The House of Love Biography

After a short spell with the ill-fated, glam rock-inspired Kingdoms, vocalist and guitarist Guy Chadwick (21 March 1956, Hanover, Germany) teamed up with drummer Pete Evans (b. 22 October 1957, Swansea, Wales), guitarist Terry Bickers (b. 6 September 1965, Fulham, London, England), bass player Chris Groothuizen (b. New Zealand) and vocalist/guitarist Andrea Heukamp to form UK band the House Of Love. Throughout 1986, the quintet played at small pubs and despatched a demo tape to Creation Records, which, after constant play in the office, attracted the attention of label head Alan McGee. He financed the recording of their debut single, the sparkling ‘Shine On’, which was released in May 1987 (the song eventually became a Top 20 hit when a re-recorded version was released three years later). The follow-up ‘Real Animal’ sold relatively poorly and, after touring extensively under tough conditions, Heukamp decided to leave the band (her time with the band was compiled on the 1987 German compilation The House Of Love).

Continuing as a quartet, the House Of Love spent the spring of 1988 recording their debut album, which cost an astonishingly meagre £8, 000 to complete. A pilot single, ‘Christine’, was rightly acclaimed as one of the best UK independent singles of the year. Its shimmering guitar work was exemplary and indicated the enormous potential of the ensemble. The debut album did not disappoint and was included in many critics’ nominations for the best record of 1988. Already, the House Of Love was tipped as the band most likely to succeed in 1989 and the release of the excellent ‘Destroy The Heart’ reinforced that view. Speculation was rife that they would sign to a major label and eventually Phonogram secured their signatures. In keeping with their 60s, guitar-based image, the band’s releases were subsequently issued on the newly revived Fontana Records label.

A torturous period followed. The first two singles for the label, ‘Never’ and ‘I Don’t Know Why I Love You’, both stalled at number 41, while the album suffered interminable delays. By Christmas 1989, guitarist Terry Bickers had quit over what was euphemistically termed a personality clash. He was immediately replaced by Simon Walker, and early the following year the band’s long-awaited £400, 000 second album, commonly known as Fontana, appeared to mixed reviews. As Chadwick later acknowledged: ‘We’d stated everything on the first album’.

Thereafter, Chadwick suffered a long period of writer’s block while the departing Bickers enjoyed acclaim in Levitation. Extensive touring followed, ending with the departure of Walker, who was briefly replaced by original member Andrea Heukamp before Simon Mawby (b. 24 December 1960, Leicester, Leicestershire, England) was recruited as a more permanent member. Although the House Of Love lost ground to newly revered guitar bands such as the Stone Roses, they re-emerged in October 1991 with an acclaimed EP featuring the excellent ‘The Girl With The Loneliest Eyes’. In 1992, the band’s long-awaited new album, Babe Rainbow, was released to a degree of critical acclaim, but the impression of under achievement was hard to avoid. Following 1993’s Audience With The Mind the band collapsed, Chadwick re-emerging a year later with the Madonnas. By 1997, he was signed to Setanta Records as a solo artist, releasing the ‘This Strength’ single in November and Lazy, Soft & Slow the following year.

The original nucleus of the House Of Love, Bickers and Chadwick continued to work together during this period, and the first stirrings of a reunion took place in 2003 with a jam session featuring original drummer Pete Evans. The trio subsequently played live and enlisted new bass player Matt Jury to help record a new studio album. The excellent Days Run Away was released at the start of 2005, earning generous praise from fans and critics alike.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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