Friday, July 15, 2011

Peter Murphy - Ninth

By Nicole Powers

“I'm like a magician or mystic jester.”
- Peter Murphy

Despite being grounded by a seemingly paradoxical levity, which comes across in the form of wry humor throughout our interview, Peter Murphy, a leading light in the gothic underworld, has remained an enigma for over three decades.

He first came to prominence with the preeminent goth band Bauhaus - their seminal cut "Bela Lugosi's Dead" being forever imprinted in the minds of those who appreciate the dark side thanks to its inclusion, and Murphy's mood setting appearance, in Tony Scott's 1983 cult horror classic The Hunger (which starred Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon).

Comprised of Murphy, Daniel Ash, and brothers David J and Kevin Haskins, Bauhaus had an initial lifespan of four years from 1979 to 1983. Following the band's demise, Murphy went solo, while his three former-bandmates regrouped under the Love and Rockets moniker. Both camps went on to enjoy a level of commercial success in the US that surpassed anything their former band had achieved. Murphy's third solo album, Deep (1990), spawned the #1 modern rock hit "Cuts You Up," and his fourth, Holy Smoke (1992), a #2 on the same chart with "The Sweetest Drop." Cascade (1995), with its unabashed romanticism and melodic drive, and Dust (2002), an atmospheric recording steeped in the mysticism and tradition of Murphy's adopted Turkish homeland, are also more than worthy of note.

However fans refused to let the corpse of Bauhaus rest in peace, its legend having grown in the years it had been confined to the crypt. After much speculation and several false starts, Bauhaus reformed in 1998 for the Resurrection Tour. The band was revived again for an unforgettable 2005 Coachella appearance, which opened with Murphy singing "Bela Lugosi's Dead" while hanging upside down from the rafters. This time the quartet stayed together long enough to tour both the US and Europe (including some dates with Nine Inch Nails) and record an album, Go Away White (2008). But the bats left Bauhaus' bell tower, seemingly for good, shortly after the album's release, following an emotionally charged breakup that continues to have an aura of finality.

Appearances on stage (and descending from the rafters) during Nine Inch Nails' 2009 farewell tour, coupled with a cameo as "The Cold One" in the third Twilight film, Eclipse, in 2010, exposed a new generation to Murphy's mesmerizing vampiric presence. With a new album already complete (his first since 2004's ill-fated Unshattered, which was beleaguered by record label issues), he embarked on the Dirty Dirt Tour in the summer of 2010 while he looked for a suitable distribution channel. In March of this year, it was announced that Murphy had signed with the Nettwerk Music Group, and on June 7 the long awaited new full-length, Ninth, finally achieved its release.

Having attempted to catch up with the elusive minstrel numerous times over the past few years, I pinned Murphy down for some quality phone time the day the video for his new single "I Spit Roses" hit the web.

Read my exclusive interview with Peter Murphy on

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