Suede: RIP?

Taylor Parkes, Simon Price & Caitlin Moran

30 July 1994

Melody Maker

Publication:

Date:

Writer

Submitted by: Inge Klinkers

Page 5


SUEDE: WE WILL SURVIVE


SUEDE are looking for a new guitarist, following the departure of Bernard Butler. And they are still on courserelease their eagerly awaited second album in October, with a tour to support it.

A statement issued this week on the group's behalf states: "Suede have not split up and have no intention of doing so. However, Suede and their guitarist Bernard Butler parted company earlier this month while completing work on the band's second album at Master Rock Studios in Kilburn, north London."

Suede's press officers refused to make any further comment on the split, or to answer specific questions about the immediate plans of both Butler and the rest of Suede.

The press office had originally planned to issue statements by both parties, but this idea was eventually rejected in favour of the mutually agreed two sentences above.

A source close to Suede told The Maker this week: “They are mixing the album. It's definitely coming out in October.

"They're looking for a new guitarist, and they've already placed a box advertisement in Melody Maker.

"Bernard is working on other projects. I don't know what they are, and I don't know if there's any truth in the rumour that he's doing something with Julianne Regan."

The Maker has heard this rumour from several sources. It's known that Butler and Regan were in company together at The Charlatans' after-show party at the London Shepherd's Bush Empire at the beginning of June.

Meanwhile, MTV's teletext service has broadcast an item in which a Suede spokesman denied that the split was due to personal differences between Bernard and Brett Anderson.

However, close sources continue to insist that the split was very much to do with personal problems.

A friend of Butler's told The Maker: 'Things have been quite fraught since the Vox article was published."

As we reported last week, Butler gave an interview published in the July issue of Vox in which he criticised Anderson's "f***ing slow" work rate, said he was "desperate to do things outside of Suede" and promised, "I'm going to do far more. Just you watch me."

Butler's friend added: "After he'd done the Vox interview, he started getting worried that he might have said too much. He phoned his press officer and said, 'I think I said some things about Brett that I shouldn't have said.'"

The press office was unable to confirm or deny this.

According to reports received last week, Butler walked out of the studiobafter a row over Ed Buller's production work on the LP, and never returned.

But one person who is very close to Suede dismissed this as he talked to The Maker this week about Bernard's departure. He said: "It's not, as everyone seems to think, because of musical differences. There was friction between Bernard and Ed, but then there was friction between Bernard and everyone in the Suede organisation.

"It was a personal matter between Bernard and everyone else that led to him leaving the band. It has nothing to do with anything musical or anything to do with the studio or the producer.

"It's personal."

He continued: "Brett and Bernard were never the best of friends. They never lived together or anything, just worked together very well. There was obviously some tension between them - there always is in great songwriting relationships. Why do you think Paul McCartney is so bland and shite now? Because he's content, and he hasn't got some mad Scouse git beating the shit out of him all the time.

"But there were no screaming arguments between the band, as has been reported. They didn't work like that. They worked in isolation. Bernard was a nine-to-five man, Brett worked better at night. There were no fist-fights. Let's face it, they could all have flattened Bernard if they wanted!

"It's hard to say if Brett and Bernard might remain friends - time heals all wounds.

"Right now, Suede are auditioning new guitarists, but I can't say who. Morale-wise, they're feeling better than they have for a long time. This had to happen, basically. Of course they're feeling confident musically. They'd knock it on the head if they weren't.

"If you want to know what Bernard is doing next, he'll have to tell you that. He's got something lined up.

Asked if Brett was nervous about the future, the source replied: "He sees it as an Act II thing, like The Rolling Stones after Brian Jones. Besides, Bernard didn't do all the music. Brett had a hand in the melodies. Brett hasn't had any offers to go solo, no. He's not interested. He wants Suede to be a band.

"The new Suede album will be finished on Tuesday (July 26). It's as yet untitled. And it's absolutely brilliant. Yes, they will be touring the album.

"If Bernard had left any earlier, Suede would have had to get in another replacement to fill in the gaps. So, yes, he left at the right time. And if things had carried on the way they'd been going, there would be no band now."

The close-as-this source rejected two rumours surrounding Bernard's departure.

"All that stuff about Brett's girlfriend causing trouble in the band is just bollocks. Both Brett and Bernard have held down stable relationships for a while - not with the same girl, I might add - and neither of them caused any bother in the band.

