It takes chutzpah to record an entire album of songs dedicated to the women you have loved — and to include in it a song to your wife of three decades.
But David J evidently has a lot of chutzpah.
The founding member and bassist from the band Bauhaus and Love and Rockets has done just that on his new album An Eclipse of Ships.
“Each album is a new incarnation,” he says. “This one is about my affection for females, women. It’s flirting with flirtation. It’s absolutely an homage. Most of the songs are about a specific person. Each one was a muse and collectively they all go together in this ‘harem.’ It’s a polyamorous song cycle.”
All the women behind the songs are more than friends, he says. “Some lasted two days and one has lasted since 1976. That’s my wife and her name is Annie. The song The You of Yesteryear is for her.”
But that prompts the question; how does Annie feel about all the other women? “She is a very understanding lady. We have a civilized and mature relationship. Some women are a lot more understanding than others and I’m very fortunate to count my wife in that category.”
David John Haskins has always gone his own way. Born in 1957 in Northampton, Eng., he was always interested in playing music for a living and had been in some high school bands.
But when he was about to head to university, he met with a career adviser. “I said ‘I want to be a musician,’ I wanted to be on Top of the Pops. He replied: ‘Oh, OK, another one, we’d better send him to art school.’ That’s what happened and I was very happy to go.”
At art school he eventually studied graphic design. When he graduated he went looking for work and that’s how he met Annie.
“I was just out of art school and I was 19 and I went for a job as a graphic designer and she was the PA to the boss. I got the job and I got the girl.”
Next he got the music. It really clicked for him when punk happened. “I went to see the Sex Pistols and the Clash. It’s the classic story. I went with my brother Kevin and afterwards we said ‘OK, we’re forming a band — like now.’ We played a gig a couple of weeks later the band was called The Submerged Tent. We played three gigs in all and they literally pulled the plugs on us in the last one.”
But they didn’t give up. In late 1978, he and Kevin hooked up with Daniel Ash and Peter Murphy to form the band Bauhaus. It lasted until 1983 with reunions in 1998 and in 2005. Their sound was a bit dark and as a result Bauhaus was considered the first gothic rock group.
Looking back David J says Bauhaus was “only tentatively in the goth scene even when we were seen as the epitome of goth. We always saw ourselves as somewhere outside of that. Those bands are no longer extent and I really think they will never play again.” However David J has written a memoir about Bauhaus which will be out in October.
After Bauhaus, David J, Ash and Kevin moved to Love and Rockets. They came up with a more alternative sound and lasted until 1999.
These days David J is feeling an uptick in the career. He enjoyed a pretty successful appearance at the South by Southwest festival and is now touring, clubs mostly — he likes the intimacy. In Ottawa, he’ll play Zaphod Beeblebrox.
“I have two bands, one is much more acoustic and was featured on the album. The band coming to Ottawa, called The Gentlemen Thieves — is more rock and roll.
They will play a few songs from the new album but also quite a lot of Love and Rockets songs and one from the Bauhaus era and some songs from old solo records, he says.
David J says he loves Canada because this country produced the first gold record for Love and Rockets.
However, the one person who won’t be coming with David to Ottawa is Annie.
“She doesn’t travel, she knows better than that. She’s very wise.”