Suede: The Insatiable Ones (2018) - full transcript

Suede's arrival in British music in the 1990s was a phenomenon. Fated as 'The Best New Band in Britain' before they had even released a single, their debut album was the biggest selling for a generation and their emergence and dominance heralded Britpop. Made with full access to the band and their unexpurgated, incredible archive, Suede: The Insatiable Ones is documentary-feature that tells their story with brutal honesty, humour and dignity. Pulling no punches, the film eschews a linear form for a themed journey through Suede's intense career, and its creative and personal highs and lows. Through five chapters it explores: their roots and identity; the rush of success and immediate, infamous internal power struggle and schism, which few thought they could survive; the subsequent commercial apogee and significant international success; the resultant excess and substance abuse; their 'slow painful death' and split; and - ultimately - their recent, brilliant, acclaimed artistic rebirth. Frontman Brett Anderson and the band are joined by a wonderful cast that includes founder member of Suede and Elastica, Justine Frischmann, Suede's early manager Ricky Gervais, early Suede drummer and ex-Smith Mike Joyce, alongside friends, family and collaborators including Richard Osman, iconic designer Peter Saville, and others. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food

I once described
the history of the band

as being like a pram that's been
pushed down a hill.

There was always a hint at the back
of my mind

that our journey could be quite

I've always wanted us to just be a
band on our own.

Sometimes that's worked and sometimes
it's worked against us,

but it's just the path we've chosen.

Suddenly, we were everywhere.

Animal nitrate...

There was just a sense of how far
can this go?

We were much less in control of it
than people might assume.

Suede started, really, when Simon
was in the band

and Bernard was in the band.

And, oh, if you stay...

In the back of my mind, I wanted it
to be about songwriting -

this is what I wanted to do before
I met Brett,

before the band evolved.

I did realise that we were on a kind
of collision course,

that he was always going to leave,
and there was nothing I could do.

They invited me for an audition,

but I didn't think they'd offer me
the job -

that was never gonna happen.

And then it did.

Here they come

The beautiful ones

The beautiful ones...

Well, I don't know why they've
decided this,

but apparently Suede wanted another

There was always a kind of red
button of self-destruction

which has "do not press" above it,

and everyone's going,
"That looks nice."

Simon did always seemed to have a
camera in his hand

in the early days.

At the time, I hated it.

Go away!

But when you see the high points,
and when you see the low points,

I'm really glad that we had it.

When we suddenly appeared,

it felt like it was this very fast,
overnight phenomenon.

But there were many years of horrible

It did feel like the longest ever
overnight success.

I don't think four years is a long
time at all

for any band to kind
of find their way.

Sometimes it can be quite immediate.

I mean, The Smiths, for example,
it was six months later.

I was in a band when I was at
college - I was 20, 21 -

and we were signed,

and it was all over in six months.

I don't think we even gigged.

My experience in Elastica

was that it came together so fast -

the sound came together really fast,
it was really easy.

Suede was the opposite -

it was years of nothing quite working

and things not quite falling into

I don't think we've ever had a plan.

I think we had an idea of a band,

but we didn't really know what to do.

There was a real quite love and

in Mat and Brett's relationship,
for sure.

The reason Suede has gone for so long

is because of the strength of their

I mean, they are like brothers -
they've known each other forever.

I suppose it began back behind our
shoulders there

in the college that we both went to.

I always wanted to be in a band,
from as long ago as I can remember -

just it seeming the most natural
thing that someone should do.


But never seeing anyone who lived
where I did

who could have been in a band,
you know.

You didn't even see people who
looked like they were in a band. No.

Mat had this kind of mystique, kind
of a bit of an aura,

which I kind of noticed from afar.

He sidled up to me and we started
talking about music one day.

You were a goth, really, weren't you?

I don't think there's any way of
getting round it.

There's no beating around the bush,
you were definitely a goth.

You used to have backcombed hair.
A paisley shirt.

And a paisley shirt.

Brett looked like, I don't know,
a '60s B actor.

Well, I had that lemon yellow suit.

I got it in a sale in Topman down in

I think I described myself as looking
like a cut-price Cliff Richard.

Which is probably more accurate!

He was like a rare peacock that I'd
never seen before.

When he walks in, you think,

"OK, this is different to something
I've seen.

"I don't know what I'm seeing, but
it's certainly different."

Somewhere over here there was a sort
of portacabin,

and Mat asked me to be in his band,
which was called Paint It Black.

Music, to me, was absolutely
everything -

it was what I thought about, it was
what I wanted to do.

They were very, very much part of a
gang - they self-identified.

They were the cool kids.

I can remember being intensely

of people like Echo and the Bunnymen,
and The Smiths,

who had these roots,

even if they fought against the

It's like, "You can't really have
your roots here."

And even though Haywards Heath

doesn't have an identity that we were
proud of,

we used the drabness, the mundanity,
the dead-end nature of it

to inspire what we were writing

It became about documenting... this.

But a kind of escape from this,
as well.

That sense of frustration

is borne from being brought up in
places likes this.

You're always peering up the railway

you're always looking to the horizon
for something,

cos it's not there for you.

It must have been very
claustrophobic for them,

I see that, and they couldn't wait
to get to London.

I remember seeing Brett

the day that we were all signing in
for our student IDs at UCL.

He had sort of a long flick,

and he had a pair of earrings and he
had a handbag -

I mean, it was a lady's handbag -

and I had this moment of thinking,
"Is that a boy or a girl?"

And just finding him devastatingly

But I just knew that we were gonna
be together.

Within a few weeks of meeting Brett,

he took me back to his house in
Finsbury Park,

and there was six guys living
there - Mat was one of them.

Justine, I met her as Brett's

before we ever kind of made music

And he brought back this incredible
girl -

just so smart and so funny.

Justine was a huge,
huge influence on me,

in terms of who I became as a person.

If I hadn't have met Justine, I
possibly wouldn't be sitting here,

and absolutely, definitely, in terms
of what Suede became,

even though, when we were first
appeared, she wasn't in the band.

She pushed Suede really hard.

It wasn't a band at that point.

You know, it was three of us messing
about in a bedroom.

But I'm pretty sure I was a big part

of trying to get it out of the

and onto some sort of stage

We'd put an advert in the NME and
we'd met a couple of people.

I remember there were a stream of
really improbable people turning up,

who were either 55,

or full-on punks with huge Mohicans.

And Bernard came over, and he looked
really, really young.

I can remember him asking how old we
were, and saying, "Oh, we're 23,"

and him being kind of like, "Well,
you better get a move on, then."

He sat and played the guitar, and it
just poured out of him.

It was one of those really obvious

"Well, we don't need to look for
anyone else."

That was the moment where it seemed
like we could be really good.

From the very start...

I mean, there's a whole phase before
making the first album,

when we were sort of a different
band, really, and not very good.

They're quite fey, the very early
Suede songs.

It was kind of like, "We really
need a drummer."

I think we thought it was gonna be
really easy.

Justin Welch, who ended up being the
drummer from Elastica,

he was in the band about three weeks,

then we found out that he was in six
other bands.

Mike Joyce contacting us and coming
for an audition

was one of the strangest things that
ever happened to us.

I remember actually sitting in a

and Brett coming up to me with a
handwritten note, saying,

"Mike Joyce wants to audition for
the band."


The way that Bernard and Brett and
Mat worked together,

you know, that was the foundation of
something quite good.

We went up and did
some demos with Mike.

It never would have worked -

we would have been Mike Joyce's new

It was there,

it was just a matter of getting the
right pieces of the jigsaw.

To me, Suede kind of nailed that
with Simon.

I was selling tickets at ULU, at the
box office there,

cos they used to have gigs on up in
the student union bar upstairs,

and my manager there was Ricky.

It's very strange that Ricky Gervais
was involved in any way.

I was always friends with Simon,

I think that was probably a bigger

than me "managing" Suede.

I was a failed musician myself,

and I thought, "Oh, at least it's
doing something to do with music."

And I think literally the only thing
I ever did to help Suede

is I sent the demo tape
to a few A people.

But I remember saying,
"Oh, I'm rubbish at this,"

and the band agreed.

There was no tears.

I was in an OK job in a student
union, helping putting on bands.

Simon was already working in the
ticket shop.

I was in the office making some
posters -

I think Nirvana were playing there -

and they said, "Come and have a
listen to this tape.

"What do you think?"

"Oh, this is fantastic,
this is great,

"but why have you got a drum machine?

"You need to get them a drummer."

I asked if I could get an audition,

and he said, "No, because you don't
wear flares

"and you haven't got a fringe."


Which I was a bit pissed off about.

Simon replaced the drum machine.

So the tightness and the rhythm
took a hit,

but the hair was much funnier,

because the drum machine
had normal hair,

and then this freak comes along,

who can't drum, but has got fucking
funny hair.

Do you remember how to set up your

I do, actually.
I know you have people to do it.

It's pretty easy. I haven't done it
for quite a while.

I just wanted to present this to
you, Simon.

This is the man whose job you took.

- So, are you feeling guilty about that?
- Terribly guilty.

He had a wife and two little drum
machines to support.

Two tom-toms.

This is the contraption that used to
break down in the middle of gigs,

and we did those gigs at...

It was at The Bull and Gate,
wasn't it?

It wasn't a lot of competition,
to be honest.

You were slightly better than
the drum machine.

I got the job, there you go.

Well, thank you, drum machine.

You had your own drums, didn't you?

I did... Well, these are...

These are the drums I had.

