"I never saw this one coming," Daniel Ash says, calling from his California home some two hours north of Los Angeles. "I really never thought we'd play again." He's talking about Love and Rockets, the band formed by Ash and fellow former Bauhaus bandmates David J and Kevin Haskins, who are gearing up to play their first shows in 15 years, which will be their biggest tour since 1999.

While Bauhaus' shadow looms larger today, Love & Rockets were a more successful (in America at least), long-running group that managed to shake the "goth" genre almost immediately. They took the trio into psychedelic rock territory, incorporated many different styles into their sound, and made great use of Ash and David J's sympatico vocals. After three well-received albums that established them as alt-rock / college radio stars, the band scored an unexpected worldwide hit with their Bolan-esque "So Alive" from their 1989 self-titled fourth album.

The band would make three more albums after that: 1994's electronic inspired Hot Trip to Heaven, 1996's Sweet F.A. that was made for Rick Rubin's American Recordings and had them returning to rock, and 1998's Lift which split the difference between the two. Lift came out the same year Bauhaus reformed for the very successful Resurrection tour, and L&R would break up a year later. Following a mid-'00s Bauhaus tour, Love and Rockets reformed for a few shows in 2008, including Lollapalooza at the behest of fan Perry Farrell.

It was another festival that got the band back together for their upcoming tour. Pasadena, CA's '80s-centric Cruel World festival had Bauhaus play last year and this year asked if Love and Rockets would do it. They said yes, and the 2023 lineup also includes Siouxsie Sioux, Iggy Pop, The Human League, Echo & The Bunnymen and more. The Bauhaus reunion meanwhile fizzled out with frontman Peter Murphy heading to rehab, and Love and Rockets' festival appearance turned into a tour.

It turned out to be serendipitous, as Beggars Arkive independently launched a reissue campaign of the band's first six albums, along with two more TBA releases coming (more details below). Earth, Sun Moon and Love and Rockets are both out April 28, and Hot Trip to Heaven (which contains 3 extra tracks) will be out June 9. Pre-order/order the vinyl in the BV shop.

While the Love and Rockets reunion will keep him busy for the next few months, Daniel is also excited about Ashes and Diamonds -- his new group with drummer Bruce Smith (PiL, The Pop Group) and Sade bassist Paul Denman who we will hopefully hear music from before the end of the year.

There was no shortage of things to talk about when I spoke to Ash recently; topics of conversation included the Love and Rockets tour and vinyl reissues, Bauhaus and Ash's other '80s group, Tones on Tail, plus Ashes and Diamonds, songwriting, Radiohead, music gear, his love of motorcycles, movies, and more.

Read our conversation below.

There's a lot going on in Love and Rockets World. You've got this tour that starts in about a month, and you've got a reissue campaign at the same time. But this was not coordinated together, right?

It's a bit of synchronicity going on. They happened to tell us several months ago, if not longer than that, maybe six, nine months ago, that they were putting all this stuff out. They were going to reissue the whole catalog basically on Beggars Banquet, and then the Bauhaus tour disintegrated. Then we got an offer to do Cruel World this year, so the opportunity was there, so we took it. And now, as it always does, when we get an offer, it always starts growing into a full-on tour. So that's happened again. So yeah, it's a complete coincidence that they're rereleasing the back catalog as we are actually going out on the road again, as you say, in a month's time doing I think doing about 16 gigs.

You reformed for a few shows in 2008, including Lollapalooza, but this is your biggest tour since 1999.

I have a very weird memory about touring. I don't really remember much about it. It all goes into one vague memory every time I go on the road, just a series of trains, planes, and automobiles. So it all mushes into one big thing. But this one is like six dates on the West Coast, and we have a week off, and then 10 more gigs in the Midwest and on the East Coast. That's the plan so far anyway.

Bauhaus played Cruel World last year.

Yeah, we played both nights. It's a bit of déjà vu going on right now, big time.

And I take it the Bauhaus reunion is over.

Yeah. That's all I can say.

Is this more or less daunting than with Bauhaus?

Oh, it's much less daunting. It's like the fewer people you've got in a band the better. The fewer the people, the less amount of complications. I think it must be great being in a band like the Pet Shop Boys. It's just two of them. Or the Chemical Brothers or whatever.

Maybe less musical equipment. But I imagine Pet Shop Boys and Chemical Brothers have more A/V equipment than a lot of rock bands.

I don't really go and see live gigs hardly ever, but I did see the Pet Shop Boys a few years back when they were doing Coachella, they did a warm-up gig at the Ventura Theater in Ventura, and it was fantastic. It was really something. And no band on stage, just those two. It was definitely live vocals, but it sounded exactly like the record. I was very impressed. Brilliant. Brilliant gig.

