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What we do in the shadows: an oral history of 80s goth

Bauhaus on the set of the Ziggy Stardust video
(Image credit: Fin Costello)

The 80s was the decade when musically anything went. From the preening poseurs of the New Romantic movement to the sonic extremists of the grindcore scene, it was a kaleidoscope of sounds and styles. 

Few genres were as celebrated and reviled at the same time as goth. Crawling from the suburbs and provincial cities of the UK, this was the poker-faced antidote to the yuppie decade. 

The media mocked it relentlessly, although its most famous bands – The Cure, The Cult, the Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission, Bauhaus, Siouxsie And The Banshees – made the leap to become household names. 

There also was a generation of bands who never got the recognition they deserved, among them The March Violets, Flesh For Lulu, UK Decay, Alien Sex Fiend and Balaam And The Angel. 

Today, goth’s tentacles have crept into mainstream culture, influencing everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Tim Burton. Forty years after its birth, it’s time to give this ultimate outsider scene the respect it deserves.

Goth eventually became an amalgam of unlikely influences: the theatrical glam of Bowie and Bolan, the unhinged garage rock of The Stooges, the nihilistic electro-noise of Suicide, even the cavernous echo of dub reggae. But, like so many other subcultures, it all initially sprang from punk.

Roger Nowell (Skeletal Family bassist): Like everybody else, I got into music in 1977 cos we all thought we could be in punk bands. But punk burned itself out pretty quickly.

Nik Fiend (Alien Sex Fiend): After the punk thing, there was a three-or-four-year period where you had Bauhuas, the Birthday Party, The Cramps, Killing Joke. My mind was wide open, just soaking it up like a sponge. 

Wayne Hussey (the Sisters Of Mercy guitarist/ The Mission frontman): I can’t remember the first time I heard the word ‘goth’. It might have been a word that had been bandied around about Joy Division or the Banshees or The Cure.

Siouxsie And The Banshees and The Cure had formed in 1976, in the throes of punk. But by 1979, both bands had moved beyond their scrappy beginnings to unknowingly help usher in this new movement with their respective second albums: The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds and the Banshees’ Join Hands.

Siouxsie Sioux (Siouxsie And The Banshees singer): My first love affair with a record was with John Leyton’s Johnny Remember Me [1961]. It had these amazing, ghostly backing vocals, a great melody, and it was about a dead girlfriend, basically. 

Steven Severin (Siouxsie And The Banshees bassist): We’d described Join Hands as ‘gothic’ at the time of its release, but journalists hadn’t picked up on it. Certainly, at that time we were reading a lot of Edgar Allan Poe and writers like that. A song like Premature Burial from that album is certainly gothic in its proper sense. 

Robert Smith (The Cure singer/guitarist): With Seventeen Seconds, we honestly felt that we were creating something that no one else had done. With [landmark 1979 single] A Forest, I wanted to do something that was really atmospheric. 

Nik Fiend: [The Banshees’ third album] Juju definitely had goth elements. It was quite progressive and dark. 

Steven Severin: If Juju had a horror theme to it, it was psychological; nothing to do with ghosts and ghouls. We were quite confident with the image we were putting across, and were starting to play with it a bit. 

Siouxsie Sioux: Juju had a strong identity, which the goth bands that came in our wake tried to mimic, but they simply ended up diluting it. They were using horror as the basis for stupid rock’n’roll pantomime. There was no sense of tension in their music.

The Cure and Siouxsie And The Banshees both played a significant part in the genesis of this new movement. But if one band warrant the accolade Godfathers Of Goth, then it’s Bauhaus. Formed in the comically un-gothic environs of Northampton, they arrived with theatrical flourish, all razor-sharp cheekbones and crow’s-nest hair. The title of their first single gave the game away: Bela Lugosi’s Dead.

Peter Murphy (Bauhaus singer): We were the anthesis of everything that was fashionable then: all that screaming-about-nothing protest that was punk. 

Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus drummer): We were the kids who didn’t fit in at school. 

David J (Bauhaus bassist): Our sound, and to a degree our aesthetic, was stark and stripped-down. Everything was honed as to exclude excess. Which is ironic, as that’s the opposite of gothic. 

Christian Riou (future Claytown Troupe singer): In the autumn of 1979, I saw a copy of Bauhaus’s Bela Lugosi’s Dead with the DW Griffiths Sorrows Of Satan cover, and the title grabbed me. I bought it, and heard music that seemed to pull from everywhere and nowhere but was like a soundtrack to a film I wanted to see. 