It took me two years to buy these
on HP.

And I cleaned toilets in
Stratford-on-Avon for two years,

literally cleaning shit off walls.

I always thought Simon

was a very, very underrated and
slightly ignored element

in Suede's development musically, you
know, what he brought to the picture.

With a different drummer,

Suede could possibly have gone in a
different direction.

You brought in the punky, straight
rocky sort of thing.

Suede started, really, when Simon
was in the band

and Bernard was in the band.

In the back of my mind, I wanted it
to be about songwriting -

this is what I wanted to do before
I met Brett,

before there was any band involved,

and it took about a year and a half
after actually meeting them

for that to evolve.

I went round to Bernard's flat out in
Leyton, in East London,

and he kind of opened the door,

and he had this kind of slightly
wild-eyed expression,

and he kind of ushered me in

and he played me a demo
that he'd made,

and it was basically The Drowners.

The Drowners are supposed to be
children of the revolution -

that's where it came from for me.

Something with big block chords.

I remember rushing back
with this cassette

and working on the song all day and
all night.


Give me a gun


Well, it's for my brother

Well, he writes the line

Runs right down my spine

Say, "Oh, do you believe
in love there?"

I remember when he first played me
The Drowners,

and we both went, simultaneously,
"Yes! That is the song."

You're taking me over

It was like,
"OK, that's a great pop hook."

You're taking me over

And I'd always understood the power
of the hook,

but understanding it and being able
to do it

are very, very different things.

We'd opened a door that had
previously been closed to us

when we wrote that song

... taking me over

I remember waking up in the morning
and running over to the typewriter

to see what was on it a lot,

and often being amazed by this whole
world that was in Brett's head.

He used words that weren't rock

You know, "paracetamol", "leotard",

Although it could be quite

it was real life at the heart of it.

You're taking me over

And so we drown

The sexuality in the lyrics was a
really important thing.

You're taking me over

I always wanted to talk about

in the same way that Lucien Freud
paints the human body -

this sort of, like, stark realism,
slightly uncomfortable,

but kind of, like, very, very real.

Sort of candle-coloured skin under a
fluorescent light.

I remember being at the Premises,

trying it out there for the first

Everything happened at the Premises.

Suede rehearsed here.

That's where I met Damon,
at the Premises -

that was the first
time I ever met him.

We were in this weird and horrible

that Brett and Justine had split up
and she had met someone else,

but she was still in the band.

I don't think it ever would have

Eventually, Justine left.

I don't know how many months it was,
but it was pretty awful.

Just this heavy feeling in

and, you know, Brett was really
having a hard time.

To lose a relationship that's not
just your lover,

but it's someone you're working with,

someone who you're making art with.

At the time, it was very painful,

but it was possibly the best thing
that ever happened to me.

It kind of gave the songs...

... a direction.

Things like Pantomime Horse, you can
hear it in that song.

I was born as a pantomime horse

Ugly as the sun

When he falls to the floor

I was cut

From the wreckage one day

This is what I get

For being that way

I think Brett is very, very good

at not shying away from hard and
unpleasant emotions

in yourself.

When they split, I think you can
hear that.

It kind of enabled me

to tap in to something very primal in
myself -

this sense of loss and grief and
frustration, jealousy,

and all of these things,

which are very, very, very, very
powerful things.

When I look back at what I was doing
as a lyricist in those times,

I was trying to reflect the world
I saw around me -

this sort of broken, disaffected

of squats and roundabouts and dole

And that was the world that I found
myself in

after me and Justine had split up.

But at the same time, it was very
much an escape from that.

At that time, we were sort of quite

and I think that sort of fed a lot
of these weird songs.

But, you know, at the end of the
day, they're not weird songs at all.

It's not really until you go and
play it out in London,

when no-one is making records like
that at all,

that you're suddenly kind of like,
"Oh, right, we're quite strange."

And there was that kind of crossover
period, where we were writing

all these what I thought were pretty
fantastic songs,

things like He's Dead, and Moving.

But still playing to two people in

Shame on me

Well, I had the beast, you see

And if he can't take it, I can take
him home with me

When I was saw Suede,

I wasn't thinking, "You're
playing to four people,"

I was thinking, "You're not gonna be
playing to four people for long."

And when we go lassoing, you get

All of you

We had three years of struggle.

It was a long time until we got


So moving

I think it was because we were so
against the grain.

At the time, all the other bands were
indie dance.

Trying to join in with the crowd,
you have to be quite good at it

to assimilate.

If you're not, you have to really
set yourself apart,

and we weren't very good at fitting
in with the crowd that was there.

We'd been passed on by everyone -

people really, really weren't

It was this odd phenomenon,

where I think lots of A

that had come to see in the very
early days,

they'd seen us, and decided we were

so when we came back and started
playing these songs,

they'd already passed on us.

And if you can't take it

I had been doing A record labels

and had lost my job at RCA,

and was thinking about starting a
record label,

which was a particularly crazy idea.

So I was going out, seeing lots of

Saul Galpern, he came to see us at
The Venue in New Cross -

we were doing an NME gig, which was
called On For '92,

and I think we were second on,
I think.

And they came on, and I was
completely blown away.

Oh, oh-oh

What you do in your head

You do in your head

Oh, oh-oh

If he is dead

They were completely out of step

with everything that was going on at
the time,

and that's what attracted me to them,

was the fact that they were

All these A

no-one had even bothered to watch it.

I spent the whole weekend thinking,

"Have I just seen, like, something
that's earth-shattering?"

One person called me up, and that
was Saul.

He told me that nobody else had
called them -

I was the only person that had rang

So, that was quite a relief, really.

Saul Galpern, he was like us,
I think -

he felt like he had great ideas and
he wasn't being listened to.

Hello? Yes, Phil.

So we signed a deal with Saul's
label, Nude,

and we started recording
The Drowners,

and then just suddenly...

... the Melody Maker came out,

and were on the front cover.

It was actually that cover of Melody
Maker that changed everything.

I remember seeing it - walking down
the street with Mat

and seeing our faces on the cover,
and it was this shocking moment.

And to put a new band on the front

who hadn't released a single yet,
was quite a thing,

because it meant the whole industry,
and everyone in the media,

had woken up to, "Who is this band?"

It was literally 0-60,
just like that.

You can measure success really,
really simply if you're in a band -

people come to see you who you
don't know.

It really was.

It was from nothing to loads of

Then it's wild.

People started pushing themselves to
the front -

it was really physical.

It went from 3 people to 30 people

to 100 people to 300 people.

Painted people

Get you going

I'll smother that pig in a holy scene

It ain't too hard...

I remember going to see them play
after I left,

and it was just four boys on stage,
and it sounded amazing,

and it didn't have me muddying up
the sound

and kind of confusing the look.

Suddenly there was Morrissey there,


And Kirsty MacColl.

Youth and looks, sexuality, rock and
roll, great songs.

These are people

who've been in bedrooms like ours
and jobs like ours,

who just suddenly... something
clicked with them.

There was a bit of a regional divide.

Scotland, it was legendary,

where they pretended to have
Scottish accents,

rather than get beaten up in the

The first single, The Drowners,
charted at 49,

and the second, Metal Mickey, went
in at 17.

Oh, Dad, she's driving me mad

Come see

"Oh, Dad, she's driving me mad,"

has got to be one of the great
lines ever in a pop song.

And suddenly you're thinking about
Anthony Newley,

you're thinking about Vaudeville,
and even Carry On films,

where they'd say things like that.

It is, I think, a great one of those
early Suede singles,

and that is saying something.

Where all the people shake their
money in time

The next single went in at No. 7,
which was Animal Nitrate.

I heard this rumour, an apocryphal

Kate Bush's The Man With the Child in
His Eyes was about masturbation.

What a brilliant thing,

to sort of smuggle this kind of
Trojan horse

into the fortress of the mainstream.

And that's what I wanted to do with
Animal Nitrate.

Now your animal's gone

Well, he said he'd show you his bed

And the delights of the chemical

I wanted to kind of write this song
that was about sexuality

and abuse,

but to sort of frame it within a kind
of pop context.

Oh, what turns you on?

Oh, oh, oh

Now he has gone?

Oh, what turns you on

Oh, oh, oh

Now your animal's gone?

And I loved hearing it on mainstream
radio and on mainstream TV.

Even the title, you know, how did
they miss that?

It seemed to be so overt

that it was almost, like, hiding in
plain sight.

What does it take to turn you on

It's poppers -

it's this weird stuff that you sniff
and it makes your head go funny.

In the '90s, it was very much
associated with the gay world.

My use of gay imagery

is something that I think I got
criticised for a lot at the time.

People misunderstood what I was

There's a very famous quote of mine,
where I said,

"I'm a bisexual man who's never had a
homosexual experience."

I need to clarify where that came

I was talking about songwriting
at the time.

I was talking about how I approach

So, when I was writing those early

I was often occupying the perspective
of gay men,

housewives, third parties,

and writing songs from different

It kind of kept it fresh for me.

I walked down the road with Brett,
people would think we're boyfriends.

We lived on Portobello Road,

we wore fur coats, leather trousers.

It wasn't a gay thing,

it wasn't trying to get any Brownie
points from the press,

that was our look.

The rest of the band members took on
that look.

It's part of the unity of hanging out
with each other.

The more you hang out, you sort of...

"Oh, I quite like those trousers.
Quite a good jacket, I'll get one."

Or borrowing stuff, as well.