"And as for the rumours about drugs - it's got nothing to do with drugs. Oh God, no. Bernard's one of the cleanest people I know.

"It's to do with Bernard's personal life. I can't say any more, I'm afraid. I don't want to slag anyone off. Let's just say Bernard's leaving wasn't just due to the fact that his socks smelled. It was much more complex than that.

"Hopefully, when things get sorted out on the legal side, you'll find out more."

During Butler's last days in the band it had seemed obvious, even to outsiders, that all was not well between the guitarist and the singer. The Maker's Matt Bright recently did a photo session with Suede for the American magazine, Spin. When he asked for a picture of Brett and Bernard together, Bernard refused.

Suede, for their part, have spent the last week playing cat and mouse with the press.

The Maker's Paul Lester visited Master Rock Studios one afternoon last week and found Ed Buller.

Buller did not want to talk about Bernard's departure, but he told Lester: "Brett's been out all night, and he's not likely to turn up here until 10 o'clock tonight. I don't think the rest of the band will be here until then either."

A mere half hour later, from a restaurant across the road, Lester spotted bassist Mat Osman approaching the studio. He gave chase but was unable to reach Osman due to traffic on Kilburn High Road.

Osman, however, saw the intrepid Maker newshound, and grinned and waved before disappearing hurriedly into the studio.

Meanwhile, news of the split has been wreaking havoc in the Suede fan club.

Girls have been ringing the band's label, Nude, in tears, wanting to know what's going to happen to the band.


Pages 23 & 24


Suede: RIP?


So SUEDE, unarguably the most important British band since The Smiths, are not splitting up. But guitarist Bernard Butler has left the band, and history is littered with examples of what happens when great songwriting partnerships break up. What of Suede now, then? Over the next five pages, we assess Suede's contribution thus far, look at some Great Rock Rifts, and ask the punters and pundits the question on everyone's lips this week: can Suede carry on, regardless?


SUEDE have split up.

Okay, okay. Something called Suede still exists, yes is "auditioning new guitarists", perhaps, and will quite possibly continue for a while longer: but let's face it, the original Suede - the band that, more than any other British pop band, seemed to matter are all over. When Lennon left The Beatles, could they have continued as anything other than Wings? When Marr deserted The Smiths, could they ever have been anything more than... Morrissey? Bernard has left.

Bernard wrote the tunes. For all intents and purposes, Suede have split up.


SINCE Suede have chosen to split at a time when their public profile is negligible (their last acts being an abject failure to break America, a single which, oddly for a straight-in-at-number-five hit, nobody remembers, and a gig in Worthing where, thanks to an administrative f*** up, they played to a half-empty hall), many will, no doubt, be moved to revisionism. Actually when you think about it, they weren't that good really has been heard around these parts more than once this week.


Well... yes, they made mistakes. Boy, did they make mistakes.


Right from the off, Brett's grasp of pop star mystique was, for such an obvious scholar of stardom, lamentable. Too often he seemed like a magician who insisted on first explaining precisely how he performed his tricks - as Simon Reynolds pointed out, pop, in the words of Marc Bolan, should be a spell. Hasn't Brett broken that spell, by spelling it out?" That quote ("I'm a bisexual who's never had a homosexual experience", neatly destroying every last trace of precious ambiguity) being only the most obvious example.


To the already converted, he was "only exercising every author's license to imagine, to empathise, to narrate". Unfortunately, non-believers tended to see it more as pretence, cheap sexual tourism and - most worryingly - pushing artists who were equally outspoken and authentically gay out of the spotlight the media - even a supposedly "enlightened" branch like the music business - prefers its chatterboxes to chat from a safe distance; rather like a Thirties gentlemen's smoking club where all female roles in comedy sketches are taken by men in drag).


Drummer Simon's public declaration of his own homosexuality (and outspoken campaigning against the age of consent laws) added a welcome dimension - in a sly parody of Brett, he claimed to be a bisexual who's never had a heterosexual experience - but did little to appease Suede's detractors.


And then there were the lyrics.

However accomplished Brett might have been as a frontman and singer (it's often forgotten that Brett has a fantastic voice), as a lyricist, he's no Lorca:

"We'll take the tide's electric mind, oh yeah umm, oh, yeah),

"We can be together in the nuclear sky  We will dance in the poisoned rain" (purest Simon Le Bon). Significantly, Brett wrote these atrocities, unlike the immaculate "Drowners/To The Birds* /"My Insatiable One" triumvirate, as a pop star (and therefore with immeasurable self-consciousness).

