylistic schizophrenia," commented a reviewer in Musician.
After their brush with commercial success, Love and Rockets disappeared from the new release schedule for five years. Daniel Ash used the time to release two solo albums. Then, in 1994, the band returned with Hot Trip to Heaven, an album targeted to anything but commercialism. "We didn't want to come back with another Earth, Sun, Moon, and doing the orthodox song thing would just be repeating ourselves," Ash told Guitar Player's Gore. "In the past, we've always gone into the studio with finished songs, but this time, we deliberately went in with nothing. It's not a daytime/radio/MTV record. Try it at 2 AM, after you've had a couple of drinks and a spliff--it will set you up fine!"
Throughout all of their projects together, the members of Love and Rockets have clearly avoided being predictable. Their longevity has stemmed from their lifetime friendship and their dedication to leaving the band open to any direction their creativity--or the world-saving Bubblemen's dictation--would lead them.
by Thaddeus Wawro
Love and Rockets's Career
Group originally formed as Bauhaus with Peter Murphy as lead vocalist, late 1970s; re-formed without Murphy as Love and Rockets, 1985; released debut album, Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven, in U.K., 1985, released in U.S. on Beggars Banquet/RCA, 1986; released Hot Trip to Heaven, American Recordings, 1994. Daniel Ash and David J have released solo albums.
- Selective Works
- As Bauhaus Burning from the Inside (reissue), A&M, 1989.
- The Sky's Gone Out (reissue), A&M, 1989.
- Swing the Heartache (live recordings from 1980-83; reissue), Beggars Banquet, 1989.
- As Love and Rockets Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven, Beggars Banquet/RCA, 1986.
- Express, Big Time Records, 1986.
- Earth, Sun, Moon, Beggars Banquet/RCA, 1987.
- Love and Rockets, Beggars Banquet/RCA, 1989.
- Hot Trip to Heaven, American Recordings, 1994.
- Solo releases by Daniel Ash Coming Down, Beggars Banquet, 1991.
- Foolish Thing Desire, Columbia, 1992.
- Solo releases by David J Songs from Another Season, RCA, 1990.
- Urban Urbane MCA, 1992.
- Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, editors, Rock Movers and Shakers, Billboard Books, 1991.
- Periodicals Audio, November 1989.
- Billboard, December 27, 1986; July 15, 1989.
- Guitar Player, November 1994.
- Musician, January 1987, October 1989.
- People, June 19, 1989; June 26, 1989; September 25, 1989.
- Rolling Stone, March 12, 1987; May 21, 1987; September 21, 1989; October 5, 1989; June 1, 1995.
- Stereo Review, October 1989.
- Additional information for this profile was obtained from the on-line All-Music Guide, 1994.
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