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Luke Haines

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Origin  England
Labels  Degenerate
Occupation(s)  Singer-songwriter
Name  Luke Haines
Years active  1985–present

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Born  7 October 1967 (age 48) Walton-on-Thames, England (1967-10-07)
Genres  Alternative rock, electronica
Role  Musician ·
Music groups  The Auteurs, Black box Recorder (Since 1998)
Albums  New York in the '70s, Das Capital, Baader Meinhof, The North Sea Scrolls, Luke Haines Is Dead

Instruments  Guitar, piano/keyboard
Education  London College of Music

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Luke Michael Haines (born 7 October 1967) is an English musician, songwriter and author, who has recorded music under various names and with various bands, including The Auteurs, Baader Meinhof and Black Box Recorder.


Luke Haines The Quietus News Luke Haines Announces New Album

New Wave

Luke Haines The Quietus Features Baker39s Dozen quotRock amp Roll Has

Haines formed numerous bands when he was at school. At college he joined The Servants who recorded two commercially unsuccessful albums. It was only when Haines formed The Auteurs with his girlfriend Alice Readman (who had also been drafted into The Servants from time to time) and Glenn Collins in 1991 that he began to achieve some success.

Luke Haines BBC 6 Music Nemone Most Played Luke Haines

Regular gigging in the London area and an NME-sponsored gig brought them to the attention of Hut Records. They released their first single, "Showgirl" in 1993, and their debut album New Wave a month later. Haines was later to claim that this was the album that started Britpop, though he later showed disdain towards the movement, stating in a 2003 interview that Britpop consisted of "a bunch of bands who weren't good enough to exist in their own right, like music's equivalent of the Bloomsbury Group." Certainly it was ahead of its time in turning back from the acid house then popular to more traditional songwriting in the vein of The Kinks or The Small Faces. It is arguable that more commercially successful bands (such as Suede) owed much to Haines' vision. In any case, the album sold only 12,000 copies but was nominated for a Mercury Prize although the eventual winners were Suede

A brush with fame

Luke Haines The Fall Of The Outsider Luke Haines Features Clash

Their second album, Now I'm a Cowboy (1994) featured "Lenny Valentino" one of their most famous songs. By now the band were touring Europe and the States regularly, and were gaining a reputation as one of the best new British bands.

However, just as the band looked like achieved mainstream success (as other British bands, such as Oasis and Blur were then doing), Haines broke both of his ankles, resulting in the cancellation of much of their 1994 European tour. At the time he claimed "I jumped off a fifteen-foot wall (while) touring, ... to finish the tour and get the insurance" but later, in the sleeve notes to Das Capital, he denied that it was deliberate, writing "I merely drank too much wine and fell over. It happens." In a wheel chair for most of 1995, Haines wrote the very different songs that would end up becoming the Auteurs' third album, After Murder Park. Even bleaker and more introspective than previous Auteurs albums, this was just as English as his previous work but now showed very different influences: the downbeat folk of Richard Thompson, the aggression of My Bloody Valentine, the pared down experimentalism of Wire, and the caustic lyrics of The Fall. It was produced by Steve Albini and recorded at Abbey Road studios in North London.

After After Murder Park

The Auteurs recorded a session for John Peel on 20 February 1996.

At this point, Haines created a solo side project called Baader-Meinhof. Haines released one eponymous album under this moniker in 1996, which is named after the Baader Meinhof terrorist group. The sound was similar to that of The Auteurs, but more sparsely produced and with elements of funk and electronica, with lyrics, typically for the ever-contrary Haines, about terrorism.

After this, Haines disbanded the Auteurs, only to bring them back together again for their fourth album How I Learned to Love the Bootboys. This sounds like an amalgamation of Haines' previous styles: it is electronic, but has the same concern for pop hooks as his first two albums: on the other hand, the lyrics are brooding and obsessive, in a similar way to those on After Murder Park. From this point on, The Auteurs became merely a name for whatever musicians Haines chose to bring together for specific projects.

Black Box Recorder

After this album Haines created another side project with John Moore (formerly of The Jesus and Mary Chain) and Sarah Nixey: Black Box Recorder. The band produced three commercially successful albums, England Made Me, The Facts of Life, and Passionoia. There is also a B-sides collection, The Worst of Black Box Recorder. The Facts of Life produced the eponymous single, which has been the biggest hit of Haines' career so far.

Although no official split announcement was made, the band was on hiatus during the mid-2000s.

Going solo

Haines has branched into film music, writing the music for Christie Malry's Own Double Entry, a British film based on the novel by B.S. Johnson. Director Paul Tickell had originally expressed a wish to license How I Learned to Love the Bootboys as the Soundtrack for the film but couldnt afford the sync rights from Virgin Records which allowed Luke to write a soundtrack more tailored for the film. Unfortunately reception for the film was lacklustre as a result of the film being released post-Twin Towers attack in America, as Luke put it "Back in 2000, this celluloidal genocide just seemed like logical fictitious denouement to a film about a deranged, avenging angel, but in the heightened state of paranoia of the post Twin Towers world, it seems less far-fetched. The upshot of all this is that no distributors will go anywhere [the film]".

