Berenyi has kindly offered to contribute some Lush reminiscences to
this website. In typical Miki fashion, her accounts are honest,
fair, eloquent, personal, humorous.
They are an essential part of Lush's history,
and just plain great reading!
On a personal note: virtually everyone I've
spoken with who knows Miki reports that she is
a kind, generous, intelligent, down-to-earth and very funny person. For the record
I must state here that, despite her strong denials, its all true!
then Remixing Split:
Mike, Scott, Alan, four
monkeys and a pinball machine
Many thanks to Neil I. for obtaining
Miki's permission to publish this story.
we had such a nightmare with Split... Mike Hedges was great
when we were at Rockfield recording the album, but he
insisted we mix the album at his studio which was in the
middle of nowhere (Domfront), France. This made huge
financial sense to him as he would not only get a producer
fee but also a studio fee (yes, I believe his reasons were
that cynical!) and it also meant that he was happily at home
with his family while we were cut off from everyone we knew
and totally isolated. There was absolutely nothing to do in
that place Ė no tv, no computer Ė a desolate little village
with a bakery and a tiny unwelcoming bar. Mike had one
pinball machine which Ė to be fair Ė was really excellent,
but the stingy bastard made us pay to use it! Mostly, our
days consisted of walking into town to change our money into
1 Franc pieces to use in the pinball machine. We must have
put £500 into that fucking machine!!!
These were isolated and panicky times Ė our manager went
awol, our Warners A&R man was going through a mid-lifer and
Ivo had decided to retire from 4AD. Cut off from our usual
network, we put our trust in Mike as the only person who Ė
at least Ė had been involved in the record all along. A real
mistake. By the time we got back to London the whole thing
sounded like shit and we were thoroughly depressed.
At this point, names got bandied around for someone to come
and rescue the sound of the record by remixing it.
Our manager, Howard Gough,
organised a meeting at a restaurant in Portobello. We met
with both Alan Moulder and Scott Litt. Howard was easily
dazzled by wealthy Americans and had basically already made
up his mind that we should work with Scott. His entire value
system by then revolved around success as a barometer rather
I have to admit that we were in such a sorry state after our
experience in France that we were barely communicative and
had lost any confidence in our own judgement. Anyway Ė Scott
seemed personable enough even if we couldnít relate to him
at all. Alan was instantly great Ė sympathetic and earnest
and sweet-natured and just a breath of reviving air. Howard
spent the entire meeting with Alan rubbishing UK indie music
(Alanís forte) while spouting on about how brilliant and
talented Scott Litt was.
We went in the studio with Scott. Despite our reticence,
Howard was so up the guyís arse he virtually told us that if
we were mad enough to pass over Scott when he was willing to
subordinate himself and do us this grand favour by even
LISTENING to our music, then our careers would be pretty
much over in America.
What followed were 2
demoralising days in probably the most expensive studio in
London. Scott pressed a few buttons on two tracks with
little or no feedback from us. We sat there like 4 monkeys
on a wall smiling tearfully and trying to muster some
enthusiasm. The whole charade probably cost us a small
fortune, but hey Ė Howard got to hang out with another rich
American and we got 2 tracks out of it that sounded like
Mike Hedges had mixed them in his sleep.
Then we went into the studio
with Alan. Just half a day in I wanted to hang from his
shoulders weeping with gratitude.
These photos from
Lush's time at Domfront
while Split was being mixed
were generously provided by Phil King.
(click on them for a high-res view)
...in the middle of nowhere, France
Mike Hedges' gloomy studio...
Ian Grimble and the Mixing Desk from Abbey Road
Chris playing pinball
Chris at Mixing Desk in the basement
Chris out by the pool, which was covered in
the winter by a silver tent
Chris in his bedroom
Boredom and Ulysses, in the
midst of mayhem
Lush on Tour page for
some amazing behind-the-scenes photos from the
well. Lollapalooza. Iím not sure I can actually remember that much
of it. I do remember having a really good time but I think I
actually acted like a complete moron for most of it. Traveling
around with that kind of circus almost requires that you act like a
retarded alcoholic drugged-up sex addict.
I think I started out with some books and
cassettes, thinking Ė I know! Iím on tour for 9 weeks. Iíll
do something constructive. Iíll finally get round to reading
Ulysses and... Iíll... Iíll learn Italian!
After about 3 days of
sobriety and application I think I was in danger of boring
myself to death.
