Indie rocker Luke Haines fondly recalls seeing The Smiths in concert

In this interview, singer-songwriter Luke Haines, founder of British indie bands The Auteurs and Black Box Recorder, discusses the early days of Britpop and touring with Suede. He compares audience reactions at early gigs with what he witnessed himself as a young rock fan seeing The Smiths play live early in their career. The mention is brief but enthusiastic; he refers to The Smiths as a non-manufactured group who were "a really good band who were fantastic live; blowing the kids' minds..."

If you're a fan, the whole interview is interesting. The Smiths bit is at 13:50 - 14:45.

 
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King Leer

Leering since '97
Didn't Haines slag of Morrissey (solo) on more than one occasion in the 90s?
Always felt that, as a singer who payed great attention to lyrics and making songs that stood the test of time, he was incredibly jealous of Moz.
It may sound superficial, but the reason he and the Auteurs were never bigger in pop was that Haines looked like a bassist not a front man.
 
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Skylarker

Guest
Didn't Haines slag of Morrissey (solo) on more than one occasion in the 90s?
Always felt that, as a singer who payed great attention to lyrics and making songs that stood the test of time, he was incredibly jealous of Moz.
It may sound superficial, but the reason he and the Auteurs were never bigger in pop was that Haines looked like a bassist not a front man.
He never slagged off Morrissey per se, at least not that I recall. It's possible though; he's slagged off a lot of people. The only negative thing I remember him saying in Morrissey's direction is that when asked if he was a Morrissey fan he sort of dodged the question and said he wasn't a part of the Morrissey Greek Choir. :lbf: But that was more a potshot at the fans than at Morrissey himself. Since he is only a few years younger than Morrissey and was clearly in awe of The Smiths in 1984; I'm sure he is at least to some degree a fan...at least of the Smiths era.

At any rate this comment of his is in praise of The Smiths as a band; not really of Morrissey as a guy.

The Auteurs weren't bigger because they were too weird and too clearly disinterested in the pop climate. Their music was generally very upbeat and tuneful but Haines's lyrics and subject matter weren't exactly for the masses (Light Aircraft On Fire, Baader Meinhof, Unsolved Child Murder, etc.). In the culture of Britpop where Oasis was the number one rock band, The Auteurs didn't stand much of a chance. And let's face it, Haines' voice is not exactly radio-friendly, nor was he -as you noted- a good looking frontman and sadly these things do count when selling records and music magazines.

As much as I love Blur, they'd have been nowhere as big if Damon wasn't a pin-up. The Auteurs, musically and lyrically, could eat Blur, Suede, and Gene for breakfast...and I say that as a big fan of all those groups.
 

King Leer

Leering since '97
Interesting overview.
I may be telescoping Haines' offhanded Britpop-era comments into something more negative than they were -- but somehow it sticks out.
I'd like to go back and check out some of the Auteurs songs again with the benefit of a lot of distance.

Nor was he -as you noted- a good looking frontman and sadly these things do count when selling records and music magazines."
As Jagger once said "An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance". I think it's sad when there's no substance in the music to back it up, but there's nothing quite as powerful as a talented frontman that women (and, sure, men) want to sleep with but perhaps most importantly, men want to be. Morrissey had that plus the phenomenon on the on-stage hugging.
Huge Blur and Suede (and Pulp) fan myself. I always found Blur's extremely photogenic "pin-up" qualities at odds with their musical ambition and thematic interests but that was interesting in itself. Teenage Fanclub, The Boo Radleys (not just bad hair, but no hair), The Lightning Seeds (Pure!) and The La's all achieved an equal level of pop brilliance, but they could never have been as big as a Blur due to lack of looks. The Bluetones and Shed Seven had no more talent than those bands but had a touch more visual appeal. On rare occasions, the talent is just too huge for looks to be any barrier to success (cf Simon & Garfunkel).

He never slagged off Morrissey per se, at least not that I recall. It's possible though; he's slagged off a lot of people. The only negative thing I remember him saying in Morrissey's direction is that when asked if he was a Morrissey fan he sort of dodged the question and said he wasn't a part of the Morrissey Greek Choir. :lbf: But that was more a potshot at the fans than at Morrissey himself. Since he is only a few years younger than Morrissey and was clearly in awe of The Smiths in 1984; I'm sure he is at least to some degree a fan...at least of the Smiths era.

At any rate this comment of his is in praise of The Smiths as a band; not really of Morrissey as a guy.

The Auteurs weren't bigger because they were too weird and too clearly disinterested in the pop climate. Their music was generally very upbeat and tuneful but Haines's lyrics and subject matter weren't exactly for the masses (Light Aircraft On Fire, Baader Meinhof, Unsolved Child Murder, etc.). In the culture of Britpop where Oasis was the number one rock band, The Auteurs didn't stand much of a chance. And let's face it, Haines' voice is not exactly radio-friendly, nor was he -as you noted- a good looking frontman and sadly these things do count when selling records and music magazines.

As much as I love Blur, they'd have been nowhere as big if Damon wasn't a pin-up. The Auteurs, musically and lyrically, could eat Blur, Suede, and Gene for breakfast...and I say that as a big fan of all those groups.
 
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Bluebirds

Well-Known Member
I'd recommend Luke Haines "autobiography" Bad Vibes: Britpop and my part in its downfall if you haven't read it. The story about Chris Evans and TFI Friday probably indicates why Haines has never sold records in bucketloads
 
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Skylarker

Guest
I'd recommend Luke Haines "autobiography" Bad Vibes: Britpop and my part in its downfall if you haven't read it. The story about Chris Evans and TFI Friday probably indicates why Haines has never sold records in bucketloads
Great book; a very interesting read and extremely funny too.

"I like the way Nick Cave has developed as a middle-aged artist as opposed to Morrissey who hasn't." Luke Haines, 2009

"Unlike you, I’m not familiar with Morrissey’s solo career." Luke Haines, 2011

And here he is reviewing the singles, including Mozzer's 'Boy Racer' : http://selectmagazinescans.monkeon.co.uk/showpage.php?file=wp-content/uploads/2012/03/lukehaines.jpg
God I love Luke Haines.
 

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