I saw them last year when they were touring with New Order, and they were definitely the highlight of that double bill.

I would imagine. Yes, absolutely. They've got the visuals down as well, the stuff they wear, and the way the whole charisma of those two. They've got it down.

So do you have anything special planned visually for the Love and Rockets reunion tour? I was really impressed with the way your POPTONE project looked when you toured five or six years ago. I thought that was a very modern way of presenting classic songs.

Yes, we do. It's a modern psychedelic show, that's the best way I can describe it. It's definitely going to be something. I think with the Cruel World festival, some things are going to happen visually that I don't think they've ever seen bands do before. Along with our lighting guy, the genius Martin, we've got some very different visuals coming up as far as how we are portrayed as a band, as such, on stage. Can't really go into detail because I don't want to spoil anything, but we are trying something different than the normal light show set up.

So Cruel World is in a little over a month. How ready is the band at this point?

We are in the situation where we are rehearsing at home, just listening to the music at home, working out our parts, memorizing the lyrics, guitar parts for me, obviously, and lyrics and stuff. And then what we do about on the 10th of May, we're in a studio in Hollywood for 10 days, and then we've got the Cruel World gig, and then we're going on from there. So basically, we are rehearsing at home, getting all the songs. We've got a pool of songs that we're going to work all of them out, and then we'll come to a final set list when we go to the rehearsal studio in Hollywood.

Do you all live in California these days?

Yes. I live about 100 miles away from LA. David and Kevin live in Los Angeles. It definitely makes it easier than if we were coming from different countries. Some bands these days, some of the guys live in England, some of them live somewhere, I don't know, Australia, the States, whatever. They're all over the place. But yeah, we're all within 100-mile radius of each other.

Are there any songs already, that you're excited to get to play?

The one surprise for me and the other guys is that track "Deep Deep Down" which we just came across by accident the other day when checking out different songs on YouTube, basically. That's where I find the songs in order to rehearse them, and I forgot all about it. It's going to be a highlight for all of us, that one.

Yeah. That's off of Lift, your final album. That's the only one that's not going to be reissued, or at least at this time, right?

It's a matter of getting the rights to it. I think there's a situation where the record company that it's on, Red Ant, disintegrated, so at this point, we are not sure who owns it and how to get ahold of it in order to release it legally, something we'll probably be doing in the future. But it is there on YouTube, you can still check it out and check tracks out. You can get everything on YouTube, as you know.

How are your home rehearsals going?

Well, I'm about nine tracks in now. And the last one I rehearsed and sorted out was "Deep Deep Down," a couple of nights ago. Got that one sussed out. So it's surprising how simple these tracks are, actually. I was dreading having to relearn, I haven't heard this stuff in years, but going back to them, when I actually work the guitar bits out anyway, and the vocals are simple, which I'm not surprised because I like to simplify everything as far as music goes. I think the simplest ideas are the best. I've always thought that.

I heard that "Bela Lugosi's Dead" was written and recorded in a day, top to bottom.

Yes, it was created in one day, and then when we went in to record it, we got into a little studio 10 miles down the road, and we recorded it live. I think it was either the first or second take, and that was it. So it was recorded and produced in the studio in one day, probably in about six hours. It was a magic, magic moment.

That's amazing. What about a song like your Love and Rockets worldwide hit, "So Alive?"

You know what? Exactly the same thing. Written, recorded, produced in 24 hours. Again, it's weird, and the same for "Go!" with Tones on Tail, which was a club hit. All the best ones seem to be absolutely instant. I just wish we had a lot more of them. It's weird how that is. I don't know, everything sort of lines up in a 24-hour period and boom, you get that magic moment, as I like to call it. Very strange. It was particularly strange on "So Alive," the way that happened, because when I went into the studio all I had was the first line and the two chords. We were supposed to be recording something else, and I said, "No, no, no, we're doing this song." I was really arrogant about it, and they said, "Well, can we hear it?" I said, "No, I haven't written it yet!" [Laughter] I've got the first line and the first two chords, but I'm going to go into the basement and write it, and I'll be out in about half an hour." And it's exactly what I did. I went down into the basement of Black Wing Studios in London. I came up an hour later, and that was it. We put it down. It was instant. Kevin started that drum beat straightaway. Dave got the bassline. It was just instant. Amazing day.

And did you know that it was going to be a hit when you recorded it?

