Despite being on a tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the formation of Bauhaus with the band’s original bassist David J in tow, Peter Murphy is still living in the moment.

“We played in this wonderful big beautiful church with great architecture inside,” he says about the previous evening at Christuskirche in Bochum, Germany. “Not a gothic church, but it was a very modernistic, Calvinistic type of design. I decided that I’d go into [the Dead Can Dance cover] ‘Severance,’ which was rather hymn-like and respectful to the sacrosanct grounds that we were on. Then, I just got the immediate idea to do ‘Ziggy [Stardust]’ but by performing it as a sermon, spoken words. At the end, David went to hang his bass guitar off the crucifix.”

The Godfather of Goth is gregarious and mischievous. His British accent and impish charm are reminiscent of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who. He can simultaneously display self-confidence by bragging, “I inspired Bowie,” yet be self-effacing when humbly conceding, “The audience are part of my art; you’re part of the music.”

The 40 Years Of Bauhaus Ruby Celebration tour kicked off in New Zealand in mid-October, with an American leg through the end of February. It culminates in a long residency in San Francisco that was originally booked in 2017; its cancellation was the genesis for the current tour. “I wanted to bring David into it, because barring the other girls coming in, it’s my solo event anyway,” Murphy laughs. “It’s nothing to do with Bauhaus, but this would be a Bauhaus night. Unfortunately, my visa to work in America was taking unusually long to come through. That happened, and somebody said, ‘Hey, do you know this is a 40th ruby anniversary?’ I thought since David was onboard, we’re doing the Ruby tour.”

Murphy claims that he never attempted to reform the entire band as he did twice before, most recently to record 2008’s Go Away White. “It wasn’t an idea,” he says. “There was no notion that I would get Bauhaus together. I had proposed a Bauhaus reunion for one particular event some months earlier; [drummer] Kevin [Haskins] and [guitarist] Daniel [Ash] were totally not in and refused. That was fine. It was only the fact that I invited David. He’s my brother, [and] we’re getting old now; we might pop our clocks any minute!”

On Jan. 26, 1979, Bauhaus went into Wellingborough, Northamptonshire’s Beck Studios as a promising young troupe who merged the brooding despair of Sabbath with the bristling energy of glam and, like Joy Division, a plodding protest of the unfulfilled promise of punk. After recording the iconic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” they left having invented gothic rock.

The vocalist claims to have a photographic memory, which comes in handy when looking back at events four-decades-old. “We were geniuses,” Murphy recalls matter-of-factly. “It just came out of us as a collective. There were four individuals contributing to the whole. Very rich soil, understanding where we were in the English context, and we were like nobody else.”

By the end of 1980, the band released several singles and In the Flat Field. They would release three more albums before breaking up in 1983, then Murphy would go on to solo success while the other three members had a nice run as Love And Rockets. Even with those accomplishments, the debut album and preceding single stand out as one of those before-and-after moments that changed everything. “We’re playing, specifically, In the Flat Field in its entirety and order,” Murphy explains. “Even Bauhaus hadn’t played half of it live ever.”

The Ruby Celebration tour commemorates music recorded almost four decades ago, but Murphy says to write it off as nostalgia at your own peril. “Really, the point is there is no ‘was’; it just ‘is,’ and they’ll always want ‘is.’ It’s not a retrospective actually, because it can’t be. I’ll kick it into now if it kills me.”

Photo by Cihan Unalan

Tour Dates

Jan. 16 – Anaheim, CA – City National Grove of Anaheim (Tickets)
Jan. 18 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre
Jan. 19 – Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre
Jan. 20 – Seattle, WA – The Neptune
Jan. 22 – Salt Lake City, UT – Venue TBA
Jan. 24 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
Jan. 25 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
Jan. 26 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
Jan. 27 – Oklahoma City, OK – Tower Theatre
Jan. 28 – Kansas City, MO – The Truman (Tickets)
Jan. 30 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
Jan. 31 – Austin, TX – Paramount Theater
Feb. 1 – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger
Feb. 2 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
Feb. 4 – New Orleans, LA – Civic Theatre
Feb. 6 – Miami, FL – The Ground at Club Space
Feb. 7 – Orlando, FL – Plaza Live (Tickets)
Feb. 8 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade (Tickets)
Feb. 9 – Carrboro, NC – Cats Cradle
Feb. 11 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Feb. 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Feb. 14 – New York, NY – Terminal 5 (Tickets)
Feb. 15 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
Feb. 16 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
Feb. 17 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Theatre
Feb. 19 – Detroit, MI – St Andrews Hall
Feb. 21 – Columbus, OH – Columbus Athenaeum
Feb. 22 – Chicago, IL – Rockefeller Chapel
Feb. 26 – Denver, CO – Oriental Theater
Feb. 28 – Los Angeles, CA – The Novo DTLA (Tickets)

1 Comment

  1. Good interview and interesting to see Peters perpective on the band, the history, and the current tour.
    Thank you.

Write A Comment