Vocalist Brett Anderson and bass player Mat Osman arrived in London as students in 1989 from the Sussex satellite town of Haywards Heath. They formed a trio with Anderson's girlfriend, Justine Frischmann, who was also studying at University College, London.
After deciding that neither Anderson nor Frischmann had the skill to be a lead guitarist, the group placed an advert in NME, which turned up Bernard Butler, and the foursome, wearing old suits from Oxfam, played their first show with a drum machine at the Sausage Machine Club in Hampstead, London.
When Suede placed an advert for a drummer, to the group's surprise, it was answered by the former Smiths
stickman, Mike Joyce. Though he eventually turned down the job, Joyce stayed long enough to record and produce two songs with the group - "Be My God" and "Art," which were released as a single on RML Records.
Joyce explained to Filter
: "They had a guitarist that sounded more like Johnny Marr than Johnny Marr did, a singer that sang falsetto and a bassist that sounded a bit like Andy Rourke, so to put me in the band wouldn't do them any favors. They needed to be a success in their own right, so we all decided that they should keep looking."
The comedian Ricky Gervais managed Suede for a time before the band became successful. Suede frontman Anderson recalled to Shortlist in 2011: "Well, he was funny back then. The level of his success has been pretty stellar, but good luck to him - he's a very charming and talented chap.
In June 1990, Suede found a permanent drummer, Simon Gilbert through Ricky Gervais. By that time, Gervais was working as an assistant events manager for the University of London Union.
By 1991, Anderson and Frischmann had broken up. Frischmann started dating Damon Albarn of the group Blur and left Suede. She later founded and fronted her own band, Elastica, whose eponymous debut album went on to sell over a million copies worldwide.
When they tried to break America, the band ran into a trademark dispute with successful cabaret singer, Suede. Hence, in the US, they go under the name "The London Suede."
After Bernard Butler left the band, Suede replaced him with 17-year-old Richard Oakes whose first gig had been seeing Suede in Poole the previous year. Anderson recalled to Uncut in 2016: "Looking back, it was a crazy thing to do. To pick up this kid and throw him into this crucible... I'm amazed it turned out okay, but we had such an arrogant sense of self belief, we literally thought we could do anything."
Brett Anderson's father was an obsessive devotee of the 19th century classical composer and pianist Franz Liszt. The Suede frontman recalled to NME: "He would make year the pilgrimages in his Morris Traveller to Liszt's birthplace in Eastern Europe and bring back soil to wear in a phial around his neck."
Brett Anderson and Mat Osman were in a garage band called Geoff when they were in their teens. Anderson recalled to Q magazine: "Bands around then like The Housemartins had this anti-rock stance so we wanted the least rock 'n' roll name possible. We thought Geoff was quite un-rock'n'roll. We used to wear blue lab coats; that was our look."