Published Feb 01, 2000It's said that one can never be too rich or too thin, but bandleader Luke Haines knows all about suffering the effects of being too British. A year after its initial release, Black Box Recorder's England Made Me is finally being unveiled in the colonies. Haines wonders if the band's poison-pen tribute to his home and native land will strike a sympathetic chord in North America.
"The Black Box Recorder record was so English it was very difficult to get it released in America," says Haines, who is well known for his band, the Auteurs, which has just released its fourth album, How I Learned To Love The Bootboys , in Europe. Haines says the record company has no plans to release the album in North America. "Likewise the Auteurs album is very English. I don't think the crossover would be that wide."
After working with a rotating cast to produce albums by the Auteurs and Baader Meinhof, a unflinching musical salute to international terrorism, Haines joined forces with Sarah Nixley and John Moore, a former member of Jesus and Mary Chain, to create Black Box Recorder.
While all of Haines' projects share a common theme - contempt for Britain's stifling middle class - each goes about its business in its own way. "They are quite different. Black Box Recorder has to run off a certain chemistry between the three of us. It's more of a group. With the Auteurs I pretty much run the thing."
While the Auteurs might buddy up with Steve Albini for a screaming guitar workouts, such as "Back With A Killer," Black Box Recorder's arrangements are quiet and more reflective. Sinister songs that add high gloss to lyrical examinations of single moms, wife-swapping, suicide and murder.
"I've sort of dug myself into a hole with all these things," says the man who attacks England with a grouchy passion and savage intellect. "The Auteurs and Black Box Recorder are currently my double pronged attack on the nation's psyche."