You develop this sort of band

What looks like a sort of
preconceived "look",

it actually kinda comes about by

Once we'd recorded Suede's debut

I felt that it would be an album, at
that point,

that would speak to a generation.

It was great when it went straight
in at No. 1.

That was a fantastic week.

I mean, there's an element of
vindication, as well,

because it'd been so hard to get
where we got to on the first record,

and we were completely out on our
own - there was nobody like us.

Then it turned into this snowball of
press profile.

There's Brett from Suede.

They were on the front cover of
something like 40 or 50 magazines

over a period of 18 months or
something -

it was something insane.

The thing about the press is, it was
dragged along behind it.

They were on the front page of every

and we used to go to our local shop,

and we'd go there every night,

and we'd go through all the magazines

and put them on the front.

It was just like, "Wow, it's
actually happening."

I think you lose control of it, as
well, that's the thing -

the context changed when you've got
200,00 people buying those songs.


Oh, God!

I think I first heard the word

the same time everyone else did, on
the Select front cover,

with Brett superimposed onto
a Union Jack,

with "Yanks go home" on it.

When I invented that phrase and
wrote that magazine,

I did not mean Britpop to be what it
later became.

When I hear people say, "Britpop,"
I think of Tony Blair

shaking hands Noel Gallagher.

I felt partly responsible for it.

You know, it's like kind of giving
birth to some awful child.


If we'd known at the time, we would
have run screaming.

Britpop, it was about a particular,
probably English sensibility.

It's not big city music, it was
suburban music,

it was the revenge of the suburbs.

Pulp, The Auteurs, Denim, and Cud,

Suede the biggest of them -

that literate art rock element of

which is what I was interested in -

they all had that particular English
outsider, suburban aesthetic.

I think if you're Northern, if
you've got an accent

and you come from Moss Side, people
under you're working class.

If you're Southern and don't have an
accent and come from Haywards Heath,

people don't get it.

It's much... sort of leafier and -
It's just greener, I think.

... than I remember.
I remember it as being a bit barren.

All these hedges just used to be
chain-link fences.

See you

In your next life

So that window there, that room,
that's where I was born.

Right. I was born in the same room
that my dad died in.

My upbringing was a strange

of marginal and extremely ordinary

that millions and millions of people
were brought up in houses like that.

Far away

We'll go far...

It was about that context,

that lumpen American domination.

Write songs about going down to

and flogging ice creams and all that,

it was like, "Yes! Somebody's
writing about the things we do

"and matter to us."

That immersion in English culture.

Not about taking Ventura Highway,
because we don't do that!

See you

In your next life

When you finally know what
you're doing,

where you move into this phase -
it's called an Imperial Phase -

where literally everything you do is
kinda gold dust.

If you've gone through your life not
really being anything,

and then people start telling you

you're the saviour of the music
industry, it does affect you.

Because we're young

This is boring!

Because we're gone

I felt like there was a platform,

and that we could use the platform,

And we could, to a certain extent,

although we couldn't use it anywhere
near as much as I thought we could.

I thought we could do what the fuck
we wanted.

Suede was always a balancing power

which was almost like a nuclear
reactor -

it could go wrong at any moment.

But it didn't, it just stayed in
this stasis.

Until it went wrong, and then it
blew up.

One of the problems that Bernard had

is that when everything was about
the music,

then he was kind of the leader.

I'm Wendy, and I run the fan club.

Once you're out in the world,

a band isn't just about the music.

And then immediately Brett become
the focal point,

and, you know, I think Bernard had
a problem with that.

And I don't think it's necessarily a
problem with Brett,

I think it's a problem with the
musical aspect of the band

being diminished.

The press, the adulation

and the things that bands need to do,

like photo sessions and make videos,

which he didn't find particularly
creative or of interest.

He became quite disillusioned quite
early on

with our relationship with success.

If there's differences between you,
it'll pull at those differences

and magnify them.

We went on an American tour just
after Bernard's dad had died.

I mean, I look back on it now, and
it was insane.

If it were to happen now,

I wouldn't want to be around a bunch
of people partying all the time.

This is getting too much.

There's something about touring,
it's a bit like being on holiday.

Bernard eventually started
travelling with the Cranberries

on their tour bus,

which was a pretty big sign that
something was going on.

We started, I think, having our
arguments through music.

We would never sit down and talk
about things.

It's difficult to know how to deal
with these things

when you're young men -

you just don't have the emotional
tools to deal with these things.

That's when most of these things do

You know, very few people go out
there, pick up a guitar age 52.

Normally, it's when you're 18 or 19.

Dangerous. Very dangerous.

Bernard was obviously unhappy,

and that tour went very badly,
I think, for the band.

By the time we made Stay Together,
it was obvious

things really weren't the same as
they were on the first album -

the mood of the band was very, very

And then you get Stay Together -

it's basically a battle between
Brett and Bernard,

and the most vital part of the song
is the bit at the end

where Brett's vocals are buried

under this squall of guitars,

and you can't really tell what's
going on.

And there's a kind of incoherence to
it that we'd never had before.

The relationship between Brett and
Bernard was definitely changing,

it was getting more fraught.

Then, obviously, we had to get round
to pushing them

to make the second album.

When it came to writing Dog Man Star,

we'd write much more separately.

We kind of communicated by post.

Everything that we became defined by
in the first record

drove me up the wall.

I wanted to destroy it.

I was writing stuff at home,

and I just recorded endlessly,
day in, day out,

and then took them round to his
place in Highgate.

Woke every day

I'd give him a four-track with eight
pieces on it or something,

and a few days later he'd have
overdubbed vocals,

and then I got it back.

... through the astral plane...

Yeah, it was a strange way of

We wrote by post,

and then we recorded separately.

The whole period of making Dog Man
Star was very, very, very prickly.

It was plain there was a lot of
tension in the room.

And it just stayed like that.

I don't ever remember being in the
studio all together.

Possibly once or twice.

It was almost like
shift work going on.

The shift pattern was basically

Bernard didn't wanna be in the
studio with anybody else.

He tolerated me, because I was still

to operate the equipment.

As I open the blinds in mind

Ed, he's a musical producer.

He was with us from the first single,

and kind of grew with us,

and was very much part of the band.

He was almost one of us.

And, oh, if you stay...

You feel like you're part of the

He's the stable dad to your errant

Oh, the room smells much better now!

I think at some stage Bernard was
asking Ed

to sort of teach him how to produce
a record.

These faders are at zero.

Bernard was immediately at home in
the studio

and wanted to learn everything -

every dial that was turned, every
lever that was pulled.

My memory of Bernard is getting on
with him really, really well,

until it all went wrong.

He'd had a rough year -

his dad had died,

which was just
as brutal as it can get.

And he was just dreadfully,
dreadfully unhappy.

And I think the pressure of having
to deliver this record

that everybody was waiting for,

plus... his awakening realisation

that being a guitar player in this
fantastic band

wasn't what he thought
it was gonna be,

there are other components that he
wasn't comfortable dealing with.

Lying in my bed

Nothing much to say

So I listen to the man

He said that it could
be the two of us

The song The 2 of Us,

it was very much, I think,

a song about mine and Bernard's

Superficially, it's a song about two
successful brokers,

or something like that, working in
the City,

making loads of money,

but being quite lonely within that

But the kind of subtext of that is
that, I think,

it's about loneliness within success.

Alone but not lonely

You and me

Alone but not lonely

You and me

Alone but loaded

Oh, oh, oh

Alone but loaded

Oh, oh, oh

I think I found myself treading on

and hoping that it would go away,
it would sort itself out.

Oh, oh, oh

But no, it just sort of got worse
and worse and worse.

Oh, oh, oh

I must admit, I was pretty blind to
quite how bad things were.

It was no problem to me if Bernard
was like,

"OK, this chord moves this way,
blah, blah, blah,"

whereas when he started telling
Simon what to do,

Simon was kinda like, "I'm the
drummer, I know what I'm doing."

Yeah, like that.

Just really soft.
Really rolling, soft.

There was a situation where we were

and I think we were doing
New Generation.

There was a roll at the end of it.

What about the bits just before that?

And Bernard was adamant that it
shouldn't go there,

it should go somewhere,

and I was adamant it should go here.

He said, "Do your job!"

And that really pissed me off,

so I picked up some drumsticks and
just chucked them at his red guitar.

And that was the point where me and
him sort of...

He'd gone through the whole of the

and I was the last one, it seemed,
that he fell out with.

I was very aware that something bad
was happening.

I was very desperate, you know -

I had an idea in my head, and
unfortunately, at that age,

I didn't really have the emotional
or the social skills

to deliver what I needed...

You know, the diplomatic skills to
deliver what I needed to do.

But... I didn't really give a fuck
at the time,

I'll be really honest with you.

I did feel like I had something
there and it would work,

and I kind of had to get it across.

I'm full of apologies now, but
that's how it was.

So, I wanted it to be, where there
was drums,

they were gonna be extraordinary,

and where there weren't gonna be

it was gonna be extraordinary, cos
there weren't drums.

Bernard's gift for music was off the

We all knew it, there was no debate.

But he did not like any other
musical interference

in his vision at that point.

And that's why something like
Asphalt World

became so problematic for him.

Right, let's go.

Because we were kind of fighting a
little bit,

you'd sometimes come into this ghost
of a song.

I remember that with Asphalt World,

Normally you'd build stuff up from
the rhythm section,

but I know with Asphalt World,
I hadn't played on it,

and I came in and there was just
this serpent of guitar.

As a musician, it was literally

"... All right!"