Worst of all was that excruciating finale to "Breakdown":"Does your love only come / Does your love only come / Does he only come..."- the music rises to a fever pitch of expectancy.-"IN A VOLVO!!! Oh dear. Óh dear oh dear oh dear.

Let's face it. At their worst, Suede were... slightly embarrassing.


But, let's face it. At their best, Suede were ABSOLUTELY F***ING BRILLIANT.


IT was pretty much unprecedented the front cover of the April 25, 1992 issue of Melody Maker featured a completely unknown band. And, writ large, the words: "SUEDE -THE BEST NEW BAND IN BRITAIN.”

The accompanying feature was an awesome slice of hyperbole: Suede were, apparently, the most audacious, androgynous, mysterious, sexy, ironic, absurd, perverse, glamorous, hilarious, honest, cocky, melodramatic, mesmerising band you're ever likely to fall in love with".

Despite "Their sexuality is quite dark -Brett smacks his own bottom and pouts a lot onstage being possibly the most embarrassing sentence in the history of music journalism, the band rose to the occasion: they had something that is the raison d'être not just for music journalists but for music press readers, something that, post-Smiths, we'd almost forgotten existed - something to say.

What came over most strongly, was Suede's ambition and, back then, that was everything, even if they seemed a little too keen on being the last great rock'n'roll band" rather than the first of something. There was nothing unique about Suede's lust for adoration - bands like Ocean Colour Scene, The Charlatans and the embryonic Blur had recently been working hard to reactivate pop narcissism,

But Suede were the first band to write songs that backed up their beautiful arrogance, to properly attempt the crossover from Camden Underworld to thrown underwear. And they were, of course, in the right place (The Maker, traditionally the paper that prized glamour, cockiness and sex over the more traditionally "indie values of honesty, earthiness and authenticity" and never shy about pushing lippy newcomers into the spotlight). And the right time: the moment when the "shoegazers" (Ride, Chapterhouse, Slowdive, self-consciously blank, practically asexual) were losing their appeal and the grunge explosion (remember, this was only the other side of Christmas from "Teen Spirit") gave Brett something to symbolically rage against, supplanting America's mythical rock landscape with his romanticised London tenements.

Dullards shouted "hype!"-oh, sod off. One: we desperately needed someone to get very big, very fast and save us from Earnest Indie Hell, and Suede, dammit, were much, much more than good enough. Two: hype is brilliant. Anyone who claims not to feel even a tingle of excitement as a gong of skinny, starry-eyed kids are catapulted to instant success (rather than playing toilets for three years, which, incidentally, Suede did) knows nothing about pop. The Great Pop Star must have absolutely no control over his/her own destiny.

Suede didn't know they were on the cover until they walked into the newsagents on the Wednesday morning.


THINGS began to go wrong.

Too much pressure, too many setbacks (failure in America, the non-appearance of the leap into megastardom), too many egos, too many expectations. All the usual shit tales not worth telling even for the dirt. Boring stories that don't become them.

Because, in retrospect, it's hard to overestimate Suede's importance. Sure, their "androgyny" was somewhat exaggerated in the press (1972: homosexuality has been legal for just five years. David Bowie walks onstage in a Newcastle pub dressed in a skintight orange jumpsuit, stiletto heels and inch-thick make-up and, in front of a crowd of Hell's Angels, pretends to give his guitarist a blow job. 1992: nothing's shocking. Suede, dressed in baggy jeans and tight shirts, wiggle their arses to 100 Camden indie kids) - but hey, remember, Kingmaker were big at the time.

Brett may not have been as radical a sexual politician as he'd like to believe but he did offer an alternative vision of masculinity in the heyday of hairy, heterosexual grunge. Sure, they never rivalled the gods they were compared to - but they were gods compared to their rivals. See, whatever else they achieved (or did not), Suede upped the stakes. Never again (or not for a while) would we tolerate bands who, as David Bennun once wrote of The Wedding Present, "didn't take pop for fame, wealth, lust, obsession - but just because it was there."


SO what happens next? The split throws Suede's chief weakness - their inability to create something that trashed (rather than just transcended) the limits of the guitar - bass drums rock band format - into rather sharp relief. Should they successfully re-emerge with a spanking new guitarist (no pun intended), it simply will not be enough to continue on the same old Smiths/Bowie androgyny tip: as a band, Suede must now progress or perish.

If they choose to continue, they will be forced to gatecrash the pop stratosphere. If not...