Nik Fiend: Bela Lugosi’s Dead was the first time I heard anything that could be classed as ‘goth’, most definitely. 

David J: We were elated and excited that we were capable of conjuring such a beautiful monster. Peter Murphy: It’s very kitsch and tongue-in-cheek, but very serious too. ‘Bela Lugosi’s dead!’ It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

By the early 80s, the tendrils were starting to coalesce into something recognisable. In 1982, soon-to-be-notorious Soho club The Batcave was opened by members of Specimen, a bunch of Bowie-loving freaks recently relocated from the provinces. The Batcave swiftly became the haunt of choice for the scene’s prime movers, from Bauhaus and the Banshees to Alien Sex Fiend, whose cadaverous frontman Nik Fiend doubled as the club’s unofficial mascot.

Olli Wisdom (Specimen singer, Batcave co-founder): Specimen started doing a few shows here and there, and we were constantly being shat on, so we thought we’d establish this thing, which turned out to be the Batcave. It cost us about six hundred pounds to open. 

Nik Fiend: Goth was New Romantic’s dark cousin, and the Batcave was like the poor man’s Blitz club – it was the people who couldn’t afford those posh outfits. It was a stinky place. 

Olli Wisdom: It was in a strip club in Soho, on the fourth floor of a building. It was a gorgeously tacky place. Upstairs they had a little theatre, and downstairs was a total sleaze pit. N

Nik Fiend: You had to go up in a lift that could only carry two people at a time, then you’d walk in through this coffin-shaped door.

Jonny Slut (Specimen keyboard player): It was a light bulb for all the freaks and people like myself who were from the sticks and wanted a bit more from life; freaks, weirdos, sexual deviants… 

Nik Fiend: What attracted me? Alienation. I realised I was not gonna fit into normal society as long as I’ve got a hole in my arse. 

Jonny Slut: At the time, the Batcave wasn’t a doomy, gothy, droney, grungey sort of place. It was more Gotham City than Aleister Crowley. 

Nik Fiend: It was all a mish-mash of music and cultures. Specimen asked me to run it while they were out on tour. I’d be playing Alice Cooper or Cabaret Voltaire or Psychedelic Furs. It all felt like a ball of energy and friction. It made no sense to me at all, which was what I loved. 

Robert Smith: When it first started up I used to go, but I only went a handful of times, mainly because the bar was open till two in the morning. 

Nik Fiend: Alien Sex Fiend played there loads. It was a chance to experiment and free-form. We picked up a load of TVs that people had dumped, knocked the guts out of them, then we’d put heads, hands and cobwebs in them.

This nascent scene wasn’t exclusive to London. In West Yorkshire, the neighbouring cities of Leeds and Bradford were rapidly becoming its twin northern epicentres, home to bands such as the Sisters Of Mercy, The March Violets, Skeletal Family and Southern Death Cult.

Gregor Mackintosh (future Paradise Lost guitarist): I got into goth when I was twelve or thirteen, through my older brother’s record collection: Sisters, Skeletal Family, Southern Death Cult, that kind of thing. Plus a lot of it was from around our area. We’re from Halifax, and it was happening in Leeds and Bradford. 

Simon Denbigh (The March Violets): The London scene was much more eyeliner, a much more fashionable scene; the Leeds club scene was all Gun Club, loads of Bowie, Stooges, all of that kind of stuff, all the post-punk stuff. 

Gregor Mackintosh: With Yorkshire, you have that mixture of the rolling hills and countryside and these industrial blots on the landscape. It has that really romantic side and that really depressed, miserable side. 

Andrew Eldritch (the Sisters Of Mercy): I was in a band when every other person was in a band, maybe because of the Cold War and we didn’t expect to live for long. We didn’t expect employment, because half of us had no skills and the other half didn’t know how to apply the skills that we had, and we reacted to the world because it weighed heavily on us. 

Billy Duffy (Theatre Of Hate/The Cult): The first time I met Ian [Astbury, Southern Death Cult singer/future Cult frontman] he was running through the woods at Keele University, wearing buckskin chaps that he’d made himself and a blanket loincloth he’d wrapped with a belt so it looked like a nappy. And moccasins with bells on them. He looked like Daniel Day Lewis in Last Of The Mohicans, except he jangled when he walked. I thought: “That’s a bit interesting.” 

