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New Suede crew
Brit band gets facelift
Unceremoniously elbowed out of the spotlight by the likes of Oasis, Blur, and Portishead, Suede may have been dismissed by the British music press - not but don't try telling that to the band's fresh-faced new guitarist.
As far as 18-year-old Richard Oakes is concerned, Suede came into being the day he beat out 500 other applicants for the job previously held by Bernard Butler, who left very loudly last year just before the release of the band's second album, Dog Man Star.

Take Oakes' distracting habit of referring to his predecessor only as "the last guy."

"Oh, have I been?" he's saying last week from London, where he and the rest of Suede are socializing rather noisily prior to an appearance on TV's Top Of The Pops.

"Have I not mentioned his name? Oh, all right then: Bernard. We don't really talk much about him. I've never even met him. All I can tell you is what other people have told me, that it's a change for the better. I hope everyone thinks so when we come to Canada."

That'll be this week, when the band plays The Warehouse Friday night. In the meantime, the first recorded evidence of Suede, Mk. II, arrived in the U.K. last week in the form of an EP featuring two new tracks written by Oakes and pallid frontman Brett Anderson, Together and Bentswood Boys, both of which sound remarkably like, well, Suede, Mk. I.

"We're bursting with ideas," says Oakes. "We're going to do some recording in L.A. in two weeks, and we're writing a lot at the moment."

And what about those nasty rumors in the British weeklies that Brett Anderson is addicted to heroin?

"The day you have to believe what British weekly newspapers have to say will be a bad day for mankind, in my view," Oakes sneers.

"If Brett were a drug user, he'd be sitting in the corner at the moment dribbling or something, and he's not. He's dancing around looking very happy."
By John Sakamoto - Toronto Sun
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