This article is from 2006.
Underappreciated national treasure plays acoustic and invites questions from the audience.
‘Well, I’m no arse-licker, put it that way,’ says Luke Haines. ‘I was never a careerist; it was a complete accident. For a few years I ended up on a major record label.’ The man who fronted the 1993 Mercury Music Prize losers The Auteurs denies being entirely contrary. ‘It’s not necessarily biting the hand that feeds, because that would be an adolescent reaction. It’s more to do with sticking to your guns as an artist.’
The accusation of grumpiness is highlighted by a call to arms in 2001, when he called a ‘National Pop Strike’ - encouraging people to boycott the music industry for a week - on the day he released his first solo album, The Oliver Twist Manifesto. It’s hardly what they’d call a ‘marketing push’, and only a year before he’d hit the Top 20 with dark-pop outfit Black Box Recorder and their single The Facts of Life. This October he releases another solo album, entitled Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop, with an eponymous single produced by Richard X. Time for chart success again? ‘I hover round the Top 40 once every couple of years, so there’s a possibility. It would be reliant on someone at Radio One accidentally playing it.’
Haines is performing three acoustic gigs in Edinburgh, each with a different set list drawn from the Auteurs, terrorist-chic side project Baader Meinhof (with hindsight, eerily prescient for 1998) and his solo career. In the second half, there’ll be a Q&A/interview segment, hosted by journalist Andrew Mueller. ‘It seemed the ideal opportunity to throw myself in with the lions against all the crap comedians in Edinburgh,’ he drolls. (Robin Lee)
Underbelly, 0870 745 3083, 17-19 Aug, 9.30pm, £9.