“Sweetness And Light”- The Miki Berenyi Interview 2008

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“If you want heroes keep them safe.
They don’t stand up to life.
So lock them in your soul and lose the key.”

-Miki Berenyi

Certain bands or songs will forever be intertwined with particular events or certain times in people’s lives. Lush are one such band, whom, in our case, will always have a special place in our heart. There was no world-shattering event in my life, no personal catharsis;  we can’t even entertain you with a tragic “Our Tune” type story of heartbreak and redemption or the agony of unrequited love… It was quite simple, we heard their music and thought it was F***ing brilliant.  It’s true to say Lush were underrated and unappreciated by certain sections of the music press in the early 90s who didn’t quite know how to take to Lush, they liked a drink and a laugh, where approachable and unpretentious,  which seemed slightly at odds with some of their more ethereal moments.

Still despite the ambivalent and often sexist music press Lush gathered a cult following in the UK, and seemed to be going from strength to strength. 1996 had seen Lush release their biggest selling album yet “Lovelife” complete with top 30 singles and numerous high profile, (and not always comfortable TV slots.) They had just finished  dates in the U.S.….. Then …everything fell apart….. As Joe Strummer once said “Whatever a group is, it was the chemical mixture of those four people that makes a group work. That’s a lesson everyone should learn, “Don’t mess with it! If it works just let it… Do whatever you have to do to bring it forward but don’t mess with it”... However the tragic the death of drummer Chris Acland meant Lush really had no choice but to disband, it just wouldn’t have been the same without him.

We won’t retread old ground here, for those unaware of all things Lush they can find an earlier article HERE which goes into a little more depth about the bands history, their beginnings, triumphs and their eventual break-up.

So what happened post-Lush? Well, Emma Anderson formed Sing-Sing with Lisa O’Neil,(who, incidentally, have recently called it a day) Phil King is still performimg playing with The Fallen Leaves, and Jim Reid amongst others, and is now a member of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s current line up. Miki Berenyi sang on The Rentals 1999 album Seven More Minutes (track “The Cruise”,) she sang lead vocals on Mitsuo Tate’s lovely “Lost In Blue “-Flat 7 album (track-“Smile” later remixed by Robin Guthrie) she’d had a drunken conversation with Patrick Fitzgerald of The Kitchens Of Distinction recorded and released on Fruits “Hark! At Her” (Track “Starring Relationships”) album and then….well then she just seemed to disappear

We wers as surprised and saddened as anybody that she had apparently left the musical community completely and wondered if others felt the same and thus set up a  “We Miss Miki” website and myspace page. Soon messages where pouring in from all around the world  such as  “She was a rock goddess…come back”I love Toni Basil, where the devil is she now?!”,-“You get the picture ? Wink ” People shared tales of meeting Miki, what Lush’s music meant to them and, reminisced about favourite gigs. There were also messages from musicians such as Robin Guthrie, The Kitchens of Distinction, The Wallflowers, music mags and numerous record labels hoping to sign her up. The message was clear, she was and is, much admired, respected loved and missed.

Within the many missives received was a message from Eric Matthews, a musician and composer who’s been producing high quality albums for well over a decade, from his early days as one half of Cardinal to his solo albums on Sub Pop and Empyrean Records. Eric informed me that he had joined forces with Ohio based guitarist Christopher Seink and that Miki had agreed to provide guest vocals on a couple of tracks for their “Seinking Ships” project.  He put us in touch and here’s what happened

Miki Berenyi

VP: After the tragic circumstances that surrounded the break up of Lush did you make a deliberate decision to get out of the music business completely?

MIKI: No – not really. It’s not like I heard the news of Chris’s suicide and thought, ‘I’m never playing in a band again’. It just happened that way – my life simply changed as a result.

VP: When “Lovelife” was released some critics rather predictably started to use the old “sell out” angle. Did this reaction surprise you?

MIKI: Not at all! By the time Lovelife came out we were pretty well used to being treated with contempt and ridicule by most quarters of the music press. HA! I remember the Melody Maker reviewing Split and slagging us off because (apparently) all our songs were light, jangly things about fluffy clouds and fairies. Meanwhile, reviewing the same album, the NME complained that our lyrics were too depressing (covering child abuse and parental death) and didn’t fit the sparkly, light melodies. I guess what I’m saying is that we couldn’t do right for doing wrong. I, of course, don’t agree with the sell-out accusation. I mean, is Ladykillers more commercial than Hypocrite? Is Desire Lines more shadowy than Last Night? Is I’ve Been Here Before a throwaway exercise in jazz lite whereas Lit Up is a trawl through the underbelly of dischordancy rivalling the darkest periods of Miles Davis?

