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Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus, Tones on Tail) Talks to Stereo Embers

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Drummer and composer Kevin Haskins can now add “Music Supervisor and Producer” to his impressive résumé. The founder of such legendary bands as Bauhaus, Love & Rockets, Tones on Tail and most recently Poptone (with his daughter Diva Dompé and cohort Daniel Ash) has signed on in the above mentioned roles to assist in launching FOXES TV. The brainchild of Julian and Tina de la Celle of FOXES magazine, the program aims to meld music and men’s fashion into a visual and aural feast that is sorely lacking on television of any origination.

I had the opportunity to talk with him recently about what is in store for us with FOXES TV, who he would love to see on the program, the indiegogo fund raising campaign to help get the pilot episode filmed and much more. We also dove into the news about his book, “Bauhaus – Undead”, that bands recent album re-issues and their mythical “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” session that is finally seeing a full release.

[feature photo: Pamela Dompe]

SEM: I wanted to talk with you about the FOXES TV show that you are now involved with. How were you initially approached about the project?

Kevin Haskins: It came from the magazine called FOXES, which was started by Julian and Tina de la Celle. They’re a mother and son duo that I was introduced to at a show. They would put on cool events like getting local bands to do a series of thematic nights, like New York in the late 70’s, and Batcave in London, and they’d get these local bands, young kids, to cover bands from back in the day. There were some remarkable performances at those events, they really nailed it. The events were held in these warehouses downtown, very cool vibe. Julian and Tina had approached me early this year to do an interview about my book, “Bauhaus Undead”, for their magazine. The magazine’s great. It’s music and fashion and it’s real glossy and really well put together. I don’t think they make a lot of money doing it because they really put a lot of emphasis on the quality of the paper and the printing, plus the photography is really excellent. There are great photographers that shoot the bands and cover men’s fashion, so I was really excited to be in the magazine because it’s really high quality. So we did that interview and photo shoot and then, kind of out of the blue, they emailed me a couple of months ago and said, “Would you like to Music Supervise and Produce this TV show concept we have and I thought, “Yeah I’d love to do that. It’d be great really.” They’re really sweet, nice people. So that’s how it came about.

SEM: Do you have any other experience in TV or Production?

KH: Not really, no, though I did do a lot of composing work in the last decade as well as quite a bit of TV and from that I got a kind of an understanding of how TV Production works. When I was composing for TV sometimes, I started this music library with my composing partner Doug DeAngeles and sometimes, when they were looking for something that sounded more like a band, we’d use the library. I’d go through our library to find songs that fit certain scenes, so in that respect I did have a little bit of a taste for doing music supervision but not actually producing. I’ve been involved in other creative ways. We’ve had meetings to discuss the bands, interviews and other creative aspects. I’ve also been helping in other ways to organize it all and finding ways to raise money to film this. What we’re doing is filming a teaser or pilot. It’s a short version of what the show will be so we can go pitch to TV networks to give them a taste of the show.

SEM: As far as the format of the show, are you still working on how it’s going to look and flow?

KH: I think we have a pretty good idea. I think once we start editing we’re going to get a better feel for the flow of the show. I think those things happen organically. It gets tweaked as you actually start working on it. I think mainly we’re going to represent up-and-coming bands but have some established bands in there also. Films, fashion shows, backstage at the fashion shows, interview designers, interview musicians. There’s even an idea to have an artist interview another artist, which I think is one of the “set in stone” concepts, and I really like that idea. So that’s the basic idea for it.

SEM: Has anyone else been signed on yet to help as far as Production?

KH: Yeah, we have Orian Williams who produced “Control”, the Joy Division movie which was directed by Anton Corbijn. He also produced a movie about Morrissey [England is Mine – ed]. I think because of “Control” he gets asked to produce a lot of music-themed movies and documentaries.  He is working on quite a few interesting projects right now. One about Kit Lambert who was part of The Who’s management team. I’m excited to see that. I think I met him at an after-party for “Control” and he’s a really nice guy, very creative, so I’m excited that he’s attached. That’s really the main team right now besides myself.

SEM: I understand that there is nothing set in stone so far as to who will broadcast the show?

KH: No. I think the main network being bandied around in Netflix but I’m not sure where it will end up. Netflix would be great so we’ll see.

SEM: You had mentioned earlier about fundraising for production of the show and you have something unique out there where you are doing a raffle for pieces of your Bauhaus memorabilia. Can you tell us more about what’s out there?

