Poptone, The Great Comeback!

There’s certainly only one Poptone, the latest incarnation of the Bauhaus family and probably one of the greatest post-punk comeback stories of all time! They are Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins (founding members of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, and Tones On Tail) along with Diva, Kevin’s very talented and beautiful daughter. They kicked off their summer tour after a very successful two night exclusive set at The Swing House Studios in L.A in April. The tour’s set list is mainly comprised of songs by Tones On Tail, a short-lived side project between Daniel, Kevin and Glenn Campling (Bauhaus roadie and art school friend) ending in 1984. The set list also includes; David Bowie’s ‘Cracked Actor’ (added later in the tour), Elvis Presley’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, and Adam and the Ants, ‘Physical ’, with some Love and Rockets and Bauhaus to round it off.

When speaking of the Tones on Tail of yesteryear, Daniel’s sultry voice and driving guitar that’s interwoven between otherworldly rhythmic dark ethereal pop was nothing less than brilliant. With so many different and often times experimental textures of sound it was a very groundbreaking and favorite project of Daniel’s. Perhaps this is the reason for wanting to bring it back to life after a 7-year hiatus from playing live shows. “We were a motley crew of individuals who essentially wanted to sound like a band from Venus or Mars!” I would even go so far as to add the Planet Girl!

Diva photos by Judy Lyon

Now seasoned musicians, seeing Poptone live was reminiscent of the Bauhaus reunion in 1998 at The Hollywood Palladium for The Resurrection Tour. Other noteworthy shows that I’ve had the opportunity to see include; Bauhaus at The Fillmore in San Francisco, all hallows’ eve 2005, Love and Rockets making an appearance together for The Joe Strummer Tribute in L.A in 2007 after an eight year hiatus and the Love and Rockets warm up for Coachella at The Glass House in Pomona. Poptone, in my opinion, was one of the best live shows ever performed by any of the incarnations over the years.

Back in the beginning of March, 2017 I had the opportunity to witness some of the early stages of this reunion with a radio interview and Kevin needing my help to find his snare drum in a sea of storage unit equipment. “Do you have any photos of my black drum kit? The one I used on Resurrection Tour and beyond? I’m specifically trying to identify the snare drum. I’m hoping its black and gold and not silver. My kit was stored for 8 years and now snare got mixed in with about 30 other snare drums”. Happy to help, I dig through my archives and send over a few photos. Kevin Replies, “OMG! These are perfect. Actually the first one shows the snare really clearly. The storage place is sort of trying to lay claim to it! But now I have perfect proof it’s mine thank you so so much!” The band usually comes to me when they need a photograph as I’ve been documenting them for many years, thankfully I was able to help save the snare from the grips of storage so the tour could go on!

Kevin Haskins photo by Judy Lyon

When I called in for the radio interview to speak with Daniel about his latest project, unbeknownst to me, Poptone would be rehearsing in a studio in L.A. and luckily Kevin and Diva were also present. “so go on Kev, give em another sound…Kev’s gonna show off now he’s got another sound coming…ready one two three”. One of the first things I heard was Kevin tinkering around with Tones on Tail, GO! They were trying to get all of the original sounds as close as possible on a mix of modern and older equipment. After seeing a recent live show in Portland, Oregon they pulled it off successfully and then some! The passion was and is back in the music with pinpointed ferocity. I’ve seen glimmers of this passion in the past, but not for an entire show! “Poptone was even more incredible than expected, pure perfection!” and “simply blew our minds” are just a couple of examples from fans who have been in attendance. Put this on your list of ‘not to be missed’ this summer and beyond!

David J has had nothing but well wishes for Poptone and sent me this note after listening to my March interview, “Daniel sounded like he is in a good head space which pleases me”. David J is also currently on tour in support of his new release ‘Vagabond Songs’, Last Hurrah Records, limited edition gatefold double vinly LP set. For tour information or where to purchase ‘Vagabond Songs’, http://www.davidjonline.com, http://www.lasthurrahrecords.com.

Daniel Ash photos by Judy Lyon

Poptone is currently on tour and continuously adding new dates along the way. They are also holding a Pledge music campaign in support of the tour. Items being sold include; a live album download, signed tour posters, totes, t-shirts, Daniel Ash art prints, actual tour laminates worn by the band, and drumsticks signed by Kevin Haskins. For further information please go to http://www.danielashmusic.com/ and for the Pledge music campaign http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/poptone.

Daniel Ash and Diva photos by Judy Lyon

To hear one of the very first Poptone interviews 3-3-2017 go here..