The production on Lovelife is a little zappier and more upfront. Beyond that, I just think we got a bit more attention. When Split came out, the world was grunge and you had to search hard to find a niche in English pop, so I guess we seemed rare and obscure. By the time we released Lovelife, Britpop had lightened the mood a little and radio and TV were receptive to melody-driven pop songs so our version of that felt commercially acceptable. (i.e., if you stick around for long enough, you eventually become fashionable)

VP: “Ladykillers”? Was this song biographical? There’s been much speculation in the past with regard to who the “Ladykillers” in question may have been…

MIKI: Yes, it was biographical. Three verses, three men, three experiences – and all united by a baffling attitude to women. I’m probably being deeply unfair – after all, I didn’t know any of them particularly well and – god knows – I’ve acted like an arsehole on occasion and could similarly be hung out for ridicule. Still, it was great fun writing it and I remember Ivo Watts-Russell (the then head of 4AD) laughing his head off when he first heard it in the studio. (So much for the enigmatic Svengali image.) As for who it’s about – I’ve definitely heard bachelor number 2 (pretty obvious – see the video) and bachelor number 3 correctly identified, but never bachelor number 1.

VP: Recently bands such as The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine have reformed , given that a lot of music can now be made using a laptop and reach a huge audience via the likes of myspace, have you never been tempted to dip your toe in the murky waters of the Biz again . If financial constraints and time were not an issue could you see yourself writing and playing again?

MIKI : Hey – if financial constraints and time were not an issue I’d be on my 10th LP and recording a Greatest Hits compilation with the Royal Philharmonic by now. I would love to make music again, but it’s precisely those things that are stopping me! Also – I know people out there who are too young to have – or simply don’t want kids, HATE this answer, but when I do have some spare time (which is rarely) I really, really just want to spend it with my family and friends. I just had nine days (NINE!) off for Christmas and New Year, and – believe me – the very last thing I wanted to do with it was lock myself away in a room with a keyboard, guitar and a computer to wrestle with my tortured soul. I’m 40 and my metabolism is slowing. Meanwhile, the children are small and cute and not yet slamming doors, stealing cash from my wallet and mugging our neighbours. So I’m quite content to savour the moment by sitting around playing ‘Balloon Lagoon’ and stuffing my face with “Quality Street.”

VP: Do you still play the guitar, and do you still have your guitars from your Lush days such as the Fender Telecaster, Rickenbacker 370-12, Epiphone Riviera, Firebird II etc?

MIKI: No – I don’t play I’m afraid. I was never a proper guitarist – only in the context of Lush. I played the guitar to write songs on and to play live. That’s probably why I was so crap! To be honest, unless someone is really good, my heart always sinks a bit when you’re in a public place (campsite, party, holiday) and someone whips out a guitar. My least favourite phrase in friendly company is “Here’s a song I’ve been working on…” I still have the guitars, though. Sentimental reasons.

VP: How did you hear about my “We Miss Miki” campaign, did it freak you out or did it make you realise how much you have been missed by many fans and how much your music meant to them?

MIKI : Hmmmm. I can’t remember. Maybe Emma told me? I was very flattered. And also slightly frightened. Still, having exchanged a few emails with you, Andy, it turns out you’re not a frothing psychopath who wants to abduct my children so, yes – it’s rather lovely to know that anybody cares!

VP: Are your work colleagues aware of your iconic, guitar playing, cider guzzling rock n roll past?

MIKI: Oh god, yes. I talk about it all the time. They LOVE hearing about my rock ‘n’ roll anecdotes. I’m like Les McQueen in The League of Gentlemen – always handing out my old records and warning my workmates about the pitfalls of the music industry – “It’s a shit business” – that’s my catchphrase.

VP: Have you heard any news with regard to 4AD re-mastering and re-releasing of Lush’s back catalogue, (it’s been rumoured there will also be a DVD?)

MIKI: Yes, I’ve heard that too! I seem to remember a bunch of emails about it last year where Emma and I were trying to rack our brains over every hard-to-find release in the Lush back catalogue but I honestly don’t know what’s going on with that. Ask Emma or 4AD!