KH: When I made my book I had collected a lot of items and have a big container full of items. I have a few laminates and I decided it would be really nice to have that included. It’s from the Bauhaus “Near the Atmosphere” tour. That’s an original one of maybe, fifteen? So that’s a very exclusive, unique prize. There is a signed copy of my book, Bauhaus Undead. I sell prints from my book on my website, and those are printed on premium matte quality photo paper and signed. I think there are about 16 different ones that you can go there and choose from. I will be giving away one small and one large. There is the photo I took of Peter and Iggy Pop which seems to be quite popular. There are some drawings I did and things like that. You can get a signed letter from myself for contributing. So those are all the things I’ve contributed. Michael Ciravolo, the President of Schecter Guitars, is contributing a black wood Schecter Telecaster that is signed by Daniel Ash. FOXES are also putting up a subscription to their magazine for one year. There’s also going to be a VIP party once we’ve edited and have the finished show made to screen it, mainly for the cast and crew so you can pledge to come to that party in Los Angeles. So there is some good stuff up for grabs. People have until the 22nd of November to go to the indiegogo page to contribute [NOTE: Link is at the end of this interview]

SEM:  As far as guests on the show, if you had to pick a band or an artist who would be your ultimate coup to have on there, who would it be?

KH: The Cramps.

SEM: That would be kind of hard!

<Both laugh>

KH: Miraculous if I could pull that off! I think they embody the vibe of FOXES, kind of like The New York Dolls. I had actually started a list of bands and as I come across new ones I add them to the list. In the pilot season we’re having my daughter’s band, Automatic, so I’m excited about that. There’s a band called Downtown Boys who are really cool, Starcrawler, Sextile, POW!

SEM: I love POW!

KH: I’m such a big fan of them too. I’ve heard they’re just finishing a new album and it’s supposed to be better than anything they’ve ever done which I’m so excited about that.

SEM: Twice I saw the initial swing through the States that Poptone did with them opening and they just blew me away. I thought they were phenomenal.

KH: There’s a band called Number from L.A., Savages. A band called Young Fathers who are playing really soon here in L.A., they seem really interesting. Then there’s Interpol, Nick Cave would be a huge coup!

SEM: Yes! He would actually fit in both music and fashion. He’s a dapper dude.

KH: Yeah, true, he is. There’s a band from Brooklyn called SURFBORT, they’re like a punk band. I’ve got Acid Dad, Uni, Geneva Jacuzzi, she’s supported us, Strange Cages and there’s a lot more but that gives you an idea.

SEM: The Horrors would fit that vibe too. I think Farris has been in FOXES magazine.

KH: Yeah, they have been.

SEM: Do you see yourself in front of the camera or will you stay behind the scenes?

KH: I think I’ll be behind the scenes <laughs>. I don’t know, maybe.

SEM: If Poptone were to get reactivated or going back out there, could you see yourself promoting that on the show?

KH: Sure, yeah, I suppose. I hadn’t thought of that but I can see that. That’d be kind of obvious if we do something next year. I could always mention to Tina and Julian that I’ve just discovered this new band who are amazing up and comers.

<both laugh>

SEM: So is that what’s going on right now as far as Poptone goes, you all are on a hiatus?

KH: Yeah, it kind of ran its course. We played everywhere that wanted us and it’s the sort of thing that you can pick back up. So maybe toward the end of next year it could be time to do it again.

SEM: Could you see it developing? Not just covering Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets but writing original pieces.

KH: Possibly. That idea came up last year but I think Daniel was more into the idea of just doing the show as it was, doing the old material but he might come around to the idea.

SEM: Give me his number. I’ll talk to him.


<both laugh>

SEM: With the FOXES TV project going on, are you also involved in any other music projects right now? Are you doing anything with Automatic? I know Diva does music on her own as well, are you helping out there in any way?

KH: I’m really just focusing on the TV show right now. I try and help Automatic when I can. I think I’m their unofficial manager that doesn’t get paid.

<both laugh>

KH: We had a meeting the other day with a producer who was really big back in the day and he’s still doing very meaningful projects. We had already filmed the Automatic performance for the show and he came along and was really blown away and just loves them, so we had a meeting yesterday with him and he wants to make a mix of one or two songs that they have recorded and take it from there. Maybe try and get them a deal. I’m really excited that he’s interested.

SEM: I want to step back a little into your past because there is still some stuff happening there as the full Bauhaus “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” session is going to be released. What are your recollections about that session? What stands out to you? That was really the first time you stepped into a proper studio wasn’t it?