Roger Nowell: Southern Death Cult appeared. They were mates with Sex Gang Children. Then the Sisters appeared, then we appeared. Then everybody’s running around looking like Bauhaus and it’s good times for everybody.

By the time of Bauhaus’s fourth album, 1983’s Burning From The Inside, they had already split up. But there were plenty of bands ready to step into the breach. The ranks of the goth army swelled, increasingly dramatic and flamboyant names added to the roll call every week: Gene Loves Jezebel, Balaam And The Angel, Fields Of The Nephilim, Dead Can Dance, Salvation…

Wayne Hussey: At the time, the alternative music scene was so broad and all-encompassing. There weren’t the same genres as there are now. It was absolutely exciting. But none of us had any idea that there was a movement starting. 

Gregor Mackintosh: The music had this melancholy, bittersweet edge to it that you didn’t get in normal pop songs that you listened to at twelve or thirteen years old; you would have got angry punk stuff or plain cheesy pop music. This had a darker edge. 

Nik Fiend: Nobody mixed heavy guitar with synth and drum machines like Alien Sex Fiend. Depeche Mode had the synth and the drum machines, but it was a tiddly little sound. I’m talkiing heavy – Girl At The End Of My Gun, Attack, Dead And Buried. Nobody was doing shit like that. 

Jim Morris (Balaam And The Angel): When we started, around 1984, we wanted to create something that picked up on the bands that we liked – post-punk stuff like Joy Division, Magazine, Killing Joke, but also things like The Doors, T.Rex. We were attempting to marry all those kinds of influences and create something that people like us would enjoy on a Friday or Saturday night.

Although the music was still a kaleidoscopic mix of styles, the look was beginning to solidify. In every town there was a cluster of disaffected, black-clad teens and 20-somethings, an array of Siouxsie Sioux or Robert Smith mini-mes.

Robert Smith: You put on eyeliner, and people start screaming at you. How strange, and how marvellous. 

Greg Mackintosh: I used to see people dressed up like Siouxsie around in the shopping centres in Bradford and Leeds when I was a young. You thought: “Wow, they’re really going out on a limb.” 

Nik Fiend: The Alien Sex Fiend look came from mine and Mrs Fiend’s repertoire of clothing. She’d put leopardskin on my leather jacket, or I’d get a T-shirt and slash it up, potato print crosses and skulls. You couldn’t get that stuff off the peg then: “Oh, I want to be a goth this week.” 

Carl McCoy (Fields Of The Nephilim): We had to develop something, because we were such an odd-looking bunch. We didn’t look like a band, so we mixed the Victorian clobber that we tended to pick up from charity shops for everyday wear with some sort of Spanish/Mexican spaghetti western vibe and basically covered it all in a load of shit, so we at least looked like we belonged together. 

Dave Vanian (The Damned): Long before I was in a band, I had black hair and was wearing black clothes and make-up. It’s nothing today, but back then it would get you a whole barrage of insults. I only bought a car because I was getting into so many fights on the train at night. But I stuck with it, because that is who I was. 

Billy Duffy: I got by on a big white guitar and a cool haircut. 

Christian Riou: It was still dangerous to look goth. Often, goth nights were situated in the upstairs room of a bigger club, with casuals wandering in to look at the girls and then starting something with a lad dressed to the nines. 

Roger Nowell: There was a guy in Chester who used to put on bands like us. When people started chicken-dancing at the front, they used to steam in and start thumping people. Like: “What the fuck are you doing?”

The key band in goth’s second wave were the Sisters Of Mercy, formed in Leeds in 1980 by drummer-turned-singer Andrew Eldritch (né Taylor) and guitarist Gary Marx (born Marc Pearman). By 1983, they included bassist Craig Adams and guitarist Wayne Hussey, formerly of Liverpool goth-pop band Dead Or Alive. Few did as much to shape the sound and look of the subsequent goth scene as the Sisters – to their frontman’s eternal chagrin.

Andrew Eldritch: With the Sisters Of Mercy there was no plan. We would certainly have done it differently if it had been done properly. I would probably be like the person from The Darkness or Freddie Mercury, and more confident and more flamboyant. 

Wayne Hussey: I was terribly ambitious. I always wanted to be a pop star. That was the prime motivator for me from the very beginning. 

Andrew Eldritch: We thought we belonged to a bloodline that stretched back through glam to the Stones to Gene Vincent. In our early interviews we name-checked the same people we’d name-check now: Motörhead, Hawkwind, Suicide, The Fall. 

