Wednesday, October 1

Anniversary - Version Two

Depending on which version of the story you ascribe to (1987 vs. 1988)... it was 20 years ago this month.

Step back to October 1988. A date of some note as the leaves fall through the swirls of cooling breezes.

Only a few short months have passed. It was about a year ago in amongst the taverns, gig joints and college halls where an idea took root, sprouted and blossomed so that a new band was born. A friend of one member came up with a name for the new band, therefore adopted was the title: "Lush."

Bet you could never have guessed what I was talking about all along, could you?

The new band made up of college chums Emma, Miki and Chris with another recruit, Meriel, as the vocalist practice away in Miki's bedroom. They practice for months. 1987 becomes 1988. Practice continues. Only, there was something missing.

Steve, the founding bassist:
"I was sitting in the college canteen one day, and they sidled up to me, really embarrassed. They said can you play bass? I said, no. They said, great, can you learn in six weeks?

"I went down to an audition at this place behind the Holloway Road,' he continues. 'They were possibly the worst group I'd ever seen in my life. It was an absolute cacophony. The songs were really simple and had titles like 'Female Hybrid', 'See-Saw' and 'He's A Bastard'. I thought, yeah, I can play bass to this."

The urgency to recruit Steve was due to an impending gig at the Camden Falcon on 6th March 1988!

Now, let me stop and clarify where I'm heading with this. There are quotable dates a'plenty to back up a 1987 formation for the band. The 1988 birthdate has been come into play due in part to confusion, and part ignorance by journalists. So now lets pick up from that first gig - after they began playing dates and recorded the now-famous 4-track demo. It's at this time a turning point occurred. That's when Meriel Barnham left the band. It's October. And now Lush needed to audition for new lead vocalist.

Lets roll some of that footage from the John Wiederhorn interview, please:
"...We've had bad experiences with them in the past," says Berenyi.

The experiences she's referring to occurred in October of 1988. Less than a year into the band's career. After the departure of former vocalist Meriel Barham (now with Pale Saints). "It was so awful. We auditioned like 30 people and it was a complete nightmare. Either they couldn't sing at all, or else they were really strange... That's when everybody decided I would have to sing."

So Miki moved up to fill the vacancy in addition to her guitarist role. And Lush v.2, the band as the public knows it was birthed. Anyway, that's my take on it. But it doesn't really matter anyway, does it? Unless you're someone like me who's trying to get all his facts straight before posting what was to be a short blurb to the web.

So give or take a year regardless, the band had quite a bit of work that lay ahead yet before they'd begin to temper into the musicians their growing followers knew and loved. Lush were still young, not too terribly experienced for the most part and at times intimidated. Chris on his drums was the old-timer here, and his abilities had much to do with boosting their sound up to the next level, perhaps their confidence too. They persevered through the adversity, stayed focused and the idea grew into something alive and real.

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