As NewBeats turned 11 this month, here is an interview from the archives: David J of Bahaus and Love and Rockets, circa 2003.
The Estranged World of David J
by David Chiu
Any fan of modern rock, especially Goth, for the last 25 years will certainly know who David J is. The artist first made a name for himself as the founding member of the legendary, influential band Bauhaus of the early ’80s, and then later as one third of Love and Rockets. The former band achieved cult status while the latter netted a huge commercial pop hit (1989’s “So Alive”).
The British bassist and vocalist has also forged his own solo career throughout the ’80s and ’90s (Songs from Another Season, On Glass, Etiquette of Violence). Now David J has returned with his latest solo record called Estranged. Inspired by the breakup with his partner, Estranged might sound somewhat surprising to those expecting something abrasive or Goth emblematic of his past. Estranged is an atmospheric, intimate spare album with David J singing in a deadpan manner. Combining both elements of folk and country (reflected on tracks like “Mess Up,” Time in the Sun”), J’s album evokes a sense of beauty even during moments of melancholy and darkness (some things never change). J even covers an old ’70s standby Bread’s “The Guitar Man” with some soaring guitar lines by Dave Navarro and American Music Club’s Bruce Kaphin.
Born David J. Haskins, the artist made his mark in music back in 1978 when he, drummer Kevin Haskins, guitarist Daniel Ash, and vocalist Peter Murphy formed Bahaus. Their sound inaugurated the Goth post-punk movement, which would prove influential and imitated for years to come. Their most famous single was “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” followed by a hit remake of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. After the group broke up, David J, Kevin Haskins, and Daniel Ash formed Love and Rockets. Streamlining their sound without the doomy trappings, Love and Rockets scored a huge hit “So Alive” in the late ’80s and recorded several subsequent albums.
Things recently have come full circle for David J. In 1998, Bauhaus reformed and toured to much acclaim, proving their legend is still alive. J was also making his own music-Estranged was recorded three years ago but was temporarily shelved for release due to the usual label and legal matters. To finance the record, J sold his old Bauhaus memoribillia on eBay. It eventually turned out to be a good deal for both J and the fans.
Now with this latest solo album, David J is taking his act on the road. Here, he talks about the new album, his past, and future plans. Continue reading “Features: David J of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets”