The House of Love: Bless this house

Fifteen years after an acrimonious split, The House of Love are making music once again. Terry Bickers and Guy Chadwick tell Fiona Sturges how they kissed and played on

In 1989, Terry Bickers, guitarist and co-founder of The House of Love, was turfed off his tour bus and abandoned by the rest of his band on the edge of the M5. He and the singer Guy Chadwick had been at each other's throats for months and it was becoming increasingly clear that one of them had to go. In the event it was Bickers, though even he couldn't have predicted the unceremonious nature of his ejection. With no way of getting home, he was forced to thumb a lift to the nearest train station. Two days later, he received a phone call from Chadwick informing him he was sacked.

In 1989, Terry Bickers, guitarist and co-founder of The House of Love, was turfed off his tour bus and abandoned by the rest of his band on the edge of the M5. He and the singer Guy Chadwick had been at each other's throats for months and it was becoming increasingly clear that one of them had to go. In the event it was Bickers, though even he couldn't have predicted the unceremonious nature of his ejection. With no way of getting home, he was forced to thumb a lift to the nearest train station. Two days later, he received a phone call from Chadwick informing him he was sacked.

Bickers says it was no more than he deserved. "I should put this in perspective," he says gravely. "We were on this really gruelling tour. The night before we were in Wales and I'd kept everyone awake rowing with my wife on the phone. The next day we were on the bus and everyone was really strung out. I started being really loud and annoying and picking fights with everyone. Guy said to me, 'Look, we need to talk' but I wouldn't have it. Ten minutes later I was out of the van. If I had been in their shoes, I'd have done the same thing."

Bickers and Chadwick didn't speak for nine years, which makes it all the more surprising to find them chatting amiably in a restaurant not far from Bickers' home in Brighton. Two months ago they released Days Run Away, their first House of Love album in more than a decade, and next week they embark on a two-week UK tour.

"Are we tempting fate?" ponders Bickers. "I don't think so. I think we're both old enough and ugly enough to address any issues head-on and keep our tempers in check. We're also doing things at our own pace rather than letting a record company dictate what we do, which helps."

It was their old agent Mick Griffiths' suggestion in 2003 that the pair resume their creative partnership. By this time, Chadwick and Bickers had been in phone contact for some years and had even mooted the idea of writing songs together.Things moved slowly at first - a whole year passed between their initial meeting and their first rehearsal as a band. "It was weird for while," says Chadwick. "But we've always had a very instinctive way of communicating with each other, which I guess is why we make good music together."

With its gentle melodies and shimmering guitars, Days Run Away pretty much picks up where The House of Love's 1988 debut album left off, with Bickers and Chadwick effortlessly summoning the old chemistry. "Love You Too Much" is a poignant study of sexual infatuation, while "Maybe You Know" reads as an apology from Chadwick to Bickers - "Maybe you know by now it kind of got out of hand/ And there were times when I really thought it couldn't end."

Of their relationship now, Chadwick states: "We're really different people. It's a very complex kind of friendship, and I think it'll always be slightly fractious. We don't have this huge buddy thing going on though at the same time it's very intimate."

It was music rather than friendship that brought Bickers and Chadwick together in the mid-Eighties. After a short spell with the ill-fated, glam rock-inspired band the Kingdoms, Chadwick put an ad in the Melody Maker for a guitarist for a new band. Taking their name from Anais Nin's 1954 novel, he and Bickers formed The House of Love late in 1986.

They quickly became the darlings of the indie scene, with Chadwick and Bickers becoming talked about in the same reverential tones as Morrissey and Marr. Signed to Alan McGee's Creation label, they had their first hit, "Shine On", in May 1987. The following year they released their self-titled debut album, containing the classic singles "Christine" and "Love in a Car", to instant acclaim.

Among the lessons that Bickers and Chadwick have carried with them from the early days is to trust the people you're working with. Both regard their move from Creation in 1989 to the major label Fontana as one of the worst decisions of their career. "The guy who signed us had signed Def Leppard and Tears For Fears so he had a lot of clout," Chadwick says. "He insisted on putting us together with producers who were quite obviously wrong for us. He was completely uninterested in anything that didn't have a huge chorus in it. He wanted hits, basically. He also ordered a load of remixes that we hadn't authorised and we absolutely loathed."

Their first two singles on Fontana, "Never" and "I Don't Know Why I Love You", both stalled at Number 41 in the charts and the critics slowly turned against them. Meanwhile, the band's relentless schedule was proving unmanageable.

"After our first album it was manic," says Bickers. "A classic case of too much too soon. We needed a break... We had spent 18 months in the studio recording our second album. Everything we produced got rejected and we were at the end of our ropes. Then as soon as we got the last track down they said 'Right, now off you go on tour'. It was a recipe for disaster."

Chadwick soldiered on with The House of Love for another couple of albums after Bickers' departure, but called it a day in 1994. "I stayed in bed for three years after that," he says blithely. "I was very depressed, unable to function, effectively dead. A lot of the last 10 years have been spent getting my head together and bringing up my daughter. I made a couple of attempts to make records but I was never happy with them."

A year after his dismissal, Bickers formed Levitation, a band that gathered a fervent following on the live circuit and eventually signed a deal with Chrysalis. But Bickers, who was suffering from depression, decided to leave. By now an old hand at dramatic exits, he laid down his guitar in the middle of a gig and just walked off stage. Bickers shakes his head. "It was a crap thing to do," he says. "It was unfair on the people that came to see us and on everyone in the band ... The reason I left the way I did was because I didn't want to give anyone the opportunity to talk me round."

Through a combination of therapy and the martial art Shin Tai Do, he has conquered his depression and is ready to restart his career. Chadwick, too, believes that his dark days are behind him and, like Bickers, is optimistic. The pair have already committed to making another album as The House of Love. "It's still early days," says Bickers with a smile. "But communication is good and so is the music. This is about letting bygones be bygones and just getting on with it. Personally, I've never been happier."

The single "Gotta Be That Way" (Art and Industry) is out on 25 April. The House of Love play Sheffield Leadmill on Sunday and then tour nationwide.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
This year's Big Brother champion Helen Wood
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Full company in Ustinov's Studio's Bad Jews
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Harari Guido photographed Kate Bush over the course of 11 years
Music
Arts and Entertainment
Reviews have not been good for Jonathan Liebesman’s take on the much loved eighties cartoon
Film

A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend

Arts and Entertainment
Untwitterably yours: Singer Morrissey has said he doesn't have a twitter account
Music

A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album

Arts and Entertainment
Full throttle: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro in God's Pocket
film
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie Minogue is expected to return to Neighbours for thirtieth anniversary special
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?