This fantastic Under the Radar interview with Lush vocalist/guitarist Miki Berenyi, who’s long been out of sight (and refers to herself as “a 40-year-old office employee with graying hair who’s still struggling to shift the weight from her last pregnancy”), made me flash back to Lollapalooza ’92, when the band was first on the bill–and in the unenviable position of playing right before Pearl Jam just as “Jeremy” had crested. The crowd (well, except for me) was, needless to say, not in the mood to hear Lush’s dreamy pop, but Berenyi and fellow Lusher Emma Anderson took their heckling in stride, sassing the drunk-on-their-own-dudeness Long Island guys back and even shutting them up at points. Anyway, in this chat, Berenyi recalls the good, the repellent, and the bittersweet of her Lolla experience:
Lollapalooza was a genuine rollercoaster. I did find it difficult to accept the astonishingly macho attitudes–I remember [Red Hot Chili Peppers'] Anthony Kiedis (I think it was the first night of the tour!) inviting me to come along with the band to “The Ballet.” I didn’t realise he meant a strip club–I genuinely thought they were off to see Swan Lake! Thankfully, I was enlightened and I declined. ‘Why the hell would I want to go to a strip club?!’ I thought. And there was a lot of use and abuse of groupies. I guess everyone involved would say that the girls were willing participants, but a naïve ‘nobody’ is likely to overstep their normal boundaries of their behaviour if they think they will get attention from someone they idolise, and that can lead to rather sordid and upsetting situations ripe for exploitation. That said, there was a genuine sense of euphoria and enjoyment on the tour. Despite a tiny bit of factional bickering, everyone really seemed to muck in and get involved in making the whole experience a memorable and immensely enjoyable one–rather than, say, calling their business manager to see how much the tour had improved their album sales. As a result, no one was afforded star status–we were all in it together. It had the genuine feeling of a travelling circus. I absolutely bloody loved it! Of course, all my memories of Lush are shot through with some sadness as they remind me that Chris [Acland] is no longer here. We had a weird bar count in a couple of songs–the break in “Sweetness and Light” and the one in “Superblast!”–and it was my job to give Chris the nod when the drums had to kick in again. I’d turn away from the mic, look round at him, and he’d always pull some silly face or be laughing hysterically at something. It makes me feel bereft to think that those days–and that person–are gone.
Acland committed suicide in 1996, and Berenyi says in the interview that it’s unlikely the band would go on without him; presumably that means a reunion tour is out as well. Here’s the other song with the weird bar count that Berenyi references:
Lush’s Former Singer Reminisces on Britpop [Under The Radar]