I don’t like being a poster boy for something I wholeheartedly disagree with

Andrew Eldritch

Wayne Hussey: The first time I met Andrew, he was sat in a darkened room, curled up in an armchair. I thought it was a little contrived, but then I’d known a lot of other contrived personas. I’d probably contrived a bit of a persona for myself by that point.

Andrew Eldritch: I had to change my name because of the dude in Duran Duran called Andrew Taylor.

Roger Nowell: We didn’t know the Sisters until they asked us to support them on the Black October tour in 1984. I didn’t know Andrew before and I didn’t know him afterwards. He kept himself to himself. One night where me and him had a little drink and a talk, but it was mainly me and Craig and Wayne.

Thanks to the growing success of the Sisters and their contemporaries, the mid-80s was the point where goth began to come into its own as a scene. The all-powerful weekly music press celebrated and reviled it in equal measure.

Nik Fiend: Goth was a derogatory thing. When we was first around, all the reviews were about “these goth wankers”. ‘Goth’ basically meant ‘shit’. I didn’t mind being called shit. At least you were being called something.” 

Wayne Hussey: We didn’t christen it ‘goth’, it was you lot in the press. 

Roger Nowell: Back in the day, everyone was like: “We’re not a goth band.” 

Kevin Mills (Specimen/Flesh For Lulu): Everybody goes: “Oh yeah, Flesh For Lulu, goth band.” But goth wasn’t really a look then. Flesh For Lulu were really a rock’n’roll band with big hair. Loads of jewellery and make-up and stuff, but essentially a rock band with punk influences and lots more – a lot of soul and country. All kinds. 

Carl McCoy (Fields Of The Nephilim): Goth was architecture to me. The whole ‘goth rock’ thing started in the late eighties. In fact it’s the fans that are categorised as goths. We’re a band, and we fit their idea of ‘goth’. We’re quite a diverse band, but if we’re called a goth band, that’s alright. Why deny it? 

Andrew Eldritch: I’ve got a dictionary with a whole chunk ripped out around the letter ‘G’. I don’t like being a poster boy for something I wholeheartedly disagree with – and, frankly, something we did for one week.

Roger Nowell: We’re all running round dressed in black, calling ourselves Skeletal Family and Sisters Of Mercy, and we wondered why we got labelled ‘goth’.

Punk’s DIY attitude was embedded deep within goth’s DNA. With little major label interest, bands had no option but to sign to indie labels such as 4AD and its hothouse subsidiary Situation 2 – or even start their own label, as the Sisters Of Mercy did with Merciful Release. 

Simon Denbigh (The March Violets): The way it worked in those days was with independent records, and ‘independent’ then meant you doing it yourself. I had a deal with Red Rhino where they paid for you to make the record, and then they’d take most of the profit but give you some back and you’d reinvest or just go: “We want to make another record.” 

It was a good way of doing it. They made an awful lot of money, but we got to do it the way we wanted to, with no interference, make our own decisions, do our own sleeves. 

Roger Nowell: We did the first Skeletal Family record ourselves. We tried to do it for about twenty pence, and it sounded like it. 

Simon Denbigh: Snake Dance was our best-selling single. We bought a Linn drum – which cost three or four thousand pounds at the time at the time. It was the Rolls-Royce of drum machines. Snake Dance was produced by Gil Norton before he was famous. We worked with unknown guys who later became famous. Colin Wilkinson at Driffield, who went on to produce loads of thrash bands. 

Jim Morris: We set up our own label, Chapter 22, with our manager at the time. All our early releases came out on it. The first EP we did stayed in the NME Top 40 for fifty-odd weeks. Once we got signed by Virgin for our first album, The Greatest Story Ever Told, we thought: “That’s it, we’ve made it.” We realised pretty quickly that there was still a lot of work to do.

In 1985, the Sisters Of Mercy released their debut album, First And Last And Always. It reached No.14 in the UK chart. But shortly afterwards, Andrew Eldritch announced that the band would be splitting up – partly the result of friction between him and Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams – after they played a farewell gig at London’s Royal Albert Hall that June.

Wayne Hussey: First And Last And Always was a difficult album to make, but sometimes the end result justified the human relationship you have to endure to get to that point. 

Andrew Eldritch: I like some of the songs on the first album. I’m just not keen on the production or the style of playing or my singing – particularly my singing. 

Wayne Hussey: Andrew was a big figure in my life. Still is, even though I’ve not seen him for years and we don’t have any communication. 

