PUBLISHED IN THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR JUNE 1, 1995

 

BY NICK KREWEN

 

Sixteen years ago, if you had tracked down PETER MURPHY, you'd find him in the dark recesses of a London club, dolled up in full mascara, black lipstick and dark, tattered clothing.

Not today, however. The former singer of BAUHAUS -- the British quartet widely acknowledged as the Godfathers of Gothic rock, the underground gloom wave movement -- is so far removed from the early '80s club scene that he can walk unrecognized on a downtown Toronto street.

"I look at it, and I see photographs, and of course, it was very exaggerated," said Murphy, dressed in a smart suit-and-sweater combo.

"It's like looking through a diary. You're reminded of yourself. I don't think my perspective on what I've done in the past is the same is a fan's. It can't be. I was there. I wasn't on the outside looking in."

A mixture of bleak electronics and sparse guitars, Bauhaus lasted five years until Murphy split to go solo and remaining members DAVID J., KEVIN HASKINS and DANIEL ASH formed LOVE AND ROCKETS. But the band's legacy was immortalized by its very first single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," described by The Trouser Press Record Guide as "gloom's own `Stairway To Heaven.'"

"Bela was a spoof, really," says the Nottingham-born Murphy. "It was real HAMMER horror, a MARY SHELLEY make-your-flesh-creep number, although some members of the band found the vampire theme quite sensual and they were seriously enamored by it.

"To write a song with that gravity, about something so superficial, really, was daft and gothic in itself. It was like Mary Shelley writing about Frankenstein. But it's still about scaring people."

With Cascade, his newest effort on Beggar's Banquet, Peter Murphy is five albums deep into a solo career. Even with a catalogue that includes Should The World Fail To Fall Apart, Love Hysteria, Deep and 1992's Holy Smoke, Murphy understands and appreciates the public's fascination with his past.

"It's like any artist," said Murphy. "You're frozen in time, like a photograph or a record. They can relate to that as if it were made today. It really is a simple, understandable need, to see the person in the flesh who's responsible.

"I just finished a campus press conference, and the kids were all so sweet. They were looking at me almost with love in their eyes. And I knew what it was about, because I remember when I felt that way about somebody. They're curious about the image."

Murphy says his current lifestyle is also light years away from the nihilistic days of his youth. Three years ago he moved with his wife to Turkey, after she was appointed the national director of that country's first contemporary dance company.

"I'm quite domesticated," said Murphy. "I don't live a rock 'n' roll lifestyle. For me the move was about starting a family."

Murphy says strong family values is just one of the appealing aspects of his new home, although he had difficulty adjusting to the language.

"The film Midnight Express isn't a good representation of Turkey," says Murphy. "It's a bit of a cynical vibe, really. It isn't all camels and deserts. It's geographically the middle point between East and West, and socially as well.

"I also feel very comfortable with a society that -- in Turkey's case -- still has an Islamic tradition. It' s not about chopping hands off or wearing scarves over the eyes. It's almost like the '50s: there's a purity and an innocence to the family unit that exists."

Currently rehearsing for a world tour that will start in Milwaukee and hit Toronto on August 6 or 7, Murphy says his new album Cascade is "90 percent sweat and 10 percent inspiration," and compares the recording process to the act of swimming.

"When I'm singing, it'll be one take, and I'll be sort of reading the lyrics and swimming through the music," says Murphy. "You just know what to do, and it's quite pure."

-30-

DISCOGRAPHY

WITH BAUHAUS

1979 -- Bela Lugosi's Dead EP

1980 -- In The Flat Field

1981 -- Mask

1982 -- The Sky's Gone Out

1982 -- Press The Eject And Give Me The Tape

1982 -- Ziggy Stardust EP

1983 -- Burning From The Inside

1983 -- The Singles 1981- 1983 EP

1984 -- Dali's Car, Dali's Car  (with Mick Karn)

1985 -- 1979-1983

1989 -- Swing The Heartache: The B.B.C. Sessions

1998 -- Crackle

1999 -- Gotham

BAUHAUS COLLABORATIONS

1996 -- Various Artists, A Delicious Dependency -- Music For Vampires

1998 -- Various Artists, Art Of Darkness

 

SOLO

1986 -- Should The World Fail To Fall Apart -- Beggar's Banquet

1988 -- Love Hysteria

1990 -- Deep

1992 -- Holy Smoke

1995 -- Cascade

1997 -- Recall

SOLO COLLABORATIONS

1992 -- Various Artists, PolyGram's Most Wanted

1996 -- Various Artists, A Delicious Dependency -- Music For Vampires

1998 -- Various Artists, Art Of Darkness

 

THANKS: Bobby Gale, Wade Hemsworth, Glen Nott

©1995, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink

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