KH: Yeah. It was the first time as Bauhaus and it was Peter’s first time in a studio so it was quite a pivotal day. I’ll tell you one of my main memories. The idea came about from this book a guy Andrew Brooksbank did, he’s like an unofficial Bauhaus archivist, or he could be official. Let’s make him official. He really helped out on my book a lot when Beggars Banquet put out reissues he helped do a lot of the sleeve notes and stories. He put together a timeline that’s extremely accurate that was very helpful when I made my coffee table book. He also has a lot of memorabilia and he supplied some of those things to the book. Anyway, it was his idea a couple of years ago he said, “Kevin, why don’t you release all of the music you recorded in that Bela session?” and I just thought, “Why hadn’t we thought of that before. That’s genius.” He had even mocked up a sleeve for it and sent it to me partly reusing that design, so for the inner sleeve we’re using his idea. Three of the songs have never been released before and I think it’s quite fascinating to hear this music because if you had played people these three songs that hadn’t been released they would probably think that this is not Bauhaus. There is a song called “Harry”, “Some Faces” and “Bite My Hip”. It’s intriguing as a listener because you’re listening to a band finding its feet and its sound, which we hadn’t really quite nailed. The track “Some Faces” sounds like a very power pop, new wave song that is kind of a bridge from the previous band that Daniel, David and I had been in along with another guy, Dave Exton, which was called The Craze. That song sounds like it was more suited for that band than Bauhaus.

SEM: What was it like hearing it after so many years? Was it like “magic” or was it “cringe”? <laughs>

KH: To be honest, every time I hear “Bela” it’s magic. It still sends a shiver up my spine, which is a real testament to the song. The other material…I mean I love “Boys”. It’s very much a Bauhaus track and this is a different version. It was never released. For some reason we thought it wasn’t right but I really like it. It just sounds a bit grittier. It just very much has its own vibe. The other songs I just thought, “Wow, this doesn’t really sound like Bauhaus” and there is a naivety to them that I really like.

SEM: “Bela” was done first take, right?

KH: I think so. I remember when we wrote it, it was when David joined the band, we actually had a bass player before David, so it was the first rehearsal that he came to and he brought the lyrics to it. When we played it in that rehearsal it came together instantly and I think we ran through it a couple of times and I remember one of us saying, “Let’s not play this again until we get into the studio because it’s sounding great. Let’s not mess it up by over thinking it.” So that’s what we did. Actually, Andrew Brooksbank would know this! <laughs> We may have had a show in between that rehearsal and going into the studio and we didn’t play it until we got into that studio. There’s a funny story, we laid it down and we were so excited because we knew this was really special. It’s actually about three minutes longer it’s about twelve minutes long and we thought, “This is pushing it a little bit”, so Derek the engineer said that he can edit it down and was like, “W-Wait a minute” and Derek had this lovely stutter, and he disappeared. We thought, “What’s he gonna do?” and he came back in the room and he was carrying a razor blade and we were sitting on the studio couch looking at him and he got the tape that we’d done at mix down, you know, this is the only version of what we’d mixed and everything just sounded perfect. All the delay that Daniel had put down was perfect and the mix was perfect and his hand started to descend on the tape with this razor blade and we all just screamed, “NO! STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” and he said, “Don’t w-w-worry lads. I’ve done this m-m-many times b-b-before. I know what I’m fu-fu-fucking d-d-d-doing!” So we’re like, “Ok then” and he’s just like, “Don’t worry” so he edited it. You can actually hear the edit if you listen for it. He did a very good job though. I’m not sure where it is in the song, but next time you listen to it, try and find the edit.

SEM: So that missing three minutes is somewhere with the Watergate tapes maybe?

KH: My wife asked me the other day because I was recounting that story and she said, “Did you keep the three minutes?” and I said, “No, oh my God!” but if anyone has it my brother might. I’ll have to ask him. It’s the sort of thing he would think about. It would be a nice piece to have.

SEM: Especially if the master tape is still about and that could get re-spliced in. That would be pretty amazing to hear.

KH: Yeah it would! The unedited twelve minute extended version. <laughs>

SEM: Yeah, you could call it the “Disco Remix”!

<both laugh>

SEM: I know you mentioned that Beggars will be reissuing some Bauhaus records on colored vinyl. Did you have any part in the reissues?

KH: No not really. We just get notified when Beggars are going to be reissuing anything. They have the control over that via our contract. They usually do a great job I have to say. The box sets, artwork, quality and Andrew usually has his part with the sleeve notes. We get test pressings to listen to.

SEM: Are you seeing a lot of new fans to the music with the resurgence of vinyl that’s happened over the past few years? Kids who may have been digging through their parents old record collection finding Bauhaus records?

KH: I don’t really have a feel for that to be honest.  

SEM: I didn’t know if maybe at the Poptone shows you were seeing a lot of younger faces.