It was always quite a contentious

It somehow encapsulated the
differences in the band.

I have a very distinct memory of
delivering the vocal to that song

after having read an interview that
Bernard gave to Vox Magazine,

where he was quite critical of me as
a writer and as a musician.

Brett was livid, but was also

Feeling quite hurt,

and trying to almost, like, channel
my feelings of anger and frustration

into the kind of iciness of the vocal

With ice in her blood

And a dove in her head

Well, how does it feel

When she's in your bed?

When you're there in her arms

When you're there in her legs

Well, I'll be in her head

Cos that's where I go

And that's what I do

And that's how it feels

That tension was actually becoming
quite poisonous,

and I think it was difficult for
Bernard particularly,

cos he was not comfortable in that

and him and Ed didn't see eye-to-eye,

and they had quite a lot of

What we're gonna do is do all the
drums and bass,

and go back and redo all the guitar.

So the power shift

really was that Bernard was
exercising more and more control

over every aspect of the band's sound

and how the record was made.

And, you know, he was still giving
me my space to do my job,

but I was mindful of the fact there
was three other people in the band,

and I was trying to get the best
possible record for everybody.

Everything not to go out completely,
just drop right down.

I think Ed was pretty much the last
person on Bernard's blacklist.

When he went for Ed, he went for Ed
in a big way.

And when it went wrong, it happened
over a weekend,

a very short period of time.

I'm not sure whether that's to do
with the two of them,

or it would have happened with any

Suddenly we found ourselves in this

where he was making an ultimatum and
saying, "Either we get rid of Ed

"or I'm going."

It's not about him or Ed,

it's about issuing an ultimatum.

It doesn't work that way.

It was OUR band.

It wasn't your band, it wasn't your
band, it wasn't your band,

it wasn't my band, it was OUR band.

No-one has absolute power.

I felt as though I couldn't give in
to that.

There was a lot of agonising and
what ifs

and, "How do we deal with this? And
how do we make it right?"

It wasn't possible to make it right
for everybody,

and there needed to be a resolution

about which probably not everybody
was gonna be happy.

We got a phone call from our lawyer

saying that Bernard officially said
he's left the band.

People loved us, people followed us,

we were in the midst of a record
that sounded amazing.

Now I look at it and think,

"If you wanted to leave that kind of

"something as good as that,

"you must have been feeling terrible
about us and what we were doing."

And now I look back on it and think,

"I should have been thinking of him."

I would have done anything to have
kept Bernard in the band and happy,

but the fact was, he wasn't happy.

I was amazed that Bernard didn't
leave sooner -

it was so volatile from day one.

It was unbelievably volatile.

Decisions that are made can't be
made lightly,

because you're talking about, you

"Is this a good thing to do? Is it a
bad thing?"

You'll never know until it's too

You roll the dice.

But when it doesn't work, where do
you go?

What do you do?

What about the kids?

What about the rhythm section?

I can remember thinking it was for
the best,

and it only being when music
journalists started turning up

outside the studio,

realising, "Oh, this might be

"a bit of a bigger deal than I think
it is."

We're gonna go...

Da, da, bum, bum, bum, bum

In between trying to get the strings
done for The Wild Ones

and Still Life I think we were doing
in the CTS studios...

Issue a press statement separate
from Bernard.

... we were having this band meeting
with Saul

and the press office on the phone

to try and get some sort of
statement out.

This still life

Is all I ever do

We're not great at talking to each

so in a situation like that,

I think it's quite possible that
we're all sitting there thinking,

"This is so fucked up. What are we
gonna do?"

But no-one's gonna say it, so you
just keep on going.

It's the best decision for everybody,

and we go on to say that the show
will go on,

the album is amazing, the band
will continue.

Oh, can I write, "The show will go
on," in mine?

No. I've done mine.
What have you written?

"Roll on act two."

I guess I was sort of hiding from

Hiding behind this sort of cliched
rock star person, you know,

wearing my Aviators in the control
room, you know.

I do remember feeling incredibly sort

... you know, bruised by it.

At the heart of it, it was the loss
of a friend,

and that was very sad.

He was obviously heartbroken,
but he hid it,

and was like, "I'm not gonna get
upset about this."

It's almost like his business head
took over.

Everything comes in there, anyway.

I was bluffing it out,

but I was absolutely terrified that
we were over.

I think 99% of the world thought that
we were over!

Including a part of me.

How were we gonna carry on?

I knew we had a great album
- Dog Man Star was amazing -

but we didn't have a guitarist.

I think it's a great record.

You can hear the darkness, a bit
like The Beatles' White Album.

The reason Dog Man Star was so unique

was because of the white hot

Sometimes the grit in the oyster
makes the pearl,

and I think some of that darkness
and difficulty

gets into Dog Man Star in a good
way, for me as a listener,

if not for Suede as a band.

There was breadth to it,

and such a wide range
of emotions to it.

My favourite Suede record, the one
that just has everything,

is We Are the Pigs.

Well, the church bells are calling

Police car on fire

"Police car on fire" -

the menace coming off that record.

... say, "Stay at home tonight"

I say we are the pigs

We are the swine

We had this amazing record,

and I wanted the world to hear
this amazing record.

One of the things that's really
remarkable about Suede

is the fact they managed to keep

We just continued with, kind of, a
bit of insane belief in our hearts.

And then we put an advert in the

like we were 17 again.

Yeah, I-I-I guess I was just praying
that we'd find somebody else

who could be equally as good as

and the band would carry on.

Never worried me, cos that band was
always Brett and Mat.

To me, in my head, I was thinking,
"Bring in another guitarist.

"You can be 17 years old from Poole,

Does anyone ever have these problems,
apart from us?

We're the only band in the world
that has these problems.

Very quickly, when we had a

they said, "We're gonna find
somebody else

"and we're gonna find somebody new
and we're gonna put an ad in the NME

"and we're gonna find somebody,"

and everyone was confident this was
what was gonna happen.

And it wasn't even a challenge.

It was like, "They grow on trees,
we'll find a guitar player."

You wouldn't entertain this thing
of, "Bernard's irreplaceable."

"Fine, we'll find another guitar
player. Not a problem."

As the weeks went on,

I think it started to look a little
bit more desperate.

It was like, "If anybody thinks they
can do this job,

"send a cassette to this address."

So one day I just thought, "Well,
I'm anybody."

Most of them were just awful.

There was a couple of fantastic rock
guys with vests

and pointy-headed guitars
and tattoos,

shredding over the top of Suede
tracks -

they were brilliant.

And then there was Richard's.

The letter I sent them was quite
cocky, and sure of myself,

which I, in reality, was not.

I put the cassette in, expecting to
be underwhelmed,

and I wasn't.

I kind of heard this very, very
eloquent, powerful,

technically proficient guitar

He was playing a version of
My Insatiable One,

and he played it beautifully.

I said, "What's this?"

He said, "This is a tape from an

I went, "Well, it sounds great."

It was the first time I'd heard
anyone play something of ours

and really do the guitar part

I didn't discover the guitar until I
was about 12.

The same time I discovered punk

The way the punk bands like
The Buzzcocks, The Clash

and The Sex Pistols used to write

was something I instantly understood
at a very young age.

I remember the first time I went
round to Richard's house.

I'd told him that I played the

and he handed me a guitar and said,
"Show me what you can do,"

and I did some really, really basic,
bad strummed chords,

and he laughed.

He couldn't believe it.

So I handed the guitar back to him
and said, "Show me what you can do,"

and he just did this amazing 12-bar
blues thing,

and I was blown away.

I think at that moment I knew that
he was a very talented guitarist.

But I think when you're that young,

you don't really think of it in
terms of somebody being a prodigy.

I knew how to put chords together
and to write songs in that way,

simple songs,

and so I was doing that from that
age, as well, 12, 13.

That's when I joined my first band.

Yeah, Richard and I were in a band

up until about a year before
he joined Suede,

and Suede were one of several bands
that he was enthusiastic about

at that time.

And I wouldn't even say it was the
main band.

Well, this is also where I saw my
very first gig,

which was Suede in May '93,

and they were doing their first
album tour,

and they were No. 1 at that point,
I think, so it was a really busy gig.

Poole Arts Centre is not really on
the regular touring circuit

for a lot of bands,

and so a band we liked were playing,

so we were obviously gonna go and
see them.

Pete says that he remembers me
saying something to him

along the lines of, "I could
probably do that."

Richard was at that gig,

looking at Bernard as a lead
guitarist on stage,

and thinking that he had a strong
ambition to do the same thing.

So he was able to make these quite
intricate demos,

but at the same time

he was also recording versions of
songs that he liked.

What it feels like to me is just
lucky - I was really lucky,

I was in the right place at the
right time.

I was still at school,

but, you know, to get to actually...

I mean, it was a real punt sending
them a tape in the first place.

We gave Richard a call, and the
story's quite famous.

He was actually still at school at
the time,

and I think Charlie called.

The first thing my mum said was,
"You do know he's only 17?"

We were like, "Oh, my God!"

So my cover was blown.

But we still invited him for an

We thought, "Well, if he can play
like that, why not?"

We were seeing people, so, you know,
come one, come all.

I don't know, later this afternoon
we've got Ed coming down,

our producer.

Ed will like you.

He's coming down to check out this
song, this new one.

In walks this little, smallish kind
of kid, you know,

quite unassuming.

Suddenly, as soon as he plays the

he becomes a different person.

He didn't play it like a 17-year-old,

he played like he'd been doing this
all his life.

Made it...

