Daniel Ash has made good use of quarantine. As the world shut down and plans to reunite Bauhaus in 2020 got waylaid, the legendary guitarist found time to devote his energy to a myriad of projects..including a new album. In his first-ever podcast interview on Baxie’s Musical Podcast, Ash was in good spirits and cheerfully described the recording of Bela Lugosi’s Dead, his time with Tones On Tail and Love and Rockets, and what mischief he’s been up to during lockdown. He also really despises the “goth” label, but we already knew that. He prefers to operate as if the label is nonexistent, referencing a quote from Siouxsie Sioux stating: “Goth Doesn’t exist”.
“Way back if you called Siouxsie and the Banshees or the Cure goth, it was an insult,” he explains. “I don’t listen to it, I don’t look at that stuff.” He pauses, noting the response itself a cliché, yet acknowledges the practicality behind old-fashioned pigeonholing by labels in order to ‘brand’ artists. He concludes, “I’m way over that!”
Before Bauhaus reunited in late 2019, Ash had been performing songs as Poptone (with Kevin Haskins and his daughter Diva Dompe) from the catalogues of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, and Tones on Tail. Ash excitedly reminisced about the brief-but-beloved Tones on Tail: “I think we were really breaking new ground with that! If you listen to that stuff now, it sounds like it could have been recorded last week because it’s not in any category at all. What I’m very proud of …is it sounds like it’s from another planet.”
Ash currently finds himself at a point in his life where he can look at his oft-frosty time with Bauhaus (most of the members he’s known since childhood) with a sense of detachment and amusement. With clashing youthful egos, personal differences, and ambitions less of a pressing issue these days, he’s able to see his relationships with these bandmates with greater clarity and wisdom. “We get on and we don’t get on and we get on and we don’t get on,” he said. “It’s OK. It’s doable now because we’re older. It’s not a big deal. … It’s funny, because I’m saying this now, but we might all fall out again in 36 hours, I don’t know. But it’s definitely easier as we get older.”
During the 30 minute interview with Baxie, Ash also reaffirmed that the Bauhaus reunion tour scheduled to occur in 2020 is still in the works. “There’s definitely plans when all this lifts, ” Ash said, noting that it could still be another year until that’s possible. Fingers crossed.
The touring firewalls of Covid have given Ash the opportunity to devote his talents instead toward a new recording project…with fresh blood. The result is Ashes and Diamonds, a collaboration with Sadé’s bassist Paul Denman and PiL’s drummer, Bruce Smith (The Slits, The Pop Group, Rip Pig + Panic). The plan is to release the album this year and eventually play shows when the restrictions are lifted. “We can’t wait, actually, to get some sort of feedback,” he said. “I must say it’s working out really well. We’ve had time to really craft the songs and get them produced as good as possible because I really hate underproduction unless it’s the Velvet Underground.”
Ash doesn’t describe the new material’s sound so much in the interview, but admits the lyrics are “a bit schizophrenic” and span a myriad of subjects.
“This is a real cliché, but there’s a song about 2020 and it’s a really, really sad song,” he said. “I can’t listen to it at the moment. It’s too sad. it’s a real downer. But we’re tweaking the music so that it’s not a downer, to have a juxtaposition there within the song, because if you have the music and the lyrics down, it doesn’t work. Nobody wants to hear it because it’s too depressing.”
Good to hear from you, Mister Ash.
Listen to the full interview: