Poptone To Take SoCal On Nostalgia Trip


POPTONE play HOB/Anaheim May 15, HOB/San Diego May 17, Teragram Ballroom May 19, The Glass House May 21

On the eve of their first Poptone show ever, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins were excited, ready, and willing to begin performing a retrospective of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, and Tones on Tail in front of a live audience.

“I didn’t realize just how much I missed it actually. I feel about 20 years younger since I started rehearsing,” Ash mused while Haskins chuckled.

“I’m sort of made to do this. I’m not any good at anything else. I mean, I like painting and stuff. I’m pretty good at riding motorcycles but you can’t do that for a living. Well, some people can but I couldn’t. So, yeah, I’m just having an absolute blast.”

This new found enthusiasm and excitement after not touring for many years, has also introduced unexpected new behaviors, especially considering the many changes in the 21st century.

“I catch myself looking at equipment magazines and stuff, which I’ve never done, like new effects pedals and guitars,” Ash admitted. “I’ve never done that in my whole life. And I sort of have a couple of these magazines in the bathroom. It’s very strange. I don’t know what’s happening to me.”

Poptone is taking a bit of a nostalgia trip by presenting the cream of the crop between the three bands, playing them as close as they can get to the original versions. Most songs were chosen by Ash and reflect songs that he wrote and sang on.

“I think for me the Tones On Tail material has a powerful cache because as you know we haven’t played that material in over 35 years,” Haskins said. “So I think a lot of people are excited to hear that”.

“I mean 70% of the set is Tones on Tail material because we did one small tour of the U.S. and the one of the UK but we made a really good record,” Ash explained.

“It sort of stood the test of time really well. But the bottom line is those songs haven’t been played since 1983 or something so people really want to hear it.

“And things like t-shirts and stuff, you know, nothing was ever made officially for Tones on Tail. It’s almost like Poptone sounds like a 21st century version of the band.”

Daniel Ash

Daniel Ash

Remarkably, Poptone was motivated by a dream Ash had about playing live, which he was completely burned out on doing. He really hadn’t been interested in touring anymore even though a few people had wanted him to do so for a long time.

“I can’t understand why I had this dream…I just got this revelation about four in the morning about eight weeks ago, nine weeks ago, now, where it became extremely apparent I should play live again,” Ash recalled. “The obvious choice was Kevin should be involved and it sort of evolved from there.”

Diva Dompe, who has several albums of her own and happens to be Haskins’ daughter, will join the two and play bass.

“It’s very cool and very exciting,” Haskins said.

“Something I’ve noticed is we lock together really tight. We feel like a really tight rhythm section.

“I’ve got to give Glen (Campling) a real big shout out because his input on Tones On Tail is remarkable. The bass lines and all his synth work were so unique. And Diva kind of picked up those bass lines really easily so it just felt a very natural fit.”

Keeping close to the original sound also naturally led to Ash sticking with his Boss pedals, even though there are tons of new guitar effects on the market.

“That’s all I used when we recorded all those songs so I don’t need anything new. And a Wah-Wah pedal, a Cry Baby. That’s it.”

Known for previously using H&H amps with the three bands, Ash has recently switched to Blackstar Amps, which is coincidentally made in Northampton, where both he and Haskins were born.

“It’s small, really light, and loud as fuck,” Ash explained.

While occasionally using a Telecaster or a Takamine12-string guitar, his preferred guitar remains to be a Fernandes with a sustainer, although you can’t get them in the U.S. anymore.

“They’ve sort of died the death here. I’ve used that thing for years, I really love the sustainer on it.”

Ash jokingly prodded Haskins to confirm that he uses DW drums which was “really good because they’re chrome”, Ash’s favorite color.

“Since they’re circular the glare goes all over the place,” Ash excitedly recalled.

“I love a bit of glare anyway so if it does start glaring I love it. I’ve got a bit of glare on my guitar. It’s like a mirror finish thing. So hopefully it will still have an impact shooting the lights out all around the room.”

Ash promises they have “some little tricks up our sleeves” in regards to the live show. Without going into detail all he would admit was “they are trying to get away from the old fashion, boring rock show”.

As far as the future of Poptone, the possibility of new material, etc., is anyone’s guess.

“I have no idea what’s going to come out of the three of us,” Ash speculated.

“We have no clue as to what it’s going to be as far as what we’re going to turn out. But at the moment, the next nine-ten months we will have tunnel vision and are going to try to be a killer live band. That’s our main objective at this point in time.”

You can catch Poptone at House of Blues Anaheim May 15, House of Blues San Diego May 17, Teragram Ballroom Los Angeles May 19, and Glass House Pomona May 20.

The current set list is:
*Tones On Tail: Go! OK This Is The Pops, Movement of Fear, Christian Says, Happiness, Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley cover), Lions, Twist, Performance, There’s Only One
*Love and Rockets: An American Dream, Mirror People, No Big Deal, Love Me, Sweet F.A.
*Bauhaus: Slice of Life
*Daniel Ash (solo): Flame On
*Adam Ant (cover): Physical