VP: You are guesting on Seinking Ships album, which will hopefully be available in 2008, did you enjoy the process, you’ve said you’re an Eric Matthews fan, and also that his songs were difficult to sing Wink could you expand on this? (For Eric’s sake!!)

MIKI : Eric got in touch with me through Simon Raymonde (formerly of the Cocteau Twins and now running Bella Union). He just asked me if I wanted to sing on his record and after reassuring me that he had literally no expectations of the shoddy state of my vocals after a decade away from the mic and that I would be required to make virtually no effort at all, I agreed. He was very patient with my numerous delays due to various family crises and really understanding about my total ignorance of the technological revolution regarding music and computers. I guess what I meant with the ‘difficult to sing’ comment is that the vocal line and harmonies are quite unusual – not obvious. It reminded me of some of Emma’s songs like Thoughtforms, Lit Up, Olympia and Tiny Smiles (Christ, it nearly killed me trying to get the pitching right on that damned song). The vocals work brilliantly within the track, but it’s not the obvious vocal line or harmony that you would pick, given the notes that surround it (if you get what I mean!). Plus there’s a pretty big range – hitting those high notes is fine when you’re young but after 25 years of Silk Cut I’m finding it a strain to get up there!

VP: If as mentioned you didn’t feel able to make a big commitment to music again, would you consider occasional musical ventures such as this (Seinking Ships) in the future. For example if Jarvis rang you and said lets write “Ciao 2” – would that sort of thing appeal?

MIKI : It’s funny, actually, I was in Paris last summer and we went to a fairground at the Tuileries and who should I bump into while trying to cram chocolate crepes into my kids’ faces but Jarvis Cocker, also out with his kid. What a coincidence! I was actually rather touched that he remembered who I was! But no – no Ciao 2. I guess I would consider anything so long as I had the time and it seemed like a fun thing to do!

VP : Do you miss anything about the music Industry , has it changed much since Lush ?

MIKI : I miss the excitement and energy of playing live and the camaraderie of touring – being with the band and crew in a foreign country is like going on holiday with your mates but even more fun because it’s free and there’s a party every night! To be honest, I was never crazy about the studio. That was much more Emma’s environment. I enjoyed writing, and got a real satisfaction and kick out of creating a song. But, to be honest, rehearsing and demoing and recording it seemed like a bit of a drag. Once I’d written the song I just wanted to get out there and play it!

VP: What’s your fondest memory of being a member of Lush?

MIKI: Loads of memories – well, there would be! Most of the best are from playing gigs. Even supporting The Darling Buds when we were crammed three in the back of an ex-British Telecom Dodge Commer going from York to Glasgow at 3am on a damp mattress with my legs up on the bass drum and an arm keeping the guitars from falling on my head. Even that was fun. Right up to supporting Jane’s Addiction at a fucking hockey stadium in America where I thought we were going to get bottled off and murdered and was virtually in tears I was so scared but the kids crowd-surfed and cheered and were very sweet and gentle with us! Actually, as much as recording always seemed a bit of a drag for me, I really did enjoy doing “Lovelife.” This is no slag off of any of the other producers we worked with, but I think because Pete Bartlett (our live sound engineer) recorded it, there was no nervousness and I didn’t feel so self-conscious about making suggestions (and being a crap musician and singer!) so I could actually relax a bit and have fun. I loved that we got our friends involved (doing back-up vocals, Jarvis duetting, our mate Melissa doing speaky bits on Last Night, Dan from Kitchens of Distinction coming in to do a load of percussion, etc) and mucked about with silly instruments (the toy harmonica keyboard on Ciao, the dripping water on Papasan etc). It was a proper laugh!

Eric Matthews

VP: You have a new album out yourself very soon which is getting rave reviews and the Seinking Ships featuring Miki in the pipeline do you have titles as yet

ERIC: My album is called The Imagination Stage. The Seinking Ships debut LP is called Museum Quality Capture

VP: With regard to The Seinking Ships project how would you describe the music?

ERIC: It’s basically a new wave cinema score. By new wave, I mean to reference the early and mid-80’s UK stuff. I am quite a bit older than Christopher but for a kid, he was pretty hip with his love of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, Cocteau Twins, etc… So, he came out of his teens with some of the same influences as me. Together we are making a brave new kind of instrumental music. And with Miki doing the featurette vocals, on those songs it really comes off as new wave adventure pop.

VP: When you writing the songs did you have Miki in mind, or once the songs were completed did you then think “wouldn’t it be great to get Miki Berenyi to guest on these tracks?”

ERIC: More of the latter. We had the songs written and done more or less and then we decided that it would be cool to have a lady singer on a few of the songs. We made a short list of singers that would be great for the project and contacted Miki first. Thankfully, she already knew about my music and was “honored” to be asked. So, I picked the 3 songs that seemed best suited for a lead vocal and wrote the vocal parts especially for her, in her range, etc. I felt like Burt Bacharach and Miki was my D. Warwick.

VP: I reckon you’ll certainly have the eternal gratitude of fans of Miki for tempting her back into the studio. Given that Miki’s been away from the biz for quite a while, where you confident in your powers of persuasion?

ERIC: I am a pretty good pitchman but no, not exactly confident. I didn’t know the conditions of her retirement at the time. So, looking back, and now knowing her situation better I am pretty shocked that she got on board. We are honored to be the project to bring her back. But what can I say; she more or less agreed to do it without even hearing the music just based on my reputation. I think that’s how it was. But when I sent her the package of music she really came back flipped out and in love with the sound.

VP: Yourself and Christopher (Sienk) seem to be big fans of British music, who would you say are your fave Brit bands?

ERIC: Christopher will have his own list but my top faves are –
The Damned, The Cure The Smiths Depeche Mode Joy Division New Order Killing Joke Japan Cocteau Twins Dead Can Dance Kissing The Pink Duran Duran Tears For Fears ABC Tones On Tail Adam and the Ants Gary Numan …all that genius shit

Christopher Seink:

VP: How did you and Eric hook up?

CHRIS: I knew Eric had done session work in the past; so I reached out and asked if he would session in on a few tracks I was working on. I figured three things could happen. He’d ignore me, he’d decline, or by some miracle he’d listen to the sessions which happened to be the case.

VP: What other musical projects have you been involved with in the past?

CHRIS: I played in and around the Cleveland/Akron area with a few bands in the 90’s. It was lot of fun back then. I kind of miss those days of recording on a TASCAM 4 track, making demo cassettes recorded on a boom box, and then doing the sleeve artwork at the 24hr Kinko’s at 2am. If I had to do that now I’d be hating life. Kids have it easy these days. Uh-oh…. I am sounding old.

VP: You’ve previously stated you where a big Lush fan how does it feel to be involved in working with Miki.

CHRIS: It has been a real exciting moment for me. It’s still a little hard to believe that Miki sang on a few tracks that I was a part of. If someone would have told me, while I was watching Lush play live in Cleveland back in the 90’s, that Miki would be singing on some tracks of mine that Eric Matthews co-wrote and produced I would have laughed and laughed.

VP: Eric’s described the music of Seinking Ships but how would you describe it?

CHRIS: Cinematic, dreamy, jazzy, dark, pop

VP: Are there any future plans for Seinking Ships, I believe this is a studio only project, is it a one -off or may there be other projects in the future? and what are your own musical plans?

CHRIS: Yeah I am sure there will be more Seinking Ships tracks in the future but we’re taking it once step at a time. I am looking forward to a 2008 release of the Seinking Ships LP.

VP: Which other British bands would you say have been a major influence on you?

CHRIS: RIDE, PULP, SWERVEDRIVER, CURE, WIRE, IRON MAIDEN, early VERVE, JOY DIVISION

“Light from A Dead Star” Lush

 

Don’t miss Part 2 –  – EXCLUSIVE
“A Pictorial History Of Lush.” Miki has kindly shared her personal photo collection with us, complete with notes and anecdotes . PART 2 HERE

Links

Myspace

We Miss Miki

Light From A Dead Star Lush Fan Site

Lush/Sing- Sing Yahoo Group

Sienking Ships

Eric Matthews

Under The Radar Interview

CD’s/Downloads


All releases available on the 4AD website

Videos

Nothing Natural By Lush

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=Wt6Ubq0gL_w&amp;rel">http://youtube.com/watch?v=Wt6Ubq0gL_w&amp;rel</a>

Ladykillers By Lush

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=aReEwt_Z0kU&amp;rel">http://youtube.com/watch?v=aReEwt_Z0kU&amp;rel</a>

“Smile” Flat 7 & Miki Berenyi

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=_5ClsBZ08IA&amp;rel">http://youtube.com/watch?v=_5ClsBZ08IA&amp;rel</a>

