Bad Vibes is deliciously bitter, and reads like a prophecy, for everything he derides about Britpop still blights music today.
Haines has constructed a vivid literary persona for himself as the great, grumpy Nearly Man of 1990s rock.
Haines is as funny as he is grumpy… The formless, unpredictable life of the minor rock musician, forever jetting about on unspecified “promotional” duties or being loaded on to a tour-bus like cargo rather than talent, has rarely been captured so acutely… Bad Vibes, good book
BAD VIBES is the blackly comic memoir of Luke Haines, founder member and acclaimed singer songwriter of the Auteurs, Baader Meinhof and Black Box Recorder and a legendary figure in the music world where he is variously heralded as the pioneer, the godfather or the forgotten man of Britpop.
In BAD VIBES he remembers the early years of non-recognition: living on the dole and taking his kit on a tractortailor to the empty concert halls to the sold-out tours, rivalries with contemporaries such as Suede and Blur, losing the 1993 Mercury Prize award by one vote (and the resultant spell in A&E in the dark hours of the following morning) the fights, the sackings, the press and of course the drugs. Haines has lived it all. Some of the most famous names in the music industry of the 80s and 90s – Alan McGee, Bobby Gillespie, The Go-Betweens, Suede, Sting, St Etienne, New Order, Elastica, Blur, Boo Radleys, The Verve, Oasis, Jarvis Cocker and Pulp, Kurt Cobain, Payul, McCartney, Iggy Pop, Steve Albini and Metallica – appear anecdotally. In the book and Haines is never anything less than acute, observant and witty about his contemporaries.
BAD VIBES takes an even darker turn when Haines throws himself from a wall in Spain, an incident, which leaves him in a wheelchair for six months. Although it inspires him to do some of his finest work, the commercial failure of After Murder Park and Baader Meinhoff prompt his to embark on a surreal period of self-administered medical procedures. The final chapter of the book takes place when Haines, now fully restored, returns from self-imposed exile with a new band Black Box Recorder. They begin recording their new album England Made Me on the same day that New Labour comes into power. The book ends in August of that year with two deaths: those of Diana, Princess of Wales and Britpop.
Luke Haines was born in 1967 in Walton-on Thames. After a brief spell with Creation band The Servants in the late 1980s, he formed the Auteurs. Their debut album, New Wave, was a major influence on what was laughably called Britpop. It was also short-listed for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Since then Luke has released many critically-acclaimed albums as the Auteurs, under his own name and with the popular Black Box Recorder group. He has even released a revered concept album about ‘70s terrorism called Baader Meinhof. Surprisingly, he has appeared on BBC1’s Top Of The Pops.