He has also produced a solo album under his own name, The Oliver Twist Manifesto. After the purchase of Virgin Records by French company Fnac, Hut Records' (The Auteur's erstwhile label) boss David Boyd decided before the dissolution of the company he built that Luke should do The Auteurs 'Best of' album ' but gave him a budget to re-record the songs as he saw fit. Luke speculated in his book Post Everything that this was partly as a thanks to Luke but primarily a parting shot at Fnac for dissolving the company he'd built up for over ten years. Das Capital: The Song Writing Genius of Luke Haines (sic) consisted mostly of Auteurs songs rerecorded by Luke most notably with the inclusion of a string quartet and a couple of new original songs thrown in.

In 2001 Haines called for a "National Pop Strike".

A box set covering his career to date, Luke Haines is Dead, was issued in 2005, and two new albums were expected in 2006: 'Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop', and the soundtrack to the abandoned musical 'Property', which like his Black Box Recorder work, also features Sarah Nixey.

Cherry Red Records released a "Best of The Servants" compilation, with sleeve notes by Haines, early in 2006.

New album Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop was released in October 2006. Haines worked with maverick pop producer Richard X (Sugababes, Liberty X, Rachel Stevens) on some tracks. The album was preceded by a double A-sided single 'Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop (Richard X version) b/w I Am The Best Artist/Skinny White Girls.' There is currently no news on a release date for the 'Property' soundtrack.

Haines toured the UK and Ireland during November 2006. John Moore guested on bowed saw and backing vocals at some gigs. On 16 November 2006, Haines played a live session for BBC Radio 6 Music's Gideon Coe show. On 13 December 2006, Haines played a live session (three songs) for BBC Radio 2's Janice Long show. During an interview on the same show Haines said that he may play some gigs in early 2007 in support of a E.P. release of Leeds United.

Haines has played at book signings for David Peace who was promoting The Damned United, a book on Brian Clough's brief tenure at Leeds United in the 1970s. Leeds United relates to this, and with the reference to the Yorkshire Ripper, to Peace's earlier Yorkshire/Red Riding Quartet. The refrain "The North! The North!" advances on the earlier Auteurs track The South Will Rise Again, itself a response to The N.W.R.A. by The Fall. The phrase "The North! The North! Where we do what we want! The North! The North! Where we do what we like" is also a quote from a character in the Red Riding Quartet.

In issue four of the comic book Phonogram, Haines appears as a spirit guide leading the main character through a metaphorical land representing Britpop.

Black Box Recorder reformation

In December 2007, Black Box Recorder teamed up with Art Brut to create the single Christmas Number One under the collaborative title of The Black Arts.

In October 2008 Black Box Recorder appeared at the Nick Sanderson (Earl Brutus) tribute concert.

It was subsequently announced on Luke Haines' web site that the band would play their first headlining gig for five years at The Luminaire, Kilburn, London in February 2009.


Haines' memoir Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in Its Downfall was published on 1 January 2009 by William Heinemann Ltd. The book covers Haines' experiences during the Britpop era 1991 to 1997.

In May 2009 a novel about Haines by author Tim Mitchell Truth and Lies in Murder Park: a book about Mr Luke Haines was published by benben press. The book includes material based on interviews with Luke, and explores the themes of his music.

Post Everything: Outsider Rock and Roll, Haines' second book of memoirs, was published in July 2011 by William Heinemann Ltd.


A documentary on Luke Haines by Irish director Niall McCann, called Art Will Save the World, premiered at the East End film festival in Dalston on 6 July 2012. It was also shown at the Barcelona, Copenhagen and Cork film festivals. It featured interviews with Jarvis Cocker, John Niven, David Peace and Stewart Home along with extensive interviews with Haines.

Solo albums

  • The Oliver Twist Manifesto, 2001
  • Das Capital, 2003
  • Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop, 2006
  • 21st Century Man/Achtung Mutha, 2009
  • Outsider Music (Vols 1-50), 2010
  • 9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s & Early '80s, 2011
  • Rock and Roll Animals, 2013
  • New York in the '70s, 2014
  • Raving (Vols 1-75), 2015
  • Adventures In Dementia 2015
  • British Nuclear Bunkers 2015
  • Smash the System 2016
  • Freqs 2016
  • Soundtracks

  • Christie Malry's Own Double Entry OST, 2001
  • Singles and EPs

  • "Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop", 2006
  • Leeds United EP, 2007
  • "Love Letter To London", 2010
  • "Rock N Roll Animals", 2013
  • "Gene Vincent (Rock n Roll Mums and Rock n Roll Dads)", 2013
  • "Lou Reed, Lou Reed", 2014
  • Compilation

  • Luke Haines Is Dead, 2005
  • The State Funeral of Winston Churchill (unreleased), 2005 (Luke Haines)
  • Outsider/In: The Collection, 2012
  • Luke Haines is Alive and Well and Living in Buenos Aires (Heavy, Frenz - The Solo Anthology 2001-2017), 2017
  • The Auteurs

  • New Wave, 1993
  • Now I'm a Cowboy, 1994
  • After Murder Park, 1996
  • How I Learned to Love the Bootboys, 1999
  • Black Box Recorder

  • England Made Me, 1999
  • The Facts of Life, 2000
  • The Worst of Black Box Recorder, 2001
  • Passionoia, 2003
  • Baader Meinhof

  • Baader Meinhof, 1996
  • Collaborations

  • The North Sea Scrolls, 2012 (Luke Haines, Cathal Coughlan, Andrew Meuller)
  • "Christmas Number One", 2007 (The Black Arts – collaboration between Black Box Recorder and Art Brut)
  • References

    Luke Haines Wikipedia