Sweetness And Light By Lush-Live

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=oPaB7C0ySN8&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=oPaB7C0ySN8&amp;feature</a>

Interview with Davina McCall

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=lnQKCaEv5eg&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=lnQKCaEv5eg&amp;feature</a>

Miki: “With the middling chart success of Single Girl and Ladykillers, we found ourselves appearing on the kind of TV shows we’d never before been invited onto. There was an absolutely horrendous show called Pyjama Party which we had to endure, the premise being a girlie sleepover with gossip and beauty tips in babydoll nighties – like, basically, my worst f*cking nightmare. We had to have face packs put on us by a pair of transvestites. Originally they wanted us to try out tantric sex exercises, but we decided that whoredom was one thing – rape and buggery another. However, Katie Puckrick, the presenter of that desperate programme, was actually a very likable and friendly woman who came into the dressing room for a chat and was very charming and welcoming. Our appearance on Dear Davina was just as reluctant, but just to add to the misery we also got to experience the famous Davina charm which basically doesn’t exist until the camera gets switched on. No interaction, no hello, no nothing. And then ACTION and you get the chummy, cosy façade.  Frankly, I can’t bear the woman. Her entire interview technique is geared toward making herself look good and she clearly doesn’t give the slightest shit what your answer will be. No wonder she got so famous!

 

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Discussion59 Comments

  1. Never heard of Miki or Lush till now_ OMG they r sooo awesome_which album is best tostart offwith ?

  2. “Sweetness n Light” is so beautiful, Ladykillers , so funny Childcather so disturbing. Lush really did have it all “MIKI COMEBACK” we love ya !

  3. VPME,

    It is nice to read that someone feels exactly the same way that I do about Miki Berenyi. She is dearly missed by myself and obviously by many others. I was fortunate enough to have interviewed her for a zine during Lush’s Lovelife and I must say that it was one of the greatest moments of that period of my life.

    Since you have no “world shattering event” or “personal catharsis” tales to share about Lush’s music I wonder if you wouldn’t mind my sharing one that has left me scarred for life (hoping, of course, that this isn’t akin to one of those moments where someone whips out their guitar and says, “Here’s a song I’ve been working on…”).

    Around the time of the release of Spooky, my girlfriend at the time and I loved to drop ecstasy. On one particular night we had taken some ecstasy that was extraordinarily potent. On ecstasy, music sounds good—really good—and listening to brilliant music on ecstasy is an experience that is just that; pure ecstasy. We were listening to the ever-so-brilliant Spooky and as we had just run out of beer, I did what any die-hard Lush fan would do, I sent my narcotized girlfriend all by her lonesome into the snowy, cold bowels of lower downtown Denver to fetch more. Now it was just me and Miki. Her vocals were angelic in my head and I was compelled to show her how much I appreciated—no adored—her voice and her music. I started the CD over. “Sweetness and Light” echoed about the empty warehouse that was my home. I found a razor blade, removed my shirt and began to pay my homage with slow, calculated cuts to my chest. S. I. N. G. Then a long slash to underscore. Continuing below and even deeper with L. O. V. E. (this was before the Pulp song mind you). My girlfriend returned to find my chest and abdomen bloody; she was both horrified and smitten.

    Being much older now, I can see how ridiculous it all seems (especially sending my ex-girlfriend out high and alone), yet I still cannot bring myself to regret seeing that scar every time I look into the mirror. Lush’s music means that much to me. (OK, it sounds creepy no matter how I try to wrap it up.)

    [BTW in the third to the last sentence of your first paragraph, you have a typo.]

  4. vonpip

    Ouch ! I mean yeah I love Miki, I even wrote her name on my arm with a biro once. But the old Richie Manic razorblade seems a little painful. But hey, to quote Jeremy Beadle ” people do the funniest things” Rumour has it Jeremy was a Pixies fan and such was his delight at hearing “Debaser” his hand withered.! Take care !

  5. Ive always thought this was one of the best music blogs on the net. now I know it is Give VPME a medal. Miki’s my hero, if you can persuade her back you will be a genius
    Luve u miki x

  6. Briliant, Brilliant Love it -Miki was a wondrful singer and guitarist despite her protestations!xxxxxx

  7. I look forward to hearing the Seinking Ships tracks to hear Miki do her thang again.

    On another note – is it just me, or has Emma gotten the shaft in this whole thing? She pulled her weight in Lush too, no?

