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Etiquette of Violence

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Album Review

David J's first solo album, Etiquette of Violence, was released right around the time of Bauhaus's breakup in 1983. As might have been expected, the mood is dark, but J's brand of gloom is starker than his old band's. Stripped of Bauhaus's glamour, songs like "Betrayal," "Joe Orton's Wedding," and "Disease" are all the more chilling. Which is not necessarily a good thing; whereas Bauhaus's heaviness was leavened by a kind of youthful exuberance, The Etiquette of Violence is more genuinely depressing. That may make it artistic, but it doesn't make it easy to listen to. As J's first attempt at recording outside a band context, this album is clearly developmental. J is competent if limited as a vocalist, wisely writing songs that are appropriate to his smoky, understated voice. The guitar playing and drumming are shaky at times, and the spare production gives Etiquette of Violence the feel of a demo (and indeed, "The Promised Land" and "Saint Jacqué" both appear in more polished form on On Glass). Placing this album in the context of J's career, one detects a strong undercurrent of disillusionment and burnout. Several songs reflect frustration with the music business, critics, and seedy nightclubs. "The dressing room's a matchbox / Is this any way to earn a crust?", J sings on "The Promised Land," "The stage is a seducer, a doctor, a card you cannot trust." This kind of rock star's lament is always tricky business; it may be therapeutic for the artist, but no one really wants to hear it. At the end of the day, Etiquette of Violence is for hardcore fans only.


Born: 24 April 1957 in Northampton, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

David J (b. David J. Haskins), the bassist/vocalist for the seminal gothic rock band Bauhaus, launched a solo career in 1983, just as Bauhaus folded. His first solo album, Etiquette of Violence, didn't gather much attention, and he began working with the Jazz Butcher. After releasing two albums (Sex and Travel and A Scandal in Bohemia) with the cult musician, David J recorded his second solo album, Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh (1985). Soon afterwards, J and his Bauhaus cohorts, Daniel Ash...
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Etiquette of Violence, David J
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