This is where things start to get just a bit messy when it comes to getting these releases in the right order in terms of chronology…I’m going by the info contained in one of my go-to-books, namely ‘The Great Indie Discography’, written by Martin Strong, published in 2003, and consisting of more than 1,000 pages. It’s slightly at variance with how Luke Haines lays things out in Bad Vibes, but that may well be down to him keeping the narrative flowing in terms of music rather than jumping back and forth.
So….Chinese Bakery had stalled at #42 in April 1994 while the album Now I’m A Cowboy released the following month, reached #27, which was higher than had been achieved by New Wave but was a sore one for Luke Haines given the success being enjoyed by many other acts whom he regarded as second-rate.
Last week focussed on one of his responses, in the shape of the The Auteurs vs. μ-Ziq EP. The release of that EP coincided with a period in which he was incapacitated – both ankles badly broken and the right heel smashed to smithereens, sustained after he jumped down off a 15-foot wall onto concrete after a gig in San Sebastian in northern Spain. His defence was that he had gone slighly crazy mid-tour and had decided to make the jump on the basis that if he landed unscathed, the tour, which was still to go Italy, France and Japan, would continue…and that he thought he would landing on soft sand.
It was April 1995 before he was in any sort of shape to return to the studio, where he took the songs he had been writing while recuperating and teamed up with Steve Albini, the producer best known from his work with Nirvana, It took just 13 days to finish work on the new album, which was given the title After Murder Park, and it was presented to the record label in May 1995. For one reason after another, its release is consistently delayed and it doesn’t see light of day until 1 March 1996. But that’s a story for another day.
Not long after finishing work with Albini, The Auteurs return to the studio and begin work on some new songs that would, as it turns out, see the light of day as an EP before the next album is released. But that too is another story for another day….(and I’m delighted to say that chaval will be the one to tell that story)
The next physical release to feature Luke Haines proves to be a 7″ single in which neither his nor his band’s name actually features. It came about because Luke Haines and his great mate Phil Vinall, who had produced the first two albums by The Auteurs, were bored and restless, and over a weekend they went into a studio to have a bit of fun, trying to match music to a lyric or two that Haines had pulled together about his latest fascination, a left-wing terrorist gang that had become famous/infamous in the 1970s.
The results were presented to his manager, who dismissed it as being uncommercial. They went next to David Boyd, the boss of Hut Records who had long regarded Haines as a maverick genius. His response on hearing it was to give the green light for a 7″ single release, just a few weeks in advance of the new EP by The Auteurs, and at the same time signal his support for the concept to be worked up into a full album.
Luke Haines is ecstatic:-
To nobody’s surprise, the single doesn’t do anything much in the way of sales, but the unusual marketing campaign, which consisted of sending journalists a copy of the single along with a photocopy of a page from a booklet that described in detail how best to construct a nail bomb, did get column inches….the music press knew exactly who was behind the stunt…