Music Quarterly

Longing for Night

Meet the Producers

What Remains

Armstrong's Revenge


Highway Ambition

Riding the Fader

The Past Takes It Back

Riding the Line


Behind a Glowing Television

Forget the Producer

Allan Steed's Little Boom Box


Let's Get Ready to Rumble

The Two Together Couldn't Ruin It

TV Without Pictures

Prank #3: Fan vs. Band Vengeance

One Hundred Shades of Blue

Loud Motherfucker

Same Shade of Blue

Touch That Dial

Prank #4: Band vs. Audience Vengeance


CD Review Revue

Among the Ghosts

Prank #5: Intra-Band Vengeance

Que venga la noche

Movie Review Revue

Fan Mail: An End to the Discussion

A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, in 1988, a band formed in London called Lush. Their half-Japanese, half-Hungarian singer/guitarist Miki Berenyi was very, very beautiful--even more beautiful than their other singer/guitarist, to whom no one paid any attention. The music of Lush was a perfect platform for Miki's beauty: swirling, multi-layered, ethereal rushes of guitar noise, delicately interwoven with shimmering vocal harmonies. Their singles and EPs were immediately successful in their native England, and the future of this very attractive, talented band seemed unquestionably bright. They were even being compared to some of the greatest shoegazers of all time, including My Bloody Valentine, and, of course, Cocteau Twins.

Lush gathered up all their singles and turned them into a record called Gala in 1990. They toured relentlessly, opened for Jane's Addiction, and established a solid reputation for themselves in the American and Japanese underground. Their "De-Luxe" video even got heavy rotation on MTV's 120 Minutes. Suddenly, Lush were on top of the world, and beautiful Miki's face was everywhere.

Much of Lush's success to that point had to be credited to their most obvious influence, 4AD labelmates Cocteau Twins. In fact, Robin Guthrie of the latter band had actually produced the majority of their recorded music. In an interview for 120 Minutes, Miki was asked if she thought the comparisons people were making of Lush to their influential big sister were accurate. And that's when a strange and terrible thing happened.

Perhaps Miki was just nervous, and later regretted what she said. Maybe she was joking when she uttered one of the lowest things a woman can say about another. Whether she meant to be vengeful or not, Miki parted those pretty Hungarian Japanese lips of hers, and out came something she is surely regretting today: something along the lines of, "Maybe if I gained 50 pounds" (in reference to Cocteau Twins vocalist Liz Fraser, who is fat).

From that point on, Lush's career trajectory veered off in a different direction. The release of their second LP, Spooky, was a surprisingly unremarkable event. Once again they were produced by Guthrie, and though the record was strong (charting in the U.K.), it seemed that some of the excitement that had initially surrounded Lush was diminishing. Strangely, no one seemed to question whether or not this decline had anything to do with the fact that Miki called Liz Fraser fat.

Lush secured a coveted slot in Lollapalooza, got a different producer, and released Split in 1994. This record didn't even fare as well as Spooky had, and the band with the proudly emaciated Hungarian Japanese frontwoman didn't seem to be living up to their initial promise. Critics began to pay less attention to Lush, and fans didn't buy as many records. But still, no one ever stopped to wonder if Lush's slow descent had anything to do with the fact that Miki basically called Liz Fraser a big stinking heifer.

And then, as if by God's own design, Elastica came along, fronted by the beautiful Justine. Their self-titled debut album provided Elastica both fame and fortune. And to top it all off, Justine was thin, like Miki. This probably hurt Miki very deeply, for at one point Miki was the undisputed thinnest woman in the universe--which explains why she basically called Liz Fraser a dag-nasty, too-much-roast-beef swillin', fried-dough-on-the-back-of-the-legs-havin' lardass.

Retaliating against Justine's obvious height-weight proportionality, Lush went to work on an album called Lovelife, which strangely sounded a lot like Elastica. Miki changed her image from the skinny, spooky, ethereal girl she had once been to the thin, retaliative pop vixen of Lovelife's second single "Ladykiller," an ingenious fusion of the songs "Stutter" and "Connection" by Elastica. Lovelife did fairly well for Lush, but not as well as Elastica did for Elastica. Lush hasn't done anything since.

In that same year, Cocteau Twins released Milk and Kisses, the ninth gorgeous full-length album in a career that is, to date, 18 outstanding years old. On this record, fatso Liz Fraser performs perhaps some of the most breathtaking vocal acrobatics in pop music history.

Blame it on drummer Chris Acland's suicide, or fickle music fans. Blame it on the fact that every woman in the world is (obviously) jealous of Miki's trademark Hungarian Japanese waifishness. But the real reason Lush's flailing, miserable failure of a career came to an end is obvious. Miki called Liz Fraser fat.