  8. A million thanks to you Andy for this brand new interview and, even more, for the Lush’s cover of “Chirpy Chirpy Tchip Tchip” (looool) : I’ve been desperately looking for this, at least I can say I know it ! What is surprising in this early track (in the band’s story) is its sound, kind of it could have been recorded much later. There’s two (at least) levels of reading in it : as a funny 70’s number one cover, and as a gorgeous sounding Lush track – definitely lovely and addictive !
    I still believe that the fire glowing inside Miki – the love of music – is alive and well, so if I was wrong, despite what she told you, she wouldn’t have recorded stuff with Seinking Ships I’ve been looking forward to listen to. And I’d be glad to hear again her wonderful 12-strings sound as well.

  9. vonpip

    This was a Miki intreview, as I’ve mentioned Miki was a big hero of mine , but that’s not disrespecting Emma. Lush wouldn’t have been Lush without Emma’s amazing contribution too. and of course I appreciate it…

  10. vonpip

    Part 2 coming soon – Im hoping to upload some new Pics everyday next week . Watch this space – And in relation to Cassies question start with “Spooky” Wink and be amazed !

  11. Hermoine Vegas

    WOW, take the best blogger,the best singer from the finest band_result? perfection!!
    Thanks Andy and Miki, this is wonderful

  12. I hear ya, Andy. This interview was good to read. I look fwd to hearing Miki on the Seinking Ships project.

    One more thing – Andy, y go to show that if a person comes sincere, they can usually get what they ask for, no? Hell yeah!

    Take it easy!

  13. Fascinating read.

    I’m happy to see she is a doting mother to her children, and has moved beyond the “shit business” – showing there is more to life than being a “rock star”. However, like a moth to a flame, we can never completely let it go. Nor should we.

  14. This has made me happy thanks Miki and Andy. You got to interview her now can you ask her to pick up a guitar again?

  15. totally agree with the person who made the comment about Emma….actually I always kind of favored her….but they were great together no doubt…..

  16. Great interview-fun reminiscing about Lush. Any guesses on the identities of bachelors 1 and 3 on Ladykillers?

  17. vonpip

    “Any guesses on the identities of bachelors 1 and 3 on Ladykillers?”

    Yes

    No 3 That Rentals chap. No 1 I’m thinking John Humphries

  18. “I miss Miki!” . . . how I professed, yea, cried out those words back in ’05 when “Smile” came out and I underwent a massive “lushassaince” and re-lived all the emotional solar-storms that I experienced via Lush back in the heady days of the first half of the ’90s. Now I’m heartened to find that many others feel the same . . . good work, thanks for doing all this. Now if Miki returned to song and stage I would be amongst the loudest to cheer her on in a hero’s welcome, but that’s totally up to her and I’m gladdened to read that she’s getting on in life just fine with her family and a “proper job” . . . imagine having her as a co-worker!

  19. Miki.
    I guess we miss you so much because your music *ended* with Lush. No chance for goodbye. We’d feel differently if you’d carried on in some shape or form.
    I totally, utterly adored you growing up – so not hearing anything at all was quite sad – we’re really glad you’re happy, though! I guess that as fans, we hoped, waited. Then we Googled, forgot, remembered and hoped some more… so the interview and upcoming project is a wonderful surprise.
    I feel like taking you to a quiet corner and explaining to you, slowly, just how good you were. Miki: we *know* that you are no Jimi Hendrix, but that is not the point. Obviously, we do not own you, but we *are* your fans. If I could compel you to write music and sing again, I would – but I can’t. I guess that’s what records are for. Your music is a part of me now, anyway… so thank you.

    One love.

  20. In reference to Robert M’s post:

    Emma did indeed pull her own weight in Lush and in reading Miki’s comments, it seems as if Miki was acknowledging that, mentioning how savvy she was in the studio. The attention is just what you’d expect the lead singer of a band to get, no?

    Well, I’m really glad to hear that Miki is happy and content after the music industry. Lush’s early and untimely demise is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to bear as a music fan, and it’s just nice to see Miki one more time gracing us with her musical presence. I understand how life zooms forward and there’s always a bill to pay, an engagement to meet and an obligation to fill but as ikemstar said, Miki was *very* good. Better than she probably gave herself credit for!