... clear what a kind
of prodigy he was.

They invited me for an audition,

but I still didn't think they'd
offer me the job -

you know, that was never gonna

And then it did.

I said to Mat and Brett,
"He's obviously the guitarist."

I think the fact that he was 17
didn't really make any difference.

To read that again and again,
especially throughout my career,

"He was 17 years old when he joined
the band."

It's such a Suede thing -

taking a big risk, getting a
17-year-old guitarist.

I had immediately, obviously, mixed
feelings about it

on a personal level,

cos I was just about to lose my best

I had to give up absolutely
everything here.

It was like severing a connection.

So I went back to the sixth form a
couple of weeks after that,

and somebody said,
"Oh, where's Richard?"

And I said, "Oh, it's a funny thing,
actually - he's joined Suede."

They just laughed at me and said,
"Shut the fuck up."

The first thing he actually did

was pose in a video for
We Are the Pigs,

which is just such an odd thing.

And then we started touring, and
it's, like, two months or something.

And introducing a brand-new face -
Richard Oakes.


It's ridiculous how quickly it

But you can see that he grows into
it really, really quickly.

I hadn't really done any actual gigs
until I joined Suede,

and it was just,
"We're gonna go on tour."

I think the first
date was October 4th,

so it was just after I turned 18.

It's down to the fact that he can
really play,

so it doesn't hold any real fears
for him, I don't think.

Despite what the press were saying
at the time,

they were saying the band are over,

so we were reading feature after

where they were saying, "They've
lost the key member,

"how are they gonna recover
from this?"

Despite all that, we knew we would
do a good tour,

at the end of it, people would say,
"Oh, they can still do this,

"they can still play."

It was a fantastic thing, cos it
meant we were starting again.

It felt, for me, like a new band.

It had all the joys of being a new

So who do you think you are kidding
Mr Hitler

If you think old England's done?


That's fucking brilliant. Well done,
Rich. Do it again.

Suddenly, I was on stage playing and
surrounded by girls,

and I had no idea how to even talk
to them.

Do you know what I mean? I had no
experience at all.

I was the most non rock and roll
person to join a rock and roll band.

Philadelphia was a good laugh,
I enjoyed that.

Washington was the first gig we did.

Simon, stop... Simon's filming me.

Simon, don't, please.

We went to Asia for the first time,
which was amazing.

We sort of hadn't experienced
anything like it before.

We turned up and I think the first
one we did was Bangkok,

and I think Charlie got a message on
the plane

there may be a couple of kids there,
there may be a camera crew there.

Fucking hell!
There's thousands of them!

There was camera crews everywhere,
there was police everywhere,

and it was absolute chaos.

We sort of toured Japan -

couldn't leave the hotel without
being chased by kids.

That was mind-blowing for us.


But can you imagine what it was like
for Richard?

If I was him and I was thrown into

I don't know what kind of person
I'd be now.

Reading about yourself for the first
time is a very strange thing.

When you read a journalist's
perception of who you are

and where you've come from and your
place in the band,

and just describing you,

it's really, really odd.

It's like looking in a very
distorted mirror, you know?

Of course, there was then the
concern about the third album.

The only thing we didn't know was,

"Do we know if we can write any

Proving ourselves, that we could
write another record

was a different thing, obviously.

Coming Up would have taken much
longer to write

if I hadn't had this period of
finding my feet,

which was touring Dog Man Star for a
whole year.

In terms of whether we had something
to prove...

... hell yes.

... diesel and gasoline

Psycho for drum machine

Shaking tits to hits

Oh, drag acts

Drug acts, suicides

In your dad's suits you hide

Staining his name again

Richard turned up with a cassette
one day called Dead Leg,

and me and Alan were in the middle
of one our parties,

I seem to remember,

and Richard had a cup of tea, while
I was sort of, like, swaying

and trying to focus my eyes.

And I ended up kind of going to work
on the song...

... and listened to this riff he'd
written, which is...


You know, it's like,
"Oh, wow! That's really good."

And I sort of started weaving this
song around the riff.

"High on diesel and gasoline, psycho
for drum machine,"

bits torn out of the pages of my

That microphone's not working, is it?
Yeah, it is.

First verse is exactly the same.

Here they come

The beautiful ones

The beautiful ones

La, da, da, da

Here they come

The beautiful ones

I kind of started to piece this song

a song about my sort of marginal life

on the edges of proprietary.

And I called it Beautiful Scum -

that was the original title
of the song.

"Here they come, the beautiful scum."

It was this sort of, "Here I am,
this is my life, deal with it."

And I thought, "OK, this is really
good, but 'beautiful scum'?

"No, it's a bit silly, isn't it?

"Let's change it to 'beautiful ones',"

and that was the song.

There was this very funny afternoon,
completely off our faces,

and I was just singing the song,

sweating in this little tiny orange

Oh, high on diesel and gasoline

Psycho for drum machine...

What are the fucking words?



Sorry. Start again.

Here they come

The beautiful ones...

It's short, isn't it?

Hasn't really got it.

It hasn't.

That is not a single. Sorry.

It's definitely not a single.

If that's what you want the song to
be, fine, I think that'll -

- Don't need to blackmail, mate.
- It's not blackmail!

Here they come

The beautiful ones

The beautiful ones

La, la, la, la

Here they come

The beautiful ones

The beautiful ones

La, la, la, la, la

"OK, bring on the expectation, this
is gonna be great."

Because I think we knew it was good,

and it didn't sound like
Dog Man Star.

We wrote far more as a band

after Richard joined.

We spent a lot more time with the
band, kind of arranging things.

He was really comfortable with that.

He's never been precious about his

You know, cut them up, move them
around, if it's better for the song,

if it's better for the band, then
he's fine that way.

Oh, isn't this nice, everyone
together, eh?

It's lovely, innit?

I very much wanted it to be a band

sort of work together and to write in
the same room,

and, you know, to try and do all
those things

that I felt we'd missed out on with
Dog Man Star,

that we kind of drifted into this
weird state.

And then we accidentally became a

I was lending Neil a suit,

cos I think he was going for an
interview for a job in London.

He'd just come down from Hull, where
he was at university.

So I thought I'd kind of borrow a
suit off Simon,

who's the only person I knew who had
a suit.

"Yeah, pop along to the studio

Simon neglected to mention

that his cousin was actually a
pretty good musician.

I don't think I knew he was a
musician at the time.

He was just my cousin, Neil,
from Hull.

And that was it, I had no knowledge

that he was gonna sit down and play
the piano.

I remember, I think it was the first
day you turned up,

and Simon was videoing you playing
the piano,

and you had "sign on" written on
your hands. Yeah.

A few days later, Simon said, "Oh,
come hang out some more."

And that's how it happened, really.

That's how he became in Suede.

We weren't looking for anybody else.

I actually seem to remember me
saying to Brett,

"Are you sure about this?"

He kind of cared about music,

and he had a passion and an
intensity, as well.

And I just sort of knew he should be
part of the band, really.


I think erm... there was a shrug of
the shoulders

when Simon's cousin was introduced.

Yeah, Charlie was a bit suspicious
at first.

I went round to his place in

and he said, "Well, I don't know why
they've decided this,

"but apparently Suede want another

You know, if it had been John from
Camden or something,

there might have been less of a

but there was something
about the fact

that someone's relative popped in
the studio and now he's in the band.

But it wasn't like that, it was a
slow process of osmosis.

He turned up a couple of times, did
a couple of things,

and then just became a little bit
more present.

And musically, there was definitely
something he brought to it

very quickly, indeed.

But I think Mat was quite difficult
to get to know early on.

He didn't speak to me for about six

I like four-piece sets - they look
right to me.

All of those doubts, all those
possible problems

were negated by the fact that we
made a great noise together.

We were playing the songs and they
sounded brilliant.

Nothing really matters if that's

That's it.

It got quite confusing for Ed - he
didn't know our names early on,

he couldn't distinguish between us.

I think he used to call Richard
"New Boy",

me "New New Boy",

because he was scared of calling me
"Richard" and Richard "Neil".

Yeah, it is true.

Nobody else in Suede is like him.

You know, Suede is a band of
individuals at the best of times,

but Neil's unique,

and he's actually turned into a
very, very good foil with Richard -

the two of them compliment each
other perfectly.

Oh, fuck off!

Neil appearing as he kind of did,

and starting to tinkle on the piano
along with what we were doing

just felt like part of that
evolution into a new band.

We're going out tonight

Around the time that Neil started

we were writing songs like
Saturday Night.

Oh, whatever makes her happy

On a Saturday night

Oh, whatever makes her happy

Whatever makes it all right

Lots of people thought that Richard
couldn't replace Bernard

as a songwriter.

You couldn't have two more different

you know, writing Dog Man Star, then
writing Coming Up.

We were such a close-knit unit,
and that was a new thing for Suede.

I think there's been a lot of

when they were recording
Dog Man Star.

We were a little family again,

and we were a little gang again, and
that was a lovely thing,

I'd really missed that.

Coming Up was a collection

of incredibly precise, concise pop

It was definitely an attempt

to stamp a new identity on the new
band, the new line-up.

I've always been into punk and

and that very distilled style of
skewwhiff style of pop music

that punk brought along.

And I think I sort of woke up that
up in Suede a little bit.





When we came to write things like
She, and Filmstar,

they weren't punk songs, but they
really had that sense

of... brutality and simplicity
behind them.


Saul still thought we were missing
the anthem,

the kind of definitive song for the

You need a first single, you need a
flagship statement.