TAYLOR PARKES

(With thanks to Caitlin Moran and Simon Price)


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Page 24


Will they 'Staaaay Togevuh'?

Here's what the stars think


“Bernard's always been cool. This is another very cool thing he's done. It's the right thing. Needless to say, I'll be sending him audition tapes of me singing, 'On Mother Kelly's Doorstep", in the bath" - Rob Newman


"Bernard's a good bloke and a brilliant guitarist. This reminds me of when Bickers left The House Of Love. He's made the right decision" - Bob Stanley, Saint Etienne


"It's quite a shame, really. A lot of people have invested a lot of faith and hope in them and they'll feel let down because the potential hasn't really been realised. I'm dubious about what Bernard does on his own and what Brett does with the group, because there's always tension within groups and often that's what makes them good" - Jarvis Cocker, Pulp


“This means nothing to me, oh, Vienna"

- Fruitbat, Carter USM


"It's a shame they haven't had a long term career like their idols. But, nevertheless, the excitement and freshness died a long time ago" - Sam, Passion Fruit And Holy Bread


"It's very sad because I though the first LP was brilliant. I'm still looking forward to hearing the second album - it'll be great. They ought to get Johnny Marr in to replace him" - Sheryl Garratt, The Face (Editor)


"Good now they've split, maybe some other bands can get some press"- Anonymous Music Biz PR


"It's very sad, because there aren't many indie bands who have sensational chart success and still maintain their credibility - and Suede were one of those bands. For Smash Hits, it's a great shame. Because we certainly know that a lot of our readers did have Suede posters on their wall. It's obviously reminiscent of the Morrissey-Marr split, but this is at an even earlier stage. It will be interesting to see whether either of them can hold it in their own right.

"Their music was sensational and I think Brett is a star, but I can't imagine one without the other, to be honest. I don't know if a lot of our readers will be upset, but those that are will be very, very upset. I think for Suede fans it is a tragedy of Smiths proportions.

"Who should they try out as a new guitarist? It obviously needs to be someone with an awful lot of flair. Perhaps they will find the right person, but it's going to be very difficult. Maybe Johnny Marr might do it just to wind up Morrissey. That would be great fun.

"Thinking about it, though, The Rolling Stones managed to keep on going, as did The Who. It didn't do them too much harm, so perhaps there is light at the end of tunnel" - Tony Cross, Smash Hits (Features Editor)


"I'm surprised, but mostly it's really sad, because they were a really great band with a lot of things going for them, and they really had the potential to develop.

"We did a tour with them in America and they were really nice people, so this whole situation weirds me out a bit. They were so friendly. I don't really know Brett because he spent a lot of time doing interviews and promotional stuff, but Bernard hung out with us and even played onstage with us one time.

"It is a shock, but if Bernard was unhappy then it was the right thing to do. The worst crime is to be phoney If you're not happy doing something, you should just quit. I'm not saying that everyone should be a quitter, but if you're unhappy then you're just ripping people off - so I think he made the right decision.

"As for why it happened, I really think the pressure that the UK press put on the band is to blame. All those MM and NME covers never really gave the band a chance to develop or even form some kind of camaraderie - and this is the result of that. I hate to be clichéd, but at least The Smiths managed to get a good bunch of LPs recorded before they split.

"Who will they get in to replace Bernard? Maybe they'll get me. Or that guy from The Pretenders who used to be in The Katydids. Whatever happens, it's a shame. They were a great band and really nice people" - Dave Gibbs, Gigolo Aunts


"Obviously it's a bit sad because the first album was really good, but I think Suede have probably heard our first album by now and realised that they should quit" – Rick Witter, Shed Seven


"Glam never dies, it just intermittently returns in increasingly revolting fabrics. Will pop survive without Suede? Of course. The Jam died and yet it lives on. The Who are no more, and yet still it thrives. But we will always have Xmas to remember Noddy, Jim, Dave and Don by“ - Gene


"Being absent from the public eye for a while, it had seemed to me that Suede had either turned their studio into a David Koresh-style religious sanctuary, or were in inner turmoil.