Andrew Eldritch: He was only in the band for a year. We’ve been going for thirty years. Draw your own conclusions from that. 

Wayne Hussey: When I left the Sisters, I went to see Andrew and said: “I’m leaving. I’m going to join up with Craig and form a band.” He wished me luck and asked if I would play on his next album. I said: “Yes, absolutely.” I don’t think he bargained on us getting a band together and making records so quickly.

The band Hussey and Adams formed were called The Sisterhood, until Eldritch rush-released an EP under the same name, forcing them to change it to The Mission. 

Eldritch reconvened the Sisters Of Mercy as a two-person operation featuring himself and American bassist Patricia Morrison, instigating a long-running spat with Hussey that would become one of the decade’s great rivalries. Together with The Cult, who’d had a hit single with 1985’s She Sells Sanctuary, The Mission represented goth’s rock’n’roll wing – in sound and attitude.

Wayne Hussey: Did we want to be Led Zeppelin? I would totally agree with you. 

Billy Duffy: One of the reasons I’d bonded with Ian [Astbury] in the first place was because he’d heard me playing Jimi Hendrix riffs for a laugh, cos it wasn’t allowed. He later told me he’d thought: “That’s very unusual, that somebody would dare to play this forbidden music, without having long hair and flares.” 

Wayne Hussey: Generally my attitude has been, ‘Yeah, it’s fun.’ There’s a faction out there that resent people having fun. There are certain people who think that what we do should be taken seriously. The only thing I’ve taken seriously is the music. Billy Duffy: We were friendly with Wayne, so we invited The Mission to tour with us, sharing a tour bus. It got very messy very quickly.

Wayne Hussey: Within the first twelve months, The Mission become the most talked about alternative band. Reviled as much as we were revered. Oh, the press still hated us. Probably hated us even more because we were getting successful. 

Carl McCoy: I met Robert Plant years ago, and he said: “Keep getting those bad reviews. It’s a good sign – we used to get that with Zeppelin.” That was good encouragement. 

Jim Morris: Fields Of The Nephilim supported us at Stevenage Bowes-Lyon. It was a really early gig for them. Certainly from the start they were a band that considered what they looked like. 

Wayne Hussey: Reading Festival eighty-six was a pivotal gig. We’d released one single, maybe two, and we were fourth or fifth on the bill on the Friday. There were curtains across the stage. I remember putting my head out of the curtains before we started, and this big cheer went up. That was one of those moments I thought: “Wow we’re popular.” 

Jim Morris: We played that year. It was great. Like a gathering of the tribes. 

Wayne Hussey: It was an awful show for us. We weren’t used to playing festivals. We vowed never to play again unless we headlined. And they asked us to headline the next year. Us, Status Quo and Alice Cooper. 

We supported U2 at Elland Road [Leeds FC football ground, in 1987]. We started drinking early and just carried on. By the time we were on stage we were completely pissed. We’d been touted as the new pretenders to the throne and we blew it in front of forty-five thousand people.

A parallel goth scene, dubbed ‘deathrock’, had sprung up in the US in the early 80s, centred on bands such as Christian Death and 45 Grave. But American audiences were hungry for British bands. A steady stream of British groups crossed the Atlantic for much of the decade – and it would ultimately change goth at a genetic level. 

Nik Fiend: America was fucking brilliant. The first time we went over, this car pulls up and I think: “Fuck, we’re gonna get shot.” Then this bloke leans out the window and goes: “Fucking Halloween!” I was, like: “Yes!” 

Billy Duffy: I’d been over to America before, but when we went with The Cult it was different. We went to [hip New York club] Danceteria, and all the cool kids wanted to meet us. America loved us. 

Nik Fiend: We played the Club Masque, which was a heavy-duty gay club. I’m looking like a fucking banker compared to some of the people who turned up there. It was fantastic. 

Billy Duffy: We made Electric with Rick Rubin in America. We were hanging out with the Beastie Boys, people like that. It was a cartoon party album. We were pirates. Like Captain Pugwash. We were having a good laugh on this cartoon pirate ride. 

Wayne Hussey: With The Mission, we had crazy times in Britain and Europe, then we got to America and it was tenfold. We were off the leash. It was the climate of Just Say No. We were the band who Just Said Yes. 

Billy Duffy: The Electric tour was wanton destruction. Tellies out of the window, drinking until you pass out then being stripped naked and left in the elevator of the Holiday Inn.