    I’d like to hope that this isn’t the last we see of Miki, but if it is I still consider myself lucky to be aware of Lush’s body of work. It is an honor and a privilege to be a Lush fan, always will be.

  21. Cheung Yin Lun

    I’m a big fan of Lush from Hong Kong. I heard their music when I was 14 (I’m 25 now). I’m surprised and touched to read this interview. I really hope that I can hear her to play music again. Anyway Miki, I wish you happy all the time. Thank you for grew up with me. Shock)

  22. Lush were one of the best bands ever – exceptional, phenomenal talent. I listen to Split, Spooky and Gala regularly, and one of my prized possessions is a limited edition copy of For Love with a gatefold sleeve. That’s another thing – the art-work, in particular the early stuff, was utterly exquisite – and so perfect for the music.
    I wasn’t massively keen on their change in direction for Lovelife but there are some great songs on it (e.g. Runaway, The Childcatcher and Heavenly Nobodies) and some superb B-sides to be found on the singles (e.g. Dear Me and Piledriver).
    I became a huge fan in 1991 (three things clinched it for me: their name, “that” hair and, above all, Deluxe) but I was only 13 so most of my mates didn’t know who the hell I was on about! Yep, being a Lush fan for someone of my age in the years that they were together was a rather solitary experience! So it’s lovely to discover all these like-minded people and it’s really cool to spot 18 and 19-year-olds (e.g. on Facebook) who are just discovering them. Thanks to the interweb, I don’t think they’ll ever be forgotten.
    As for Miki, what a talent. She says she couldn’t sing, couldn’t play guitar, didn’t have a melody writing talent like Emma’s etc, none of which are true, but she can’t argue that she was a brilliant lyricist. The Childcatcher stuns me, as does Light From a Dead Star.
    Some musicians wear their heart on their sleeves a little too much and it’s not always necessary for them to disclose the amount of information they do, others’ lyrics are far too obscure all together. Miki, however, got the balance right…

  23. Glad to have run across this article. Listening to Lush brings back a lot of good memories. I remember seeing the video for De-Luxe on MTV’s 120 minutes (I think) circa 1990-91. The music caught my attention and, of course, the hair. A couple decades later(!) and I still consider Lush one of my favorite bands. Got to see them once in Chicago mid-90’s and my daughter uses my old concert shirt as her pajamas. “Light From A Dead Star” – incredible song.

    I’d love to hear her record something of her own again. I’d donate a few bucks to the “Miki Needs to Pay The Bills So She’ll Record A Song Fund” for a song once in a while. Well, I would if it existed.

  24. Darren Thomas Phillips

    “Miki and her partner Moose where long time fans”

    Dude,

    That should be “were” – ’tis a very easy mistake to make ,VP.

    (and I love Josie’s singing too, c-c-c-can’t you see?)

    As a journo & fellow Lush git, I wanted to point it out as I know what it’s like writing when you’re excited and under the gun but not spellchecking loses cred, kid!

    Lotsa love and thankyou for an EXCELENT read otherwise!

    Stay beautiful!

    Dxxx

  25. vonpip

    A mistake? Were? I mean, where ? Werewolf ? Where wolf ? There ! There wolf !

    haha Cheers dude

  26. So good to hear from Miki via your interview. Their music is still in heavy rotation on my stereo! I’ve even wriiten a few Lush song knock-offs back in the day. Maybe I should dust one off and present it to my band…. Hmmmm.

  27. Well there’s some answers to what Miki did next!.. great that she seems to be contented with life – but obviously if she could just climb back on stage an oblige us all that’s be great.. what you think MikI?!! I saw Lush in Dublin, I think in ’96 and it is still far and away the best concert I’ve ever seen….

  28. Pingback: Lush, cover of N.M.E 20th Oct, 1990 « N.M.E. & Melody Maker

  29. Pingback: lush inerview 2008 « kakyo reads

  30. Great read… loved Lush…

    She talks about being married with kids, and working in an office or someplace, but can you tell a bit more? Who did she marry, what kind of work is she doing and what city does she live in? Just curious…

    Please do Justine Frischmann next Smile

  31. Pingback: The Chemical Brothers on the cover of Melody Maker, 20th January 1996 « N.M.E. & Melody Maker

  32. Pingback: Miki’s Photo Album-Miki Berenyi Interview Part 2 « The VPME

  33. just come to this side by accident (i was searching for an ian ashbury photo for a joke) – had to rummage for the lush albums and now it´s a great saturday afternoon listening to the albums – great band – thanks for this side

  34. Ahhhh, Lush… takes me back. Great songs, great live band and Miki made it even more worthwhile. She was the reason I went out and bought a Rickenbacker 330/12, then later a 360/6.