When we finished and we listened to the finished mix, I remember looking at David, we both smiled at each other and said, "If this isn't a hit, let's quit." It was that obvious that it was a commercial hit. And there is another story on that. The record company was so convinced as well in the States that they actually put a sticker on the CD that said "Includes the hit single 'So Alive.'" before we'd even put it out as a single. That's how confident they were that it was going to be a smash hit.

It's still kind of surprising, even as immediate a song as it is, that a band on their fourth album that otherwise had been a cult band, certainly in America, had this big Top 40 hit -- #3 in the US, right?

Yeah. And it's funny because actually we'd recorded the album, the self-titled one, took it to the record companies both in the States and in England, and both parties said that classic line, "We don't hear a hit," or whatever. But to say that to us won't work because we don't deliberately write hits. We just write what we write, and then if we get a hit, it's accidental. Although I might be contradicting myself here, but I've always been obsessed with getting something that is commercially accessible. So anyway, we delivered the album research. They weren't satisfied, and they said, "No, it doesn't sound like a fully realized album. Can you carry on working with it?" Which we did, and that's when we come up with So Alive. So there it is. So that finished it off.

I remember hearing a story about OMD. They were asked to write their song from Pretty in Pink, "If You Leave," a day before it was due, and they just wrote it start to finish and sent it to them the next day. And that was their biggest American hit.

Really? Yeah. Wow.

Speaking of John Hughes, your song "Haunted When the Minutes Drag," is used prominently in his film She's Having a Baby.

I have a vague memory of that. We still get placements now for film and TV. With the three bands, with Tones on Tail, Love and Rockets, and Bauhaus. We still get those coming in on a regular basis, which is great.

Do you have a favorite placement? Obviously The Hunger, where Bauhaus perform the song on camera in the opening credits, is completely iconic.

Not really, because they still come in, we get offers on average about every couple of months we get something offered from one of the bands. Obviously there's the top three or four songs, "Go," "So Alive," and "Bela," but we've started to get offers for other tracks from the three different bands. So it's there, we don't keep up on it. Well, I don't, anyway, as far as where it's placed, I mean, obviously there's a description when we get the email with the offer and we either say yes or no and negotiate the fee for the track, but there's different things coming in all the time. So we don't really focus on anything specific.

I remember that there was an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 that was all about going to a secret rave, and when they got to the rave, they were playing "Go!" and Sisters of Mercy for some reason. Weird songs for a rave.

Ha, well, that one, I think we had more placements on "Go!" than anything, believe or not, over the years, everything from beer commercials in Canada to ... I think there was that film that comedy, We're The Millers, it was used to advertise that film. I remember that one quite well. And there's one, actually, we nearly got the Super Bowl halftime for a Volkswagen ad, and it was between us, as in Tones on Tail. And the other band that actually got the gig was ... Grizzly Bear. Remember those guys? They got the gig for this. So we got that close to getting the Super Bowl one year.

I'm trying to imagine what Grizzly Bear song could have almost been similar to "Go."

No, it wasn't similar at all. [It was "Two Weeks" - Ed] I usually don't remember this kind of stuff but that one was such a big gig, it was a million dollar gig. They kicked us to the post on that one. They got that gig. It was for a Volkswagen ad, if I remember correctly. So that would've been fantastic.

As far as these reissues, there are two coming out this fall that they haven't said what the titles are. I'm assuming that they're compilations of some sort. 

That's right. There's a period of time when we were with Rick Rubin's American Recordings where there were X amount of the tracks that never made it to the album, basically. So we've got a separate album, coming out with all these songs. You could call them B sides or you could call them just outtakes from ... Not outtakes, but they were tracks that never made the album. Because obviously you have a pool of songs for an album, and then you get the absolute best, what you think is the best at the time, and you put that together as the album. But there were a substantial amount, probably eight, ten tracks over a period of time that never saw the light of day. So they're going to be put out there. Beggars Banquet basically are putting out them out there now, in the very near future.

And the other one -- maybe non-LP singles like "Ball of Confusion," b-sides or maybe The Bubblemen tracks?

I don't think the Bubblemen tracks are coming out as such. Not that I know of, no.  There was an albums box set that was put out a few months ago, which you're probably aware of. So all of the stuff is on there. And now, as far as I know, everything's on there. I don't really keep tabs on that, reissues of stuff, but I do know that they're basically releasing everything. I don't like to call them outtakes, just the tracks that originally didn't make the album, because they're valid as tracks. So now Beggars Banquet, have decided to put all of this stuff out on vinyl, et cetera, which was a bit of a surprise to us this late in the day to reissue it all. But it's been a very nice coincidence because we've happened to be going out on the road in a month's time.

Your merch table will be full.