Wayne Hussey: Me and one of our crew guys, we got into ice, which is kind of like crystal meth but it’s pure. You do a little line and it sends you doolally for three or four days. 

Jim Morris: We supported Kiss at some massive festival in New Hampshire. Sixty thousand-odd people there, the most we ever played to. Kiss breezed into the stage area in a white limousine with a swimming pool in the back. I’m not even making that up.

Wayne Hussey: Musically, part of the problem for The Mission in America was that we fell between the cracks – we weren’t pop enough for the pop stations, we weren’t rocky enough for the rock stations. We never had that one hit that every other band had.

The influence of America irrevocably altered the DNA of goth, propelling it to a commercial pinnacle in the late 80s even as it drifted further from its roots. 

The Sisters Of Mercy’s second album, Floodland, found Andrew Eldritch working with Meat Loaf collaborator Jim Steinman on several tracks and notching up a string of Top 10 hits in the process. 

Even bigger was The Cult’s 1989 Sonic Temple, a full-blown arena-rock album that would sell more than three million copies in the US. Sales of The Cure’s magnificently gloomy Disintegration, released the same year, weren’t far behind it. 

Andrew Eldritch: [The Sisters’ 1987 hit] This Corrosion is ridiculous. It’s supposed to be. It’s a song about ridiculousness. So I called Steinman and explained that we needed something that sounded like a disco party run by the Borgias. And that’s what we got. 

Billy Duffy: I’d gone into another world. You’d see Bon Jovi: “Hi guys, how you doing?” 

Jim Morris: We were leaning towards biker rock with [1988’s second album] Live Free Or Die. I don’t remember thinking: “The Cult has done Electric or Sonic Temple, we want a bit of that.” I think there was a move towards that sort of sound anyway. We come from the Midlands, we were brought up on Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy

Robert Smith: I got really depressed, and I started doing drugs again – hallucinogenic drugs. When we were gonna make Disintegration, I decided I would be monk-like and not talk to anyone. It was a bit pretentious, really, looking back, but I actually wanted an environment that was slightly unpleasant.

Billy Duffy: The Cure turned into the goth Pink Floyd at that point. Good luck to ’em. It worked. 

Carl McCoy: I liked the idea of being a cult act. Huge commercial success didn’t interest me at all. And I had a fear that things were going that way around the time of Elizium, so I split the band up. 

Wayne Hussey: The problem with any youth movement is that when it starts to become more popular, that’s what it starts to lose its essence and vitality and power. That’s what happened at the end of the eighties. 

Billy Duffy: I was believing for a hot minute that we were gonna be the next Led Zeppelin on Sonic Temple. And why wouldn’t I? And [poorly received follow-up album] Ceremony was: “Oh, that’s why you’re not.”

Goth’s boom time was short-lived. As the 80s drew to a close, the musical and cultural landscape in the UK was changing massively. 

Many of goth’s key players had either split up or changed their sound beyond recognition, and the scene was sidelined by the triple threat of late-80s hard rock, acid house and the emerging Madchester movement. But across the Atlantic a new generation of bands were picking up the torch and carrying it into the new decade.

Christian Riou: I was at Nine Inch Nails’ first gig at the China Club in New York, October 1989, and I saw a band that would have been perfect for 1983 in London. There was about forty people in the audience, but it shows the huge international influence of goth. It was taken on by the next generation who, on the whole, would have no knowledge of where it had come from. 

Kevin Haskins: [Nine Inch Nails’] Trent Reznor told me that Bauhaus were a huge influence on him. Kurt Cobain had all our albums. Jane’s Addiction, Marilyn Manson, Al Jourgensen. 

Nik Fiend: I remember someone I knew saying: “I went to see Marilyn Manson, and he’s doing what you’re doing.” And I said: “Mate, anybody is entitled to put on make-up and do fucking rock’n’roll.” Everybody is a bastardisation of what has gone before, whether they are aware of it. That’s a fucking fact. 

Dave Vanian: Tim Burton seems to be working his way through iconic eighties frontmen. Robert Smith: Edward Scissorhands; Dave Vanian: Sweeny Todd. Who’s next? Flock of Seagulls? 

Wayne Hussey: Thirty years ago, no one was going: ‘‘Yeah, in thirty years’ time we’re gonna look back at this and think: “What a great movement.” But that’s what we’re doing. Funny, isn’t it?

Read more: What happened when goth went metal: an oral history