"It seems obvious to me that Brett and Mat were more of a partnership, having grown up together, than perhaps the Morrissey-Marr press image of Brett and Bernard ... people have their reasons" - Jake Shillingford, My Life Story


"I really couldn't give a shit" - Marijne, Salad


"We've had a lot of people ringing up in confusion. Has anyone been in tears? Well, there's been some very odd, confused and upset calls. Most people don't seem to have read the news items properly and understood that the band aren't actually splitting up" - Nude Records spokesman


"I couldn't help but feel that a split was bound to happen. I've always felt that it wasn't that much of a permanent thing and that Bernard was the one who would go off and do his own thing. I'll be curious to see if Suede will be able to survive without him. Who should be the new guitarist? It should be somebody that no one's ever heard of. Because then they're not living up to expectations" - Janice Long, Radio And TV Personality

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Pages  24 & 25


So, farewell, then, Bernard: a nation mourns (sort of)


Mike, 27, T-shirt entrepreneur: "I love Suede and I'd be very upset to see their demise. They're the best thing to happen to British indie music since the Smiths."


Nokomoto and Noo, 22: "Oh! Bernard leave? This is terrible. Suede are so big in Japan. Bernard is a genius. I read a magazine in Japan that say he hate Brett's attitude. I'm afraid Suede is finished when I read that magazine, and now it might be true. Terrible."


Julie, 18: "I'm gutted, I really desperately hope they stay together.BBrett is the voice of a generation. David Bowie? Pah. They can't split up. Will I miss Bernard? Don't, just don't."


Gerald, 26: "Their first album wasn't as dramatic as the first Smiths album. And I don't really think people would be as upset if they split up. There's more hype

around them. The Smiths were a lot more original. Brett's kind of attractive, but he's not as charismatic as Morrissey. But I think it would be a major deal if they split up."


Giovanna, 22: "People were just really bored, which is why they latched onto Suede. They should be listening to Afghan Whigs or Hole - that was the best album of the last 10 years, think it's excellent that Bernard left the group - he was the only decent looking one. He'll go onto better things."


Peter and Jacob, both 21: "It's really sad what happened. We're devastated."


WE WROTE THE LINES, WROTE RIGHT DOWN THEIR SPINES

"Suede are OK, but then so many people are these days. One to watch, brethren...

-Andrew Mueller before... (18/1/92)


"Tonight was the night Suede kept all our promises for us. We might well consider rehabilitating that much-abused adjective 'revelatory'"

-... And after (9/5/92)


"Let's not fanny around. The Unstoppable Frank & King Carter Dustbin Stare: NME. Suede, Verve, Levitation, Pavement, Mercury Rev.

Melody Maker. Dogshit. Diamonds" - Steve Sutherland, heh heh heh (30/5/92)


"Walking on the Wilde side, riding the Chariot Of The Gods through The Last Days Of Constantinople and generally booting the grime of the world in the crotch, dears. Oh you pretty things..." - Simon Price umms and ahhs (13/6/92)


"Coming on in pre-torn silk is one thing, but when it's ripped from your body by eager fans it seems a bit crass to have a spare handy. What's up, Brett, worried you'll catch your death?" - Ooh, back in the knife drawer, Jim Arundel (26/9/92)


"Is that the best you can do? Claim Suede are fake because Brett doesn't actually take it up the Gary Glitter?"

- The delicate poesy of Simon Price (20/3/93)


"A smidgeon of gay eroticism only adds to male bonding. Is the fervour for Suede just a last-ditch denial of the tumultuous invasion of women into rock?"

- Simon "Answer that and stay fashionable" Reynolds - (19/6/93)


"How difficult is it to be the best new band in Britain? It's not like Mambo f***ing Taxi are going to make a late break for glory, is it?"

- Thank you, Caitlin Moran (24/7/93)


"These concrete curves always conveyed a TOTAL lack of glamour' - Suede, in truth, articulate that adolescent urge to purge, salvation sought in shit and piss, the low-lite-as-high-life moments; when the only way out is DOWN"

- Taylor Parkes supplies the full stop (19/2/94)


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Page 25


THOSE GREAT SUEDE QUOTES IN FULL


"Suede is like exploring your own kitchen instead of becoming an astronaut. It's finding some interesting pieces of mould rather than a new solar system" - Brett.


"You can either say, Well, the world around me is blank so I'll give in to that, or take that leap of faith and say. I don't believe that. I believe life can be fascinating, extraordinary and absurd" - Mat.


"I feel as though we're this big striped beast, this lunging sexual animal" - Brett.


"We're addressing the real issues of sexuality. We're talking about the used condom as opposed to the beautiful bed" - Brett.


"Being in Suede is being alive in the most alive way possible" - Bernard.