KH: Yeah, I was going to say the only kind of gauge I had on that was when we played shows. Like when we did the “Resurrection Tour” with Bauhaus in ‘98, it was very gratifying to see a lot of young people coming along. I think the reason that Bauhaus still works is because like a lot of older music it’s timeless. It could be recorded and formulated now and I think it wouldn’t sound out of place at all. I’d imagine there are kids buying the music still.

SEM: I know my kids are! <laughs>

KH: Cool.

SEM: What about for Tones on Tail or Love & Rockets, have you heard if they will do any re-issue campaigns for them as well like they’ve done for Bauhaus?

KH: That’s really down to them. We don’t really have a hand in that. I think they have a gauge on when the time is right.

SEM: As far as the book “Undead” goes, do you see maybe a softcover run or a Kindle edition so that more people get the opportunity to see it?
KH: I haven’t discussed that. There’s a reason. Initially I tried to self-publish the book so I did a lot of research and I went to Passion bookstores and Barnes and Noble and looked at the way other publishers  do different versions of the same book and thought that maybe I could do that over time but there’s no real plans to do that. One thing I really liked about making the coffee table book is that a lot of our world, especially music, has been converted into digital format and this just reminded me of an Uber ride with Matt Green, who works at Cleopatra Records, he’s a good friend of mine and it was his idea to do the coffee table book, and Mick Rossi from Slaughter and the Dogs, who I’d become friends with, we were all going to a screening and we were talking about records and how visceral and tangible they were and hunting them down and then buying it and going home with it on the bus and looking at the sleeve. Then the Uber driver joined in with us and was like, “Yeah!” so we sounded like this bunch of old tarts talking about how you could actually hold something. So that’s what I really loved about doing that book is because these days there is not many things that you can actually hold in your hand and feel the quality of the paper and smell it, if you’re into smelling books, you know? It’s just a completely different experience. I don’t really thing a coffee table book belongs in the digital realm. So I don’t think I’ll do that. Maybe a softback, I don’t know.

SEM: It would just be a more economical way for more people to be able to enjoy it.

KH: Yeah, more affordable. I will think on that.

SEM: Do you have any plans to follow it up with a Love & Rockets edition?

KH: I actually thought about that and mentioned it to Matt at Cleopatra, who published the book, and he didn’t think the time was right right now. I think with Bauhaus it has more of a cache. I think there is more of a mystique to that band and I can understand what he’s saying. I think maybe in a few years but I should actually start working on it now if I’m going to do it. It took about two or three years to do the Bauhaus book.

SEM: No doubt. It’s huge and since Love & Rockets went for a longer span than Bauhaus it would be more material.

KH: If I do Love & Rockets, I didn’t really keep as much memorabilia as I did for Bauhaus. So if I am to do it I’ll probably have to involve other people and I thought it would be a really nice idea to reach out to fans and have them be part of the book. They can contribute and be co-authors if you like. It would make it more meaningful, so I may do it that way.

SEM: That would be a great way to do it. That would definitely generate a lot more interest.

KH: Absolutely, yeah.

SEM: I really appreciate you taking the time with me to answer my questions. I wish you all the best on the show and I can’t wait to see it actually out there.
KH: When I had one of my first meetings with them, I had brought up this TV show called The Tube, I don’t know whether you’ve seen that?

SEM: Yes I have.

KH: I was telling them that it was in the Eighties and filmed live and it started around 5PM on a Friday night and from my memory was on for a few hours. It was really exciting. So you put this show on and it’s there in the background and you’re friends come around while you’re getting ready to go out, getting dressed, having a drink and watching a bit of the show and it was just like a way to kick off the weekend. That’s my memory of that show in that time. It’s very nostalgic. I was telling Tina, Julian and Orian that it would be great to invoke the vibe of that show. I also said when we broadcast it, and I know things are different now with Netflix because you can watch a show at any time but maybe I can tell people to start watching at 5PM on a Friday night. I just want to try and recapture and evoke that energy of The Tube because it was so exciting. There really isn’t anything like it now.

SEM: No there really isn’t.

KH: I also think the fashion aspect is interesting also because if not it would just be a music show.

SEM: There isn’t anything on TV that I can think of specifically geared to men’s fashion.

KH: Right. The aesthetic is going to be very post-punk and kind of Glam, Rock and Roll like all of those bands I mentioned. That New York punk scene vibe, that’s how I see it. It’s the music and fashion that we love.


The FOXES Television Pilot campaign:

FOXES Television promo video:

FOXES Magazine:

Keep up with Kevin Haskins





Bauhaus ‘Undead’ book website:

Bauhaus ‘Undead’ book Instagram: