We are digging into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you two of Britain’s most understated yet vitally important artists coming together on one stage as Siouxsie Sioux joins Suede for a perfect Lou Reed cover.
The pioneering punk took to the stage alongside Suede’s guitarist Bernard Butler (frontman Brett Anderson pops off “for a glass of water”) and The Banshees own Martin McCarrick for a rousing rendition of Reed’s ‘Caroline Says II’.
There aren’t many icons of music as intrinsically important to the evolution of British pop culture than Siouxsie Sioux. The arthouse singer has made a career out of courageously taking on every stage and studio she comes across and alongside The Banshees became a vital figurehead during the eighties and beyond.
In 1993, Siouxsie was still at the top of her game and had only continued to gain fans and adoration as her style and sound became the clear foundational influence for so many artists. She even began working with a set of completely different artists, collaborating frequently. While it wouldn’t be easy to draw a straight line between Siouxsie and Suede, there certainly is a squiggly one waiting to connect the dots.
Formed in 1989 around the power couple of Brett Anderson and Justine Frischmann (who later left to form Elastica) soon enough friend Mat Osman would be on board. But the trio realised that neither Anderson nor Frischmann were well-equipped enough to take on lead guitar and so put an advertisement in the paper that read: “Young guitar player needed by London based band. Smiths, Commotions, Bowie, Pet Shop Boys. No Musos. Some things are more important than ability. Call Brett.”
The advert was answered by a 19-year-old Bernard Butler who quickly took on the role of the band’s musical powerhouse. After signing their deal in 1992, by the following year, Suede were the talk of the town. The group were stylised and sophisticated. They didn’t rely on big choruses or untoward aggression to make a splash—they used wit, guile and spectacle to get where they needed to be.
It was a method that garnered a lot of fans and saw Suede throw an intimate show for their fan club in 1993. The London show was full of all the pomp and power that one had come to expect from Suede but it also had a special surprise too—the incredible Siouxsie Sioux.
An undoubted influence on the art-driven band, Siouxsie Sioux was invited on stage not to join in with a Suede number or sing her own song. But to provide a cover of Lou Reed’s beautifully understated ‘Caroline Says II’. Shared in 1973 as part of Reed’s third studio record Berlin, the song is impossibly fragile at every moment. It’s something one may not expect Siouxsie, the pioneering punk, to be able to handle.
You’d naturally, be dead wrong. One thing to always expect when it comes to Siouxsie Sioux is to be surprised at every turn. She puts in a touching and tender version of the song as McCarrick and Butler provide the backing. Casually introduced by Anderson as he leaves the stage, the audible realisation from the crowd of who is stepping up to the microphone is a joy to behold—as is the entire performance.
Watch Siouxsie Sioux join Suede on stage to perform a perfect Lou Reed cover.