Cool Hand Luke Haines

I’m on a mission to write something for this blog at least once a week, so here’s an entry on one of my absolute favorite bands of all-time, the Auteurs. Fronted by Luke Haines, formerly of C86 pretenders the Servants, the Auteurs released four wonderful albums between 1993 and 1999. In addition, Luke also put out a more experimental album by his side project called Baader Meinhof, which also comes highly recommended. I can remember where I was when I first heard the Auteurs. I was living in Dublin — this would have been late ’92 — when I tuned into the Dave Fanning Show one evening. Dave was the indie of DJ of note in Ireland, their John Peel if you will. That evening he played the Auteurs debut single “Showgirl,” a fascinating gem with lyrics that seemed culled straight from a James Cain novel. The record floored me and I bought the debut album New Wave the day it was released. During this time the Auteurs were being lumped into a scene with groups such as Suede, Elastica, and Blur c. Modern Life is Rubbish; what would eventually become Britpop. Time has been kinder to the Auteurs than any of the other groups from that era, that scene. Most groups from that era made one ood album and flamed out. The Auteurs put out four stone classics.

The Auteurs also play a minor role in my new novel Heartworm, which mainly takes place in 1996. There’s a short chapter called “Cool Hand Luke Haines” where the protagonist (a music journalist) has an encounter with Luke while taking a stroll through Camden. The conversation they have is based in part on a real interview I conducted with Haines for my old fanzine Vendetta, as well as Luke’s tremendous memoir of the Britpop era Bad Vibes.

There’s a documentary about Haines that I’m desperate to see called Art Will Save The World, which hasn’t made it’s way to Netflix yet. Everyone I know in England and Ireland who has seen it, loves it. I’ll leave you with something from their 1996 album After Murder Park.


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