Well. I know obviously we're taking t-shirts and stuff, but vinyl can be very impractical to take a lot of it out there. I really don't know what the situation is though we have done that in the past. We did do it with Bauhaus to a degree. So I suppose we will be taking some out.

How involved were you in the reissues?

Very, because we had to choose what was actually going out. There's one thing, we had a contract with Beggars right from the get go many, many years ago that we have full artistic control. And I'm really glad that we insisted on that in our contract. Beggars Banquet over the years have been fantastic in that respect. They would never put anything out that we didn't want out there. So we always had the final say in what actually went out. So we went back and listened to the tracks that they were suggesting and said yes and no, yes and no, yes and no down the line. So yeah, we did have that input.

It's been 25 years since your last album, Lift, came out -- with that amount of distance, do you have a definitive, favorite Love and Rockets album?

Twenty-five years?!? Holy moly. Wow. I must have been out having a lot of fun on motorcycles then for that time to go by so quickly. Well, I'm Captain Commercial, so I love the self-titled album because it's got "So Alive" on it. And I'm personally extremely proud that that was a big old jumbo hit. So that's a personal favorite. But I would say an underrated album would be Sweet F.A. But again, I also love Hot Trip to Heaven. There's no album that I don't like otherwise I wouldn't have put it out there. But again, though, with all this stuff, I haven't listened to this music for a long time. I'm re-familiarizing myself with it right now, having to rework out the tracks. So I'm readdressing it all.

Meanwhile, right before the pandemic you'd announced, or maybe it was during, you announced Ashes and Diamonds, which is you and Bruce Smith (PiL, The Pop Group) and Paul Denman (Sade). What's the status of that?

We are very excited about that. We started this about three years ago, but the pandemic basically screwed it all up and delayed everything by a couple of years. But we are pretty much 99% done, just fine-tuning the mixes for the album. There's like 10 tracks, all original songs, no covers. So we are hoping to be out there releasing various tracks and the whole album by the end of the year. That's the plan. But these things change all the time but hopefully we'll have it out there by December of this year.

What can you say about the sound of Ashes and Diamonds?

That's a weird one because for me it's always just a continuation of new songs coming out through various bands. The bands that you obviously know about, that we've just been talking about. But this is a continuation. I don't know how to describe it... not a techno album. It's quite eclectic. That's one thing I can say about it. Obviously the way Paul plays bass is different from Dave or from Glenn [Campling, Tones on Tail's bassist]. The drums are different. I'm using a substantial amount of E-bow on this record. I can say that much. There's a lot of atmospherics on there. I did discover a new pedal, which I don't want to get into all the technical stuff. But I got this one new pedal that basically really turns the guitar into a keyboard. I can get sounds on there that sound like a B-3 Hammond and stuff like that. A real keyboard, a real authentic keyboard sound. So there's a lot of that on this Ashes and Diamonds record, a lot of drums. The atmospherics are created by using the sustainer that I used on the guitar in conjunction with this new pedal that I got from Electro-Harmonix. So that sound, I would say, is stamped all over the record.

And you're pretty famous for your E-bow use in all your different bands, it's one of your signatures.

I discovered it many, many, many years ago at the beginning of Bauhaus. We were in a music store in Northampton. This is when we very first started. And I think we were in there because Kevin was getting one of those Syn-drums. It was famously used on Ring My Bell. There was that "boo-boo" sound. Kevin wanted one of those. We're in there getting our money together to try and buy that and at the same time, there was this little chrome object on the top shelf. I was intrigued. What is this little chrome thing, about two and a half inches square? The guy took it off the shelf and he showed me what it does on the guitar.  I never seen or heard anything like it. And for me it was instant. It was like, "Oh my God, I've got to have, this is right up my street." Again, it turned the guitar into a violin or whatever keyboard sound with the continuous sustain on the note. He'd had it on the shelf for a few years. I said, "Why hasn't anybody bought this gizmo?" And his answer was hilarious. He said, "Nobody wanted to buy something so small for 100 pounds." Because it was a hundred quid, which is about $130. And they were like, "Something that small for a hundred quid? No way." So nobody had bought that gizmo because it seemed expensive for something so small. How ridiculous. But of course, I grabbed it. I just got the money together somewhere. I can't remember how, because we were totally broke back then. But I got that. I walked out of that shop with that in my hand, the E-bow, and then I never looked back."

Then Stuart Adamson made it famous.

Are you talking about the guy from...oh that's the guy from Big Country?

Yeah, he used the E-bow to make his guitar sound like bagpipes.

