"We did a demo tape, sent them out, got quite a bit of interest from various indies-- God knows why, we were so f***ing awful. Majors came down to our gigs and left after two minutes. Then we send Robin (Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins) a tape and eventually one reached 4AD. They took quite a while to decide about us, because at 4AD they like everyone to be into a band. And Howard Gough who worked for them then, said 'This is the worst band I've ever seen. If you sign them I'm leaving the label.' "Finally, after a few gigs, he grudgingly admitted that we'd 'Got a bit better' and then we were signed. Howard f***ing manages us now" (Miki Berenyi - Melody Maker, July 24, 1993).
Such is the beginning of Lush. After recording a demo tape which was sent around to various clubs to get gigs (see #C14), they ended up parting ways with then lead-singer Meriel Barnham (lately of the Pale Saints). Miki took over singing duties and a second demo was done (the one Miki mentions above) to be sent to record companies (see #B1). This eventually led to them being signed by 4AD and the recording of their first e.p., Scar. More records and heavy touring followed, highlights including opening for the Cure's Crystal Palace show in the summer of 1990, the opening slot at Glastonbury '90, opening for the Sisters of Mercy and gigging with Ride on their first major American tour in the fall of 1990, Glastonbury '92 (from which #B9 is taken) and Lollapalooza '92.
Miki and Emma are the band's main songwriters, having been childhood friends since they were 14. (In their youth, they did a 'Zine of sorts called Alphabet Soup. According to Emma: "it was just lavatory teenage humour, and it's never seen the light of day, thank God!") Miki met Chris and Steve at London Polytechnic, and the band came together in Camden, a suburb in north London in late 1988. (Lush were later identified by the English music press as being members of the "Scene which Celebrates Itself" that came out of Camden.) They were originally, in the grand English music press fashion, greatly hyped and then ritually trashed. In a Feb 17 1990 interview in Melody Maker, Emma reports that they were the "Most hated band in London." This is probably due to a perceived mismatch between their talent and their publicity. But, with the release of Split, people began to realize that Lush are here to stay and are far from being a trendy flash-in-the-pan.
Following a great deal of touring in support of the rather poorly promoted Split, they took a well deserved holiday. In early 1996, they released Lovelife and associated singles. This album continued on the path foreshadowed in Split: up-front, discernable vocals and songs about all aspects of romantic relationships, from life as a single girl, to petty post-breakup disputes, to older men exploiting girls.
Other Lush Facts of Occasional Interest: Before they were Lush, they called themselves "The Baby Machine". Emma has a bachelor's degree in art history. Miki and Chris are massive fans of the Tottenham 'Spurs, a local football club (This fandom led to their association with the Lillies, see #D8). Miki's mother is Japanese and her father, Hungarian. Miki "appeared" in the James Bond film, Dr. No (her mother played a non-talking part-- a Japanese woman giving Sean Connery a massage-- while pregnant with Miki.) Phil King is a former NME photographer and associate editor, who has played bass and guitar with The Servants, Felt, Biff Bang Pow!, Apple Boutique, and See See Rider.