Feuding stars hiss and make up to re-form legendary Suede

Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler resolve one of the most bitter disputes in pop. Anthony Barnes reports
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The Independent Culture

It was one of the most acrimonious splits in rock. As Britpop idols Suede teetered on the edge of greatness, the hate-filled relationship between singer Brett Anderson and guitarist Bernard Butler finally collapsed.

It was one of the most acrimonious splits in rock. As Britpop idols Suede teetered on the edge of greatness, the hate-filled relationship between singer Brett Anderson and guitarist Bernard Butler finally collapsed.

The guitarist stormed out, and although Suede soldiered on before its eventual demise, its musical soul was ripped out. Now, after a decade-long rift, fans will get the chance to see what might have been as Anderson and Butler put their animosity behind them to record again.

They join a long list of great rock reunions which has seen acts as diverse as Duran Duran and Simon and Garfunkel teaming up once more.

The one-time scourge of the establishment the Sex Pistols have twice re-formed their original line-up. Fleetwood Mac, the Velvet Underground, Blondie and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have also buried their differences after years apart to reunite sporadically.

The return of Butler and Anderson will be seen by some as a shameless cash-in. The recent revival of Boston band Pixies, another group torn apart by infighting, has shown the value of putting aside differences with their recent tour expected to generate around £8m.

Others will see the return of the foppish Suede stars as a glorious attempt to pick up the pieces. While the origin of Butler and Anderson's dispute remains shrouded in mystery, there is no doubting its ferocity. The band will forever be associated with back-stage rows and studio bust-ups.

The differences are thought to have been patched up after Suede finally dissolved last year following the failure of their fifth LP, A New Morning.

They recruited a bass player and drummer, spent the summer in a recording studio and recorded more than a dozen songs to be released on an album early next year. A spokesman for the duo was keeping tight-lipped about the project but confirmed the music he had heard was "excellent". "Brett and Bernard are making a record and it's wonderful. It's 10 years since Bernard left the band but now everything is as it should be," he added.

Anderson has said of the sessions: "My drive, direction and focus, which became clouded towards the end of my work with Suede, are all back with a vengeance and both me and Bernard are excited about being back in the game."

Suede, who were managed in an early incarnation by the comic Ricky Gervais, won huge acclaim for their Bowie-like guitar rock, coupled with an androgynous image. Butler quit after the recording of second album Dog Man Star in 1994, reckoned to be their masterpiece and while later releases sold well, they were felt to pale in comparison. Butler scored a top 10 hit with the singer David McAlmont the following year but rarely troubled the chart again.

Mojo deputy editor Andrew Male said: "In a way it's like ex-lovers who go on to have a series of other disastrous relationships and then they eventually get back together to get that passion, that fire back. You get bands who split because of musical differences but with Brett and Bernard it was because they grew to hate each other.

"There is a curiosity among the fans to see if they can still do what they once did and the Pixies are a good example of where it has worked. I'm not sure that Suede have that same cultural cachet."

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