"I had this vision of my dad, who's never taken his vest off in his life and wears a tie in the bath, wearing a leotard with 'Chimpo' written across it" - Brett.


"I've never slept in a tent in my life" - Brett.


"America likes its stars quite straight, really" -- Brett.


"I have to write about grim suburban settings at the moment because I live in a grim suburban setting. I'd quite like to not live in a grim suburban setting so l could expand what I write" - Brett.


"The bar staff are friendly here. I said I wanted a pint of Guinness, a gin and tonic and a pint of cider, and he said, 'Are you gonna drink thema? ' Of course l am, it's a bloody pub" - Mat.


"I'd like to be burnt in a wicker man, encircled by a thousand chanting pagans" - Brett.


"The sort of music we write completely relies on a bit of tension. The songs I write on my own just haven't got that extra sparkle we get when I write with Bernard - Brett


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Page 25


HONEST TOM SHEEHAN'S ODDS ON THE NEW SUEDE GUITARIST


1. Craig Gannon (2/1 on):

The Red Adair of British pop, always brought in just before things go fissive. Has played in every defunct British band bar Altern 8 (they turned him down). No doubt keen to complete the set.


2. Johnny Marr (5/2):

Will probably be the first person Suede call after Craig Gannon. The former Pretender may find Suede a little too modern, and it's unlikely they can afford him.


3. Miles Hunt (3/1):

Currently at a loose end. Could offer the band the aura of petulance and whining they sorely lack.


4. Chris Roberts (10/3):

Rock's foremost glam theorist and founder of the legendary Catwalk, whose thunder Suede so cruelly stole. May shortly be too big to even consider the offer.


5. The guitarist from Bum Gravy (6/1):

Little is known about this enigmatic genius but rumours of high-level management negotiations place him as an outside favourite.


6. Tony Blair (7/1):

With his good looks and sensible, reassuring approach, "Bambi" Blair could be just the man to conquer the middle classes 'traditional fear of Suede and take them from their northern heartland to a home-counties power base.


7. Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page (all 11/1):

Any of these Sixties superguitarists would enhance Suede's prestige on the international stage, and the invites to "Night Of A Million Gibsons "events would come thick and fast.


8. Justine from Elastica and Damon from Blur (20/1):

Indie's foremost couple are renowned for their goodwill towards Suede, Justine having gone so far as to the play in the band and sleep with its singer. Asked what they would bring to the band, they replied, “All our friends."


9. Oderous Urungus (70/1):

The Man From GWAR may not look like an obvious choice but his ability to shoot vast quantities of blood-streaked semen from his three-foot penis while decapitating Sylvestra Hymen, fellating Beefcake The Almighty and bellowing through his nose like a Brahma bull would be a significant plus with Suede's teen audience.


10. Mick Ronson (1,237,988/1):

Bowie's former henchman has exactly the sound Suede are looking for, and there is no doubt that Bernard Butler has been a great influence on him. Efforts to tempt him to the group may be hindered by his death last year, but sources close to the band say that Brett is absolutely insistent.


11. Bernard Butler(1,237,989/1):

Brett's former henchman has exactly the sound Suede are looking for, and there is no doubt they have been a great influence on him. However, his assertion that "Wild Caucasian ponies driving flatbed trucks won't drag me back" has cast doubt on his future with the band. In tribute to Bernard Butler, formerly of national pop idols Suede, The Maker is proud to present...


GREAT BERNARDS OF OUR TIME


*BOOTIFUL BERNARD MATTHEWS

*BERNARD SUMNER

*BERNARD MANNING

*BERNIE THE BOLT

*BERNI INN

*BERNARD LEVIN

*BERNARD CRIBBINS

*BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI

*DR BARNARDO'S

*GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

*ST BERNARD

*SANDRA BERNHARDT

*THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF BERNE,

SWITZERLAND (That's enough Bernards -Ed)


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Rock's Greatest Rifts  - Page 26


BERNARD BUTLER's shock departure from SUEDE, announced last week to much astonishment, ended a collaboration with Brett Anderson that their admirers thought would dominate British pop for the next decade. It was, however, only the latest in a line of creative partnerships that have split at the height of their success. Here we look back at some of rock's most notable fallings-out...


SUEDE: Anderson v Butler

BRETT is a pop star. Bernard is a genius. And This Was Why They Ruled The World.  

Brett is a pop star. Bernard is a genius. This was always going to be Suede's downfall.