Touring means essentially
spending an awful lot of time in transit with one defined
group of people, constantly waiting for something to happen.
Itís like being in a mobile prison, but in a fun way.
However, the knock-on effects are the same. It quickly
becomes obvious that the time passes much quicker if you are
drunk/stoned/pursuing the opposite sex (ie, being
distracted). This is why people in bands generally become
drunks and drug-addicts who will fuck anything in the room.
To a greater or lesser extent.
I donít for a minute want to
claim that we as a band indulged ourselves in an orgy of
excess but Ė well Ė thereís a real canít-beat-em-join-em
aspect to touring and it takes a very strong person to stand
in the midst of the mayhem and not even dip a toe.
Probably thatís ok, so long
as you can then go home and pretend it never happened!
Rants, egos, sexism and Play
||Original line-up of Meriel
on vocals, Emma on guitar, me on guitar and backing vocals,
Steve on bass and Chris on drums
Brixton - Canterbury Arms
Jesse Garon and
just a vocal PA. One of the members of Jesse Garon was a
Sounds journalist who never forgave us for becoming
successful. To be fair, we were probably fucking awful at
this gig, but he never changed his opinion about us and
relished slagging us off in print at every opportunity!
Horsehead were a loud, heavy throaty-shouting band who were
later to call themselves God (no ego there, then). I
remember their singer, who always wore an overcoat and
sported a mullet, never failed to tackle me at gigs to rant
on about how shit Lush were. He took our success as a
personal insult and I actually felt rather apologetic
towards him, despite having to listen to his barrage of
invective, as he was clearly traumatised by it all. Feelings
ran high in those days but, honestly, what really made these
boys so vicious was pure, unadulterated sexism. To be
outdone was one thing Ė but to be outdone by a GIRL!!!
Ealing - College of Higher Education
|Emma was doing her
Humanities degree at this college and got us the gig. There
was another band (I think we supported), but Iím afraid I
canít remember their name. What I do remember was that the
saxophone player was a bloke called Fred Harris (look him up
on Wiki) who we all recognized from our childhood as a
presenter on Play School Ė a UK tv show for pre-schoolers.
We were genuinely impressed by this brush with fame.
1988-Jun-25 to 1988-Jul-22
I think itís around this time
that I had to leave The Bugs (who I
played bass for). Iíd already missed one Lush gig because of
a clash of dates - my then boyfriend, John Rowland, filled
in for me on that occasion. (He later became a member of
Billy Childishís band Thee Headcoats, as Johnny Johnson.)
Anyway, I had to make a choice so I left The Bugs. (Iím
afraid I canít recall when or where that Miki-free gig was)
circa 1988-Jul-22 to 1988-Oct-09
||Iíve got a
feeling that it was around this time that Meriel left but I
really canít be sure.
Camden - The Falcon
The Sun Carriage
would often share equipment in those days - not so much
guitar stuff, but the bass amp and the drum kit (etiquette
dictated that you bring your own sticks, cymbals, hi-hat and
bass-drum pedal). Unless you were playing a big venue,
swapping over the whole backline was a bit over the top and
in those days most musicians were either unemployed or
students (ie broke), so the more you could pool resources,
the better. We didnít have a van, just a mate with an estate
car (couldnít get all the gear in!), so weíd turned up at
The Falcon with no drums and asked the Sun Carriage if it
was ok to use their kit (it had never been a problem at any
of our other gigs), but their drummer flatly refused. He
gave us this great long lecture on how unprofessional we
were and heíd never heard of any band sharing their
equipment, but what I really remember is that he had this
slightly wanky but very brand new expensive leather jacket
on and it was like we were smelly and poor and he was this
rich bastard! In the end we managed to get Colm from My
Bloody Valentine to get his drums over to us so we could
play the gig Ė lucky he only lived up the road!
Glasgow - QMC
We were on the bill, but we didnít play!
There was a power cut or something Ė maybe the PA blew up?!
Anyway, after battling through ice and snow to make it to
the gig, only Loop played. They did an instrumental set with
just amps turned up full, which went down really well,
particularly because everyone appreciated their refusal to
give in to bad luck. The bloke from Jesse Garon who I
mentioned before reviewed the gig for Sounds, and managed to
crucify us in print. I think he said something about
Scotland rightfully closing its borders to Lush. We always
referred to this review as proof of the loathing we
generated Ė quite an achievement to get a bad review even
when we didnít actually play.
tuned for more!