You know, you had We Are the Pigs
last time.

There was a song called Pisspot that
kind of...

... I must have liked
something about.

But I didn't like the chorus,
I got Richard,

"The verse is all right, but change
the chorus."

He wrote this chorus, and I was like,
"This is great,"

and I wrote this thing.

Oh-oh-oh, you and me

We're the lovers on the street

We're the litter on the breeze

And I thought,
"OK, that's really good."

We're the litter on the breeze

Ed had been telling me on the phone,
"You've gotta come and hear this,"

and I went to the studio and they
played me Trash.

And I was like,
"Oh! This is amazing."

Maybe, maybe it's the clothes we wear

The tasteless bracelets and the dye
in our hair

I wrote the song
as a song about the band

and this group of people

and what our values as people were.

By extension, it's about the fans,
as well.

It was an incredibly important song
for Suede, Trash.

Maybe it's our looseness

For the first time, it defined, for
me, my tribe.

And my tribe was something that I was
looking for all my life, I think.

From childhood.

When I was a child, I never quite
fitted in,

my family never quite fitted in.

I think I was looking for that.

Songs like So Young,
and We Are the Pigs,

and all these sorts of things,

I'm looking for a group of people
I could identify with.

With Trash,
I think I was defining it.

This slightly lost group of people

that weren't connected

but connected in terms of who they
saw themselves as.


A pop star type limo will be picking
you up tomorrow.

This is to take you off to
Top of the Pops

to do your pop star No. 3 hit.

Have fun!

We're tra-a-a-sh

You and me

We're the lovers on the streets

We're the litter on the breeze

Yes, tr-a-a-ash

Me and you

It's in everything we do

It's in everything we do-o-o

The period, for me, feels...

"Joyous" is the right word.

It was one of the most fun records
I've ever made.

It was such an optimistic record,

and that was a side of Suede that
nobody had heard yet.

The band had survived, they'd made
an amazing record -

the songs were fantastic,

there was a happiness to it,

the artwork by Peter Saville, super

and that just felt like the mood in
the band at the time.

Peter Saville was this incredible

who did all the great artwork for
Factory Records -

the Joy Division records,

New Order album sleeves -

is regarded, probably, as one of the
greatest designers.

There was a process of, you know,
lots of trips to Peter's house,

where... (CHUCKLES)

... he would walk out in his robe.

I'd come at about 2:00 in the

3:00 in the afternoon, in breaks
between recording,

and you'd always be in your dressing

and you'd sort of, like, wander down
the stairs,

- blearily yawning and asking for coffee.
- Yeah.

Like some sort of character in an
Evelyn Waugh novel, you know.

- It was all.
- In a way, that is what it was

for a while.

You'd left one day, I was thinking,
"Oh, what does he want?"

And I went back and looked on the

and I found this.

Paul Wunderlich.

There were things in this that were
just so terrible,

that they were interesting.

There was this weird kind of
psychedelic surreal quality

- that this had.
- Perfect for Suede, then.

- I loved it.
- It was sexy.

I like the surreal element of it,

and I love the sexuality of it.

I like the garishness, as well.

We talked about what
we were gonna do -

there would be three people, and
they would be in the studio.

What should they be on?

And what I was thinking was that in
lots of the Wunderlich pictures,

there were things like zebra skins
and tiger skins and things,

so I was thinking, "Should it be
some kind of rug?"

And then you went, "Well, it's a

I was like, "Oh, my God.
Too many drugs."

Then you said,
"You know, like in a squat."

And, of course, we found this
amazing striped one.

The mattress makes it.

The mattress is what gives it this
kind of cultural demographic.

The mattress is brilliant.

I think it was incredibly satisfying
making that record.

Mat's talked about the importance of

as a motivation in making music, and
he's absolutely right.

"You can't keep us down. We're back,
we're trash,

"but, you know, we keep coming back."

I think the press, some of them were
slightly disappointed

that we didn't fall flat on our
faces, you know.

And, kind of, we came back

with what was commercially our most
successful record.

It just seemed to be growing and
growing and growing,

and it certainly got a lot bigger -
the fan base got a lot bigger.

You and me

All we want to be

Is lazy

And the five singles that we took
from that album all went top ten.

We had five top ten singles from
Coming Up,

which was unprecedented.

You and me

All we want to be

Is lazy

Was Filmstar the last...

I think it was the last single.

Cos this is Peter...

... sitting in the back of a limo.

Yeah, Brett decided that I was a
suitable casting

for this sort of slightly
past-his-sell-by-date actor.

The lush playboy.

Yeah, maybe British guy, a little
bit lush,

who'd ended up in Hollywood.
Peter did it,

so that's him in photo.

Past his prime.

Maybe it's our sweetness

I remember feeling just...

... utterly bulletproof,

feeling just indestructible.

The Roundhouse shows were absolutely

I remember loving every second of it.

We were at the absolute peak.

We'd done a few months of touring by
that point,

and it'd been good - we'd been going
from strength to strength.

It's in everything we do

It's in everything we

At this point, when we played the
Roundhouse in '96...

... that period playing here

was almost like a little pinnacle,
wasn't it?


Everything felt very rosy at that
point, didn't it?

It was, like, 6 months into a
16-month tour

that we did for Coming Up, so it was
in the middle of it.

It felt fun, though, didn't it?

It was like playing here was a real
moment, I think.

Just everything really loud,
everything really fast,

never any gaps between songs,

just pummel them for an hour and a
half and then go out.

Filmstar propping up the bar

Driving in a car

It looks so easy

Filmstar propping up the bar

Driving in a car tonight

After the Roundhouse, we played

... nine months of shows.

What made Coming Up so amazing, and
that tour afterwards, was...

... I mean, it was a party in every

There was that fantastic thing that
doesn't happen very often,

when you feel like
the band's really good

and everyone wants to you be really

Play the game again

Yeah, yeah, yeah

Filmstar, an elegant sir

A Terylene shirt

It looks so easy

Filmstar, an elegant sir

In a Terylene shirt tonight

You've always got to remember that
happiness is fleeting -

it's just a moment in your life.

You just have to grab hold of it, and
it's gone like a puff of smoke.

Towards the end of '97, towards the
end of that tour,

thing were taking a downward turn.

The punk attitude that existed
within Brett

meant that it was quite easy to say,
"It's going well, let's ruin it."

The Coming Up touring period was,
looking back on it now,

overly long.

It was a victim of its own success.

You know, that record was very

We toured literally for a year and a
half, we were pretty knackered,

not having any time off whatsoever.

Looking back at it, that wasn't good
for us, at all. It was disastrous.

It kind of broke us in lots of ways.

Once the Coming Up tour was over,
I remember kind of retreating a bit

and just trying to centre myself
and make things normal again,

because that tour was so long,

just living in this kind of cuckoo
clock of...

... excess.

We took a lot of drugs and partied
and did what we wanted.

You can't just turn that off.

Once the tour was over,

that's when, I think, the line

between leisure time and work time.

Moving on from Coming Up to
Head Music,

we'd moved houses,

and it became darker.

There was... darker drugs,

there was...

... if I could say it, there was a lot
crack cocaine and heroin.

And that changed the whole climate.

The whole atmosphere changed.

Yeah, so it changed. It changed.

I know that sound so well.


It was kind of horrible, actually.
I hated it.

I remember scurrying up and down this
alleyway at various...

... ungodly hours.

I bought this place, I think it was
at the end of the Coming Up tour.

It's an odd place,

and it's unobserved.

It felt like you didn't have to abide
by the usual laws of society.

So we didn't.

When it comes to excess and
addiction and using,

people expected that,
especially of him.

And that's not a good position to be
in, where people are going,

"Go on, fuck up," and that's what
they were doing.

And he kind of did.

I can't use words like "drugs",

cos I just find it hard to talk in
those terms.

And I'm not fooling anyone by not
using those words,

but I personally find it really

so I have to talk about it in broader

I think I, deep down, knew I was in
real trouble,

but I think I justified my addiction

by sort of seeing it as part of some
sort of rock and roll mythology

that justified it.

Brett just became a very different

Very different.

Hardly ever saw him, you know.

Never used to go out, never used
to sort of...

... hang out a lot there,

because it was something I wasn't
interested in -

I didn't wanna get in to that.

When we started writing Head Music,

which was only a couple of months
after the end of the Coming Up tour,

living in a different house by this

and I didn't used to like going

because there were various
characters hanging around

who weren't friends of the band,
they were, you know, drug people,

and they were all a bit sinister.

And so I didn't like going to his

so that removed quite a key part of
the human, personal connection

that you need for songwriting.

I'd pop to Brett's, and he'd be off
his head.

You'd just roll your eyes and go

You'd think, "I can't hang around
with these... people."

You know? But you'd go home and
you'd carry on.

I think Brett's main idea for
Head Music

was we're gonna make a Prince
record, it's gonna be groove-based,

with minimalistic musical ideas,

and it's gonna sound quite cold,
as well.

That'll be the Suede part of it -
it'll be cold and icy and dark.

The music that Richard and I were
coming up with

wasn't quite...

... exciting Brett, or pressing his

So he started writing stuff himself.

You know, and it was like Ride on
Time by Black Box.

Do you know what I mean?

I was there with Everything Will
Flow, and Leaving,

and these songs that I was coming
with at the time,

and it was like, "I can't do that."

I never said that to him,

but it was the strangest thing in
the world.

"What the hell is this record gonna
sound like?"


He just was, like, into noises.

He was staying up until three
o'clock in the morning.