In the early stages of their career, Brett and Mat could be seen at nearly every gig, propping up the bar and giggling like children. And during interviews they'd say things like: "I'm a bisexual who hasn't had a homosexual experience" (Brett); "I've come to avenge my peasant stock" (Brett); and, "Knitting is the new rock'n'roll" (Mat).

Image and quote wise, they were the kind of band that caused journalists to run into the office and stand on a table, shouting, "I've found a band who can talk!"

And the singles! Let's not forget the singles. These songs were the currency of pop throughout 1992 and 1993; guitar-shops the length and breadth of the country rang to the painful stuttering strumming of embryonic Bernard Butlers trying to master the solo to "Metal Mickey," with only a rudimentary grasp of tuning, chord structure or which way round you hold a guitar,

But Brett is a pop star, and Bernard is a genius - Brett is the Image, and it wasn't long before the Image started to clash with the Talent (Bernard); promotion got in the way of emotion, and while Brett and Mat spent the American tour doing endless rounds of interviews and partying, Bernard stayed in his hotel bedroom playing guitar. Bernard's interview in Vox seethes with a sense of feeling boxed in by Suede's image and Suede's sound -"need to branch out... I can't get on with my own thing."

The reported "shouting and fighting" in the studio during the recording of their forthcoming album seems a little out of kilter with the general hirsute girliness of Brett and Bernard, though-two long-haired ponces mincing towards each other, handbags raised, squealing, "If you touch that mixing desk, I'll bite your bum."

"It's all starting to sound like Morrisey/Marr again. In fact, Suede's press officer actually said, "It's all starting to sound like The Smiths again.

"But," he added, "people have to really think hard about who, exactly, Suede were. After all Brett was only the one who spanked his bottom with a microphone."

Indeed.


THE BEATLES: Lennon v McCartney

"YOU live with straights who tell you you is king/Jump when your mama tell you anything/ Those freaks was right when they said you is dead," snarled John Lennon on his 1971 song, "How Do You Sleep". There was no doubt about the identity of his target. Paul McCartney had mildly and obliquely criticised him for "preaching", and Lennon wasn't about to take that lying down, despite the fact that he spent most of his life in that position

The most celebrated songwriting duo in history had been working separately since 1965, but effectively remained editors of each other's work. McCartney tempered Lennon's more indulgent efforts, Lennon prevented McCartney from sinking into the maudlin mire. The results scaled the heights of genius.

The pair's mutual loathing didn't prevent Lennon from telling the world that All You Need Is Love", but matters came to a head on the so-called White Album, when doe-eyed Paul objected to the experimental "Revolution No 9, and knife tongued John railed against "granny music" like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da!

Since The Beatles split, McCartney has spent 25 years turning out ditties and mush. Lennon went utterly off the rails, in the process producing the only solo Beatle records worth a damn. His career suffered a setback when he was shot dead in 1980, but a helpful medium now claims to be channelling his creative urges.


THE ROLLING STONES: Jagger v Richards

IT'S long been obvious that The Glimmer Twins would gladly make horsemeat of each other, yet they keep reuniting against the odds. Their solo work, which is even worse than the last 10 Stones records, 4 gives a clue as to why. Richards dedicated a song titled "You Don't Move Me" to Jagger; nor, as the abysmal "She's The Boss" proved, could Jagger move units. Not even in Japan. So as long as the pension fund needs topping up, we'll always have the Stones.


THE SMITHS: Morrissey v Marr

THE apocryphal account of their initial meeting has Johnny Marr, aspiring indie guitarist, turning up at the doorstep of weird local poet Morrissey's house and their bonding immediately on discovery of a mutual obsession with James Dean. Marr had visions of him and Morrissey becoming a songwriting partnership on a par with  Fifties songsmiths Lieber and Stoller. In fact, theirs was always musically an oil and water relationship. Marr's quicksilvery, liquid janglechords were a crystallisation of all indiepop's hankerings from labels Tike Postcard and the burgeoning Manc scene of the early Eighties, while Morrissey's flat, black, morbid, mock-prosaic lyrics

dragged glumly over the top. Voice and guitar seemed to exist in separate spheres - it was the ideal displacement.

The formula worked brilliantly up until 1987, when the displacement finally become personal. Johnny Marr found himself increasingly hamstrung by having to be subordinate to Morrissey/The Smiths' preoccupations. Marr was listening to Sly Stone and dance music; Morrissey was declaring that disco was "vile", that a conspiracy existed to promote black music on "Top Of The Pops Marr's musical aspirations were expanding as Morrissey retrenched in kitsch, whimsically declaring an intention to cover old Cilla Black B-sides. The later singles, such as "Girlfriend In A Coma" and "Sheila Take A Bow", seemed lyrically self parodic, with Marr strumming through the motions, no fire.

