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UK’s Lush regroups for ‘Lovelife’s’ 20th birthday

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From left, Emma Anderson, Miki Berenyi and Phil King are back together in Lush, celebrating their third album “Lovelife.” (Courtesy Gabriel Green)

Miki Berenyi, frontwoman of the U.K. alternative quartet Lush, disbanded the group in 1998 and didn’t entertain the possibility of returning — for years.

“I’m now a production editor at a computer magazine,” says Berenyi, 49, the once-scarlet-maned mother of two whose hair long ago reverted to an office-friendly brown. “At this publishing company, if you’ve been there five years, you get a sabbatical, and what any sensible person would do is go on holiday. But I’m using that sabbatical to do Lush stuff.”

The current version of Lush — Berenyi, her longtime collaborator Emma Anderson. original bassist Phil King and new drummer Justin Welch — is coming to the Warfield this month, on tour for the 20th anniversary of the band’s Britpoppy third album “Lovelife” and promoting a new self-issued EP, “Blind Spot.”

It hasn’t been easy for Berenyi, who has been juggling two full-time jobs, working with Anderson at night and on weekends once they tentatively reformed Lush.

The band broke up after the untimely suicide of drummer Chris Acland in 1996 and an uncomfortable push to break the group big in America,

Acland’s passing hit Berenyi hard. “For the first 10 years after that, (Lush) was completely out of the question for me. The Chris thing completely pulled the rug out from everyone,” she says. “I mean, Emma carried on with Sing-Sing and Phil was in The Jesus and Mary Chain, so they stayed in music. But I absolutely had to vanish. I couldn’t even entertain the thought of trying to play music without Chris.”

Then Berenyi had children, and raising them took the idea of playing music off the table entirely.

But seven years ago, she began getting offers to regroup for festivals, which she initially dismissed, worried about tarnishing the Lush legacy: “What if we’re not as good as we were? People have a real fondness for Lush,” she says. “So it took me this long to actually feel like, ‘You know what? We could actually do a really good job of this. And if I don’t do it now? I’m never going to do it.’”

Although Berenyi isn’t re-dying her locks to their signature red (“I don’t want to be the person whose hair looks younger than their face,” she chuckles), her co-workers are aware of her identity. “When our show at London’s Roundhouse recently went on sale, I came into the office the next day and they said, ‘We’ve all bought tickets!’ It was so sweet. I was really touched!”

Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. April 24
Tickets: $35 to $45
Contact: (415) 345-0900, www.axs.com

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