He had a Juno synth,
and he'd just go...


... and he'd come to me and say,
"I want a riff that goes..."



There's notes in there, there's no
tune in there.

It was all about a kind of...

... aggressiveness and attitude.

If I'd have been around, I would
have said, "Dreadful mistake,"

because Suede is a guitar band.

That's what Suede is, a guitar band.

It didn't seem like Brett was fully

He was in his addiction.

He wasn't...

... able to write in the same way,

there wasn't the same depth.

So gimme this and gimme that,
smother me

And gimme some of that bad stuff

I feel real now

Talking that sugar

And shaking that stuff

Can't Get Enough was almost the
tipping point

between, you know,
"I can't get enough drugs,"

that's what the song's about.

Singing I-I can't get enough

So with this set of quite eclectic

we went into Eastcote Studios to
record Head Music,

with a new producer.

I remember Brett saying,
"We're gonna try a new producer."

I thought, "That's not a good thing
to do. We should stick with Ed.

"He's always been... you know, part
of the band, really -

"the sixth member of the band."

We changed producers.

Steve Osborne produced that record.

Steve Osborne was known for his
with the Happy Mondays

and dance bands and stuff,

and not really with guitar bands.

Looking at it, it was absolutely the
wrong thing to do,

because Steve, you know,

very talented guy,

but he didn't have the history with

he didn't have that kind of paternal
instinct, almost,

that Ed's always had with the band.

Ne-ne, ne-ne

Something like that. Feels like we're
being a bit too literal.

Yeah, but I quite like that.
I know it's a bit corny, but...

He had been told clearly,
"This is not a guitar record,"

so I think he didn't want to kind of
view my contributions to the record

as, you know, a crux, essential
thing, you know,

in the way
that they were for Coming Up,

and especially on the first two

it was all about the guitars.

You would spend a long time
recording guitars with Ed -

weeks and weeks and weeks.

Steve's much more kind of like,
"Let's take these raw materials

"and play with them," you know what I

He'd get Richard to come in and play
guitar for two minutes,

and then go, "Right, now we've got
two hours

"turning that into something."

You know, he's a mixer as much as a

For me personally, I didn't enjoy
doing a couple of bars

of Can't Get Enough

and then having it looped.

I'd have rather played the whole
song live, like we normally do.

I would kind of sit there in the
control room

and listen to what Steve Osborne and
Ben Hillier were doing,

but be completely unable to

because I don't know anything about
loops and synths and grooves.

At least I didn't then.

All I knew about was how to put a
killer guitar line together,

and that was the one thing that
wasn't required.

So I felt like a fifth wheel,

We didn't feel like a complete unit

Brett was never to be seen -
I hardly ever saw him in the studio.

Having established myself as the hub
of the band,

I suddenly wasn't really there,
I wasn't really present,

and so...

... it's like the keystone is missing
in the building.

Everything became slightly atomised,

and I drifted off and Richard drifted
off and Neil drifted off,

and it became this odd record that
was almost made

by Mat and Steve Osborne, in a funny
sort of way.

It was horrible. Yeah, it was really

I mean, I don't want to give the

that what was happening was I was
here making the record

because no-one was here,

I was here out of politeness more
than anything,

because it just seemed rude to leave
Steve here on his own

with these satellites orbiting around

and every now and then beaming a
message in.

Mat was there more than any other
member of the band.

That's... a crazy way to make a

I think you two need to sort out
your communication.

Well, I think we can rewind that.

I remember this so clearly -

if he'd been doing crack,

he'd push his hair back so he didn't
set light to his hair.

So if his hair was
up when he came in,

me and Steve were like,
"Oh, fuck it. That's today.

"It's gonna be half an hour of him
rushing around,

"playing this on the keyboard,
playing this on the...

"Then going again."

If his hair was down, then it was
probably gonna be pretty good.

She got flowers in hair

Yeah, yeah

She got savoir faire

Yeah, yeah






I can remember doing
Everything Will Flow.

It had been a really grim time in
the studio,

and we hadn't really been able to
rehearse it properly,

cos no-one was here,

and, you know, Brett and Richard

couldn't really talk to each other,

because what they wanted seemed to
be completely different things.

And then we sat and played
Everything Will Flow,

and I think it's the second take or
something, and it sounds amazing.


And everything will flow


And everything will flow

The neon lights in the night tonight

Will say "everything will flow"

Well, first of all, there was my

Secondly, there was Richard's

And thirdly, there was Neil's

He was basically unable to leave his
house for a lot of '98.

He just suddenly couldn't do

And everyone was kind of, "What the
fuck's wrong with him?"

In my mind, it was connected to the
tour fatigue of Coming Up,

the physical length of that tour and
how exhausting it was.

I don't think that helped, put it
that way.

Somewhere around...

... Christmas '96,

I got glandular fever,

or some kind of virus
that wiped me out.

We were in the middle of this long

and I just carried on ploughing

And we'd come off tour, and I'd go
out with my mates,

doing all sorts of things -

smoking myself blind, drinking too
much, all the other things.

When I should have been looking
after myself,

to kind of knock this virus on the

And I'd get a little cold and be
wiped out,

and there would be a time where I'd
just spend weeks in bed.

And I don't know whether it was what
you'd call ME,

or some chronic fatigue or glandular
fever or something,

but these waves of being completely
knocked out,

unable to contribute to the band,

or actually get up and make toast or

It kind of really took it out of me.

Within and around the band, there
was a fair degree of cynicism

about what was wrong with him.

When I look back on it now,

kind of saw his illness as a
stumbling block,

something to be worked round,

rather than ever really saying to
him, "How do you feel?"

I think I was very angry about what
was going on,

and I think that I was immature

to sort of direct my anger at him,
without realising what was going on.

I don't think they understood.

Even now, I don't really understand
what was happening to me.

Richard, speak to Neil.

I'm just doing something.

My main memory of recording
Head Music

is eight months of basically just
me and Mat in the studio.

Neil being on the other end of the

being sent cassettes

and phoning up to say what we should
be doing,

and Brett turning up at ten o'clock
at night in an altered state.

I'd like to hear a-a-a more extreme
version of this sound,

with more distortion and more filter.

The low points on it, they're awful.

So give me head

Give me head

Give me head music instead

I said oh-oh

Is it all in the mind?

If we'd had any kind of clear eyes
and clear hearts,

we would have said, "There's half a
great record here."

It's got some of my favourite...

You know, Indian Strings, Can't Get
Enough, Everything Will Flow -

these are as good as we've ever done.

Take a look inside me

Inside my mind

And you'll see
my heart is broken, too

I don't disown that record at all,

I just regret that it wasn't seen

with the right kind of conviction.

Down is, I think, the best example
of Brett being nakedly honest

about where his life was at that


You draw the blinds

And blow your mind away

And there's a sadness in your style

Down's quite a dark song.

I wrote it after a pretty horrific


... my girlfriend kind of...

... had a...

... kind of overdose, I suppose.

This horrific convulsive fit in the
flat over there.

And I remember, 4:00 in the morning,

leaning over her and doing CPR and
pumping her heart,

and all this sort of thing.

And it was pretty horrific.

That was the low point, that was the
turning point for me.

I suddenly saw...

... what I was doing to myself,
and I saw...

... how I was throwing my life away.

And I saw it with perspective.

And from then on, even though it
wasn't a clean break,

I managed to claw my way out of the

... and, yeah, get myself clean again,
get myself healthy again.

There was something particularly

about that '90s Britpop era,

in a way that, like a lot of scenes

people talk about the music business,

"the good drugs and the bad drugs".

The music industry eats its young.
It doesn't mind.

It's very happy for Suede

to take a lot of drugs and have a
drug album,

and for them to disappear, because
there's another one in the pipeline.

At least there used to be, in the
'90s, and there's not anymore.

That's why, as an industry, they
sort of disappear,

cos they didn't take care of people.

There's an awful lot of casualties
in the music industry,

in lots of different ways.

I'm not sure we would have listened
to anyone, that's the trouble.

We're responsible,
you know what I mean?

As long as you can learn from your

and we've made so many mistakes

that we've probably
learnt quite a lot.

Drugs were celebrated a lot back
then - it was different culture,

a different time.

It was, probably wrongly,

shoved under the carpet,

and I think a lot of people,

particularly management, record
companies, you know, think,

"Wow, it's a good thing, because it
helps the creative process."

And I think a lot of people got
damaged because of that

later on in life, as we know.

That whole period of my life, when
I think back on it,

just makes me feel so sad that any
of us put ourselves through that.

You know, I think there was this
sort of myth

that taking drugs make you a better
artist, but the opposite is true -

you know, it makes people
caricatures of themselves.

I think that what happened in 1998,

is pretty much my fault.


Not to be too, kind of...

... sort of black and white about it,

but, you know, it's my...

... it's on my shoulders, really, what

You know, all of the problems could
have been contained,

if I'd have had a clear head, I

I do feel as though it's my fault,

Richard, say something funny.

On the road... again.

Once the Head Music tour was out
of our system,

and we started writing in early 2000,

Brett was clean, but we were
struggling -

we were running out of energy and
struggling to come up with ideas.

And then Neil decided

that he couldn't really face
recording another album

and doing another tour, so he left
in March 2001.

It took seven years to get over it.

And I'm not the same person -

I didn't recover to be the same kind
of person,

have the same kind of energy as I
did before I got sick.

So it did completely change me.

Alex Lee joined pretty much as soon
as Neil left,

and I loved working with Alex,

but we were kind of a sinking ship
by this point.