I was actually thinking of OK Computer, Radiohead. If you listen to that, there's a lot of atmospheric sustained notes. It's some E-bow use there. Radiohead's guitarist used it all over OK Computer.

Jonny Greenwood?

No, not Hot Lips -- that's what I call Jonny -- it's Ed O'Brien, the one who does that cha-chung sound on "Creep." So all those atmospheric sounds that you hear on OK Computer, that sound nothing like a guitar, that's all the sustainer. An incredible haunting sound. That's how we used it. And again, I've been using that forever, the sustainer as well as the E-bow.

Last year Bauhaus put out a new song that you used the Exquisite Corpse Method to make. Any chance we might get a new song? Anything from Love and Rockets beyond this tour and these reissues?

At this time, no, this is it. I'm calling this tour The Last Blast. That's not the official title for it, but that's what I've nicknamed it in my head. I never saw this coming, never thought that we would be doing this until a few months ago when we got offered Cruel World. And it's all snowballed from there. So this is news to all three of us, actually. We didn't think we'd be doing this year at all. Also, it's so close to last year when the four of us were out, but we've been very pleasantly surprised with the enthusiasm from the public in general. The ticket sales are going really well. So we are very pleasantly surprised that it's taking off in effect.

You mentioned motorcycles a couple times. You are famously a motorcycle enthusiast, one of your singles from the self-titled album was "Motorcycle." How many do you own?

I own 21 Bikes.

Holy cow.

They're all on the road as well. And they're all really 100% working. It's my passion. I'm into bikes more than anything. Absolutely anything. I ride pretty much every day because I'm very fortunate to live where I live, and it doesn't get better than this for bike riding. So yeah, I've got 21 bikes and I'm always looking at other ones. It's funny, it's like every time I do a tour, I get a bike. So I must have done 21 tours since 2000 or whatever [laughs].

Is there a white whale out there that you want and have never gotten?

It never stops. There's always something else. I'm always on the lookout. I've fallen in love with Italian bikes for the last couple of years, whereas before it was always Harleys and Triumphs. But I'm really getting into the Italian stuff now. Ducati, MV Agusta and Aprilia are the ones that I have. They're incredible. I never used to understand the appeal of Ducati in the past, but now I totally get it. And the MV Agustas, they're just complete works of art. They're extremely expensive, but they are absolutely works of art. So you can just stare at them for hours. They're something else. And they're very elitist, that company. They just make a statement. They just say, "This is MV Agusta. We are in competition with no one. We make extremely expensive, beautiful motorcycles, and that's it." They don't care if you think they're too expensive or not. They're insane prices, but they are absolutely gorgeous. If you look them up, MV Agusta, you'll see what I mean. But also the Ducatis these days, not so much into the old ones, but the newer ones and the Aprilia, I think is extremely underrated. I managed to get ahold of one, first one I've ever owned, an Aprilia, and it's faultless. It's a 900 and it's absolutely faultless. Fantastic bike. But I could go on forever. I'm not going to, because I'll bore you.

Does your enthusiasm extend to motorcycle movies and stuff like that?

Well, there's a few classics. There's the obvious, Easy Rider, which I must have seen when I was starting, 12 or something, and is always brilliant, an absolute classic. But there's one actually that not many people have probably seen or heard about, Scorpio Rising. It's by Kenneth Anger, and basically there's no dialogue. It's all songs from when it was made, '50s and '60s. But it's got a hell of an atmosphere to it.

I know of it but have never seen it.

I've got a story behind that because on Fridays or Thursday nights after college at art school, when we were 18 years old, David and myself, we didn't know each other well back then, because we were in different classes from different years at art school, but we bumped into each other on Friday nights. They would play art films one night of the week in one of the rooms at art school after hours. And we were both sitting there and that came on, Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising. It's a very underground art film. It's funny how we were sitting next to each other when that actually came because we didn't know each other well. It's a weird connection that all these years later we're in the same band or bands plural. Another great one, which actually put Willem Dafoe on the map as an actor, is The Loveless, which is a must see. That's set in the 1950s, in America. And it's really worth watching.

Have you ever seen Electra Glide in Blue with Robert Blake?

Oh yeah, of course.That's another classic. I'd forgotten about that. Yeah, that, love it. Absolutely love it.

Very atmospheric, that one.

Well, you'll see, so are the other two, apart from Easy Riders, so are the other two I've just mentioned. They've got a very specific vibe to them.

Well that should do it. Oh, but speaking earlier of The Bubblemen, any chance we might see them at these upcoming shows?

We'll you'd have to ask them, but they usually do show up, one or three of them. You'll have to go and see.

Get Love and Rockets vinyl in the BV shop.

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