    I remember getting up on stage at one gig with a load of crowd surfers (Town and Country Club possibly?) and stealing a kiss off her…

    Glad she’s happy with what she’s doing now, would love to see Lush reform, but I doubt things could ever be the same without Chris.

  35. I was still in puberty and Lush was such a great soundtrack for that moment, shagged for the 1st time listening to Spooky. Thank you for making those songs, Miki. You made life such a hopeful transition to adulthood, taxes, bills, and x-wives. All that disappears when I watch you on YouTube. Come Back. You have another generation to bless. And you are needed now more than ever.

  36. There were a lot of musicians on the scene in the early 90’s, but not too many artists. Lush were definitely the latter. As much as I would like to see Miki back on the scene, I just glad to hear she’s happy and living it up with her family. Ciao!

  37. Dave (different from previous)

    It was very nice to find this update (via Wikipedia discussion page); I’d been wondering where Miki had gone to. Can’t help being fascinated by someone who wrote so much intelligent and insightful lyrics coupled with such great music. IMHO, Lovelife may be the top-to-bottom best album I’ve ever heard, Topolino has a lot of good stuff, and I certainly like some of the older tunes a lot (admittedly shoegaze for the most part not really being my thing). Duly appreciating the warnings about the perils of hero-worship, with which I heartily agree, nevertheless, one can’t help but thinking that, at the very least, Miki would be an excellent person with whom to share a beer or six, or a road trip. Indeed, is it not one of the real pleasures and spices of life to have a great friend or intriguing acquaintance whose company and conversation you really value and enjoy, but whom you’re not at all confident you’d want to (choose one or more, as is appropriate) let choose your political leaders / be business partners with / date / marry / let babysit your kids / trust with money / let borrow your car? Without knowing Miki, I get the same sense I got with my college friend Alex H., with whom I could easily have a fascinating four-hour conversation, cross a wide range of subjects, learn a lot (more insight than facts), and thoroughly enjoy the whole process, despite the fact that we disagreed at least as often as we agreed.

  38. Hello,

    Fantastic interview. I rediscovered Lush recently and was happy to see this.

    Cheers,
    dutchsoc

  39. Damn! Someone else that remembers Les McQueen from League of Gentlemen! The scene where he plays “Bye Bye Baby” on hospital radio for a 16 year old in for an abortion still has me in stitches.
    Good on ya Miki, long life and good health……..

  40. Pingback: Something For The Weekend -w/e 9th April 2010 « The VPME

  41. Pingback: Lush-Mad Love-Twenty Years On ! « The VPME

  42. hi i was into lush accually i thought emma had started this band after leaving a more famous band kind of like n.order. but i was 16 yrs old and mistaken about it does anybody remember a lush gig in 1992 or 94 where emma sung most of the songs and while miki had a cold and she couldnt or her mic goes out while their playing on a medium stage possible daylight show hotel,civic, convention center show it was filmed i believe for mtv news or entertainment news type program. i got into lush i believe 1990 with madlove but i thought that was the name of the album/cd and spooky the song name but it wasnt so i eventually got it right i wanted to buy the album cd but i didnt or couldnt get the money together at the time i wanted to buy it i was buying other things or just couldnt get the money together when i wanted to buy it. the price back then was 12.99 or you could find it if your lucky for 9.99 us.l

  43. I liked the interviews and photos very much; I agree with the comments re Emma though; as she wrote half of their material (and all four members were as much a part of Lush as the other… ) Emma and Miki were BOTH gifted songwriters and I was fortunate enough to have met them at a few gigs and even got very drunk with them after a gig in Liverpool Feb92 –
    it is great to read that so many people are still discovering Lush and loving what they hear, I was working in an independent record shop in the UK when Scar was released, when Mad Love came out, we sold soooo many copies, i don’t think there’s been a day since March 1990 that I haven’t played De-Luxe, arguably their finest song – which (all respect due to Miki) Emma wrote…

  44. Only just discovered this. Thanks for the interview. Great to read an interview without the usual rock journalistic indulgences that perpetuated most of the interviews with the bands during the time. Nice Smile

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