A New Morning, God.

A slow, painful death.

Musically, we were done - we'd run
out of inspiration.

We really had.


Even though I made it in a very clean

the shadow of addiction was very,
very present,

and it felt like I was imbalanced.

It was a sort of see-saw - the
mirror image of it, almost.

All the darkness is turned into some
sort of ersatz kind of positivity,

and it just didn't work at all.

And I DO disown that record!


Unlike Head Music.

I wish we'd never made it.

I wish we'd never made that record.


We're in the ICA, cos we played five
nights here in September 2003.

We came here and we played all of
our albums so far,

which wasn't as much of a cliche as
it is now, I don't think.

I remember pushing this through,

because at the back of my mind,
I was thinking

that we hadn't really got long
left, to be honest,

and I wanted to do something that had
a sort of retrospective feel,

that kind of closed...

... that sort of closed the book,
as it were.

I suppose I wanted to celebrate our
career, really, more than anything.

I wanted to sort of say,
"Well, you know,

"the album that we just released was a

"but it wasn't always that way,"
I suppose.

But it's down to...

Essentially, it was down to my life
spiralling out of control

that disaster struck, you know.

I think it was my addictions

that meant that I didn't have...

I didn't care enough about the band
anymore, to be honest,

and that's an absolute tragedy that
I didn't care enough about the band,

and I lie awake, still regretting
that now.

I think it's a terrible, terrible,
terribly sad thing.

And I apologise deeply for that.



When you're addicted to substances,
you know, nothing else matters,

and that's such a sad thing that
I didn't realise that.

- I think it would have happened anyway.
- Yeah.

I think it's just the nature of Suede

- to push things a little too far, you know.
- Yeah.

It had always worked for us.

We were too young to know that you
can break things like that.

It was only a few weeks after these

that you dropped the bombshell

at the Graham Norton Show,
of all places.

When it came to the Graham Norton
Show, and the decision was made,

for a split second it was a surprise
and a nasty shock

to hear that we were splitting up,

but then immediately afterwards
I thought,

"I should have seen that coming."

I was pissed off that we didn't talk
about it,

and Brett suddenly decided to tell
us at the Graham Norton Show.

I think I was a bit pissed off that
you said, "Split up."

"Split up" is so different from
saying, "Taking a break."

You know what I mean?
It was a final thing.

And I didn't want it to be final.

I certainly wanted a break, but I
didn't want it to be final.

I can't remember what I said.

You said, "It's over for Suede."
Did I?

Yeah. I thought I said something
like, "I can't do this anymore."

- You said, "I think it's over."
- OK. Did I?

Yeah. And then...

So that, for me, meant splitting up.

I can always tell -

And I was quite proud that we'd
actually said,

"We're gonna split up."

I think so many more bands should
split up.

And here's a list!

And here's a list!

Did you think Suede would reform at
that time?

ALL: No.



That was fucking brilliant.

Can't really say fairer than that.
That was fucking brilliant.

- That was, like, the best gig ever.
- I think it possibly was.

What about after Metal Mickey?
What was that?

That was insanity! That's never
happened, surely?



We haven't finished yet.

I had no intention of reforming Suede
for many, many, many years,

and then the Teenage Cancer Trust
called us up

and asked us if we wanted to do a

And... I just thought, "Mm. Why not?"

Good evening.

We're Suede.

So I called Mat first.

Literally, if you'd said to me,
"Do you want to reform Suede?"

I would have said, "No."

But he called up and said,
"The Teenage Cancer Trust have asked us

"to play the Albert Hall,"

and it just felt like, "Oh, this
could end it," you know what I mean?

It didn't feel like a beginning in
any way,

it felt like, "This is the end that
it should have had."

Here they come

The beautiful ones

The beautiful ones

La, la, la...

Richard was the only member of the
band that had reservations.

You know the idea of opening any old
wounds was kinda scary,

even up to the actual gig,

so I wasn't thinking beyond that
show at all.

Because you're beautiful

Yeah, I think we were all in
agreement that...

That it was just gonna be one gig,

and then leave and then have this
sort of, like, "Whoa," kind of thing,

and then just away again.

And there was something really cool

about doing something that was gonna
cost us a load of money!

Give money to a good cause and then
disappear -

I think there was a part of me that

"No-one can say we did this for the
wrong reasons."

And it was very much a sense, that
we'd got off stage...

"... Well, that was too good not
to do again."

It was so, so important to try and
re-establish ourselves

as a creative force again,

not to be one of those bands that
was part of the nostalgia circuit.

Where the band lost its way -

we'd kind of stopped making music
that sounded like Suede,

and I think since we've got back

we've learnt how to do that again,

and I think we can trust ourselves
to make that kind of music now.

With The Blue Hour, we've come to a

where we just know
what our strengths are.

At the moment, we're in production

somewhere in... Bedford way.

We've got the sound sorted out, we
just wanna go out and play it now.

That's my favourite part of any
album that we release -

the initial sort of...

Not those five days of hard work
spent actually recording it

that you did.

Three days of hard work.

Can I just point out, me and Richard
and Neil

spent a year and a half writing it.

- Simon flies in for five days...
- Well, you know...


We've relearnt how to make a record

and I think it's quite contrary to
the way most bands work.

These last three albums, especially
The Blue Hour,

we've kind of always been in the
room together,

me, Richard and Brett,

and there's something very fresh
about that.

We've had to learn to almost put all
ego to one side.

If someone doesn't like what you do
or doesn't like an idea you have,

you have to just move on and try
harder and not let it get to you,

which, in the past, it did.

When it all is much too much

Meet me in the wastelands

Make a chain of flowers

Like our ties are severed

There's a kind of purity now

which goes back to the very early

and I think it's taken us three

to kind of strip away some of the

and to get back to that really
pure state

of just being a band making records
that you love.

When we came back, Bloodsports had
kind of fizzy pop singles on it,

and things for radio.

This blood is lifting her

This blood is lifting you

I was snowblind

And then we did Night Thoughts,

which was much more knotty and
tangled and difficult.

Don't tell me that you'll change

Tell me you can...

And people loved it, people came
with us.

I think we almost underestimated our

I think the thing we've learnt over
these three records

is there's a group of people who
will come with us

if we go on a strange path somewhere.

The lessons we learnt from Night
Thoughts were huge.

To make a record which we thought was
quite an uncompromising, challenging,

quite difficult record,

and to realise, duh, that people like

rather than wanting to hear our
version of pop music,

which no-one really wants to hear
anymore, least of all us.

It was a real revelation in making
this record,

and it kind of allowed us to take it
the next level,

further left-field sort of thing,

and it allowed us to do strange and
unpleasant things.

This is the first one we've done in
this trilogy

where I personally really feel that
I know where it wants to go.


Take her cold hands

Place the snowdrops in her palm

I'm pushing through the wire

I have no choice but to follow you

You've gotta feel, when you make an

that you've done something a bit of
a risk.

I think a lot of people, at this
stage in their career,

want to just service their fans

and do what they think is expected
of them.

To be able to push yourselves to do
something different,

and still it be the band and still
be interesting, it's hard.

You know, it's very hard.

For me, the creative state is so much
about a state of flux,

it's so much about reacting against

it's so much about having points to

that as soon as you get to a stage

where you feel as though you've
learnt everything or whatever,

it's almost like, well, then you're
kind of neutered

and then you're not creative anymore.

It feels like there can never be that
end point -

there isn't a nice, neat ending to

Brett is one of the great British
rock lyricists,

and he's not given enough credit for

Play on the road

I mean, on the new record, there's a
song called Flytipping.


There is an indefinable Suede-ness
that's there in The Drowners,

and that's there in Flytipping.

What is my name?

What is yours?

Do we own these things?

What has it all been for?

Flytipping on the road of course

Flytipping is a good encapsulation
of the Suede journey.

It's about a couple who, over the

have acquired all this baggage,

and the next part of their journey
through life

is to then get rid of it,

and to look to a future

where you're not weighed down by the

What is my name?

What is yours?

Lots of Suede is trying to
find beauty within the darkness -

the kind of outskirts, the sort of
liminal, in-between places.

I don't see any other bands here.

It sorts of seems to be our own
little territory,

and we're probably welcome to it.


The scruffy bits of the world are
just more interesting.

You know, look at the pylons,
they're so majestic.

The thing is,
I bet Monaco has got pylons.


Feels like just enough

Whatever little bumps in the road
there were,

whatever decision they got wrong,

they also got an awful lot right.

Suede are massively important.

We may be seeing the last day of the
rock music that Suede were part of,

and that's not to be sort of,
"Woe is me,"

it's just a fact if music all died
out, bands of guitars might die out.

It's really rare that you keep going,

because it's hard to be in a band -

all the egos, resentment,
"Why has he got that?

"Why has he got that credit?

"Why have we got an older drummer
that looks like a sex offender?"

You know, shit like that can break a
band up.

But it didn't. It didn't.

They stuck by him.



I hate Ricky Gervais.

The evolution of British rock music
that begins in the late 1950s,

and is still just about going on now,

Suede are one of the key people in

Are absolutely one of the key bands
in it.

They're one of a handful of great
British rock bands

who pushed it on,
who did something new,

who brought a different aesthetic to
it and changed everything.

Michael Christie, you're an evil,
insane guy!

Piss off, Mike.

I thought your film was gonna be
people saying, "Simon, fuck off."

Oh, piss off.

Don't do that!

Why are you filming me,
you horrible git?