Finally, Marr took off to LA and never came back, his own man at last. Unfortunately, in his newfound freedom he became a glorified session musician, working with old punk farts like Talking Heads and Matt Johnson before forming Electronic with Bernard Sumner.  Morrissey, meanwhile, has devolved back to a rockabilly stylee, lyrically still resolutely ploughing the same, self absorbed furrow over and over again, a lonely, vindictive, paranoid figure.


PINK FLOYD: Waters v Gilmour

THE classic pomp pop sound of early Seventies Floyd owed much to the touch of David Gilmour, but it was Waters' bilious vision that came to dominate the band, climaxing in the musical war crime that is 1979's "The Wall". Waters later left the band, no doubt wondering what on earth they'd do without him. What they did was become the world's most successful stadium dinosaurs under Gilmour's guiding hand. Waters, while watching his solo career follow the trajectory of a dropped rock, spent a fair few years vainly threatening to sue the shit out of them, claiming they couldn't be Pink Floyd without him. One thinks of an apoplectic Yosemite Sam, cursing and howling and shooting himself in the foot.


NWA: Ice Cube v Easy-E

WHEN Ice Cube left NWA to huge solo acclaim, giving his ex-colleagues the finger with "No Vaseline", the band swiftly descended into foul-mouthed sandpit drivel. Then, in a flurry of lawsuits, amid claims of business practices that would shame the mob, the remaining trio fell out. Producer Dr Dre found solo success with a video that lampooned Eazy E, showing the jheri-curled one jiggling a cardboard sign reading, 'Will rap for food". Dre also produces protégé Snoop Doggy Dogg, and if ever left on his own will probably beat himself up.


HUSKER DU: Mould v Hart

THE driving forces behind Minneapolis' acclaimed noiseniks Husker Du, Bob Mould and Grant Hart's passionate and articulate approach to music would have catapulted them into the mainstream were it not for Hart's fondness for Mr Brownstone himself, smack.

Despite the acclaim which greeted their post punk masterpiece, the double album, "Zen Arcade" and signing for Warners in 1985, Hart's spiralling drug habit put too great a strain on the band - and, in 1988, Mould, disgusted with his partner, split the group.

After brief solo careers, a cleaned-up Hart formed Nova Mob while Mould went on to form the more successful Sugar.


SPACEMEN 3: Boom v Pierce

THE creative core of drone merchants Spacemen 3 were Pete Kember (Sonic Boom) and Jason Pierce.

Drawn together by a love of the Velvets' morphine tinged spaciness, and of getting righteously stoned, the Spacemens' commercial and critical status increased on a par with Kember's growing heroin habit.

Wracked by paranoia, their final album, 1991's "Recurring", was farcical: as a result of Kember's erratic behaviour, he and Pierce not only refused to record together, they also refused to be interviewed together.

After the split, Kember formed Spectrum and Pierce formed Spiritualized. Both bands sound uncannily like Spacemen 3.


THE HOUSE OF LOVE: Chadwick v Bickers

CREATION's Great White Hopes following the departure of The Jesus And Mary Chain, THOL were fuelled by the chemistry between quiet, introspective Guy Chadwick and arch loon Terry Bickers.

A coruscating debut album promised great things to come but, prior to the release of its follow-up, Bickers quit over what were euphemistically termed "creative differences" and formed Levitation.

While Chadwick ploughed on with THOL, rumours that Bickers had gone completely doolally seemed borne out by his now-permanent 1,000-yard-stare.

TELEVISION: Verlaine v Hell

NEVER has a band been more likely to self-destruct than the original incarnation of Television.

The disparate personalities of song-writers Richard Hell (proto-punk) and Tom Verlaine (muso) inspired some magnificent and tempestuous alchemy on stage: Hell, in slashed, blood-stained clothing, would scream his way through classics like "Love Comes In Spurts", while Verlaine cut a cooler, more detached figure.

Inevitably, they parted acrimoniously after less than 10 gigs in 1973 - Hell determined to be as shocking as his hero, Rimbaud, while Verlaine recruited guitarist Richard Loyd and recorded the classic "Marquee Moon" and "Adventure", before they split acrimoniously themselves.