Bret's Ramblings interview with Kevin Haskins of Love And Rockets
An Interview with Kevin Haskins of Love And Rockets

band photo
Early this last March I had the extreme pleasure of speaking with one of my favorite groups of all time: Love and Rockets. Ever since the day that a classmate in high school thought I was crazy for not knowing whom the band was I've become a fan. From their early days of Bauhaus and Tones On Tail I caught up with the band during their Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven record as well as Express on down the line to their latest album Lift. Love and Rockets' early explorations into dance beats has finally culminated in the mostly digital Lift, a new phase in the band's career. Here's what drummer Kevin Haskins had to say about his band's new direction.

Highwire Daze: How has the tour been going so far?

love and rockets Kevin Haskins: We've only played one date, last night in Detroit. It was really good. We have Orgy playing with us and there's definitely a big buzz with them at the moment. I think they drew more of a teenage screaming girls audience. There was that element last night. They put on a really high-powered, flashy show. We came on and had a really good time.

HD: What is the set-up like, everyone playing instrument?

Kevin: The usual thing, bass, guitar and drums. For half the set we're using digital back-up recordings. The songs we do from Lift. Lift was very much a studio album with a lot of sequencing and synths and it wasn't possible to recreate it all live without using backing tapes as we call them. There is that element and I'm triggering samples as well.

HD: What would you say is different about the recording process with the new technology available since recording your earlier albums?

Kevin: In essence it's not a lot different. We were using a sequencer back then and triggering sounds. The technology is more refined. You can do more with what there is around these days. We have more options on what we can do now, but it doesn't make it faster. We've been experimenting more. That's always been our thing, to try and break boundaries, open up new doors.

HD: Do you still DJ?

Kevin: Not anymore. I'd always get a bit too stressed out, trying to make things perfect. I've gotten more remixing now. I'm working mainly with the label Cleopatra. They've been putting together a lot of compilations with remixes. I've done remixes for Gene Loves Jezebel, Missing Persons, Bow Wow Wow, and I just did a Bob Marley track Kaya which I was very honored to do. It was originally recorded by Lee "Scratch" Perry from some very early tapes. I love remixing, just on my own, my own boss; I love the freedom of it.

HD: whose remixes of your material have you liked?

Kevin: On Resurrection Hex we thought Deep Dish's mix was amazing. Also I like the Rabbit In The Moon mix of R.I.P 20 C.

HD: What extra-curricular activities do you enjoy?

Kevin: I like seeing movies, spending time with my kids, my family. It's on my priority list these days. I've been happily married for about 13 years now.

HD: How old were you when you first started playing music?

Kevin: I was 13. David formed a band and they needed a drummer. I never thought about drumming before. Since they needed a drummer it spurred me on. Luckily I have some talent at it. That was a great experience for me.

HD: What has kept Love And Rockets together for so long?

Kevin: I suppose because we grew up in the same town, same culture, kept us together. But there are clashes. I think it's the music at the end of the day. We're writing together, in the studio, playing a show and it all goes well, that's what keeps us together.

HD: Tell us about your producer, Doug DeAngelis.

Kevin: Pretty much all he did in the '80's was remix. The names that come to mind are the Pet Shop Boys, Michael Jackson, New Order and a lot of R&B and Hip-Hop stuff. He was based in New York and recently he's gotten into production. After speaking with him for two minutes on the phone we realized he was the right guy.

HD: What did he contribute to your sound? Kevin: Hell of a lot really. He was like another member of the band. He took over my job to a degree in terms of programming and synth work. We'd been working on the album for nine months and had a lot of demos finished, and I thought he should have free reign to do what you want. It worked out really well, we gave him the stuff we did and he added his own stuff. He's a very talented programmer. He did a lot of drum programming and synth work. He's a very fast worker as well. He made it all gel.

HD: What music are you listening to while touring?

Kevin: Kruder and Dorfmeister, I've been playing that to death, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Thievery Corporation. I just found a Jerky Boys CD the other day, good for a laugh, and I've just managed to get Underworld's new album.

HD: Do you have any last words for your fans in the L.A. area?

Kevin: I think people should know we're doing a mix of old and new. We did some radio shows before Christmas where we just played new material and we had a few messages on our website were some of our fans were disgruntled by that. We have decided to mix it up this time.

HD: This way you ease people into your newer material.

Kevin: We're hopefully giving people what they want to hear as well.

And Love and Rockets did give us what we wanted: On March 18th at the Mayan they delivered an evening of loud rock music with interesting interpretations of some of their older work plus great performances of their newer songs from Lift. And in case you didn't already know, Love and Rockets have called it quits. Daniel and David will both continue on with their solo careers while Kevin is keeping busy as a remixer over at Cleopatra. They apparently weren't happy with the reaction to their new direction and decided that the group had run out of steam. I liked their new sound, it was a great synthesis of all the work they have done from their past to today. But then Love and Rockets, Tones On Tail and Bauhaus were always ahead of their audience by at least a few years. Maybe down the line the band and their last album Lift will get the respect deserving them. I look forward to the live Bauhaus album coming out before the end of the year. Until then, enjoy this interview and the record review of Lift on my Archives Page.


ARCHIVES PAGE: Read the record review of LIFT from Highwire Daze magazine.
Love And Rockets website: The band's official site.
MAIN PAGE: Read More of Bret's Ramblings.

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