Iconic frontman Peter Murphy has announced the Mr. Moonlight Tour, celebrating 35 years of Bauhaus. Murphy, who has started working with producer Youth (Killing Joke, The Verve) on the follow up to his 2011 critically acclaimed solo effort, NINTH (Nettwerk), will spend three months touring North America and Europe with a full band performing only Bauhaus material. Says Peter, Since 2006, I have included my Bauhaus work into my solo work as a way of tipping my hat to my own audience those who discovered my early work as well as new and old fans of those years strong wishes to hear the music of my band crackle and spark in the live arena. Being the foremost advocate of this Bauhaus work, I decided the time was ripe to at last give a pure Bauhaus experience in one Mr. Moonlight world tour. Mr. Moonlight is alive and well, don't doubt it.
Bauhaus formed in 1978 and achieved worldwide cult status that continues to this day. As the main man of the acclaimed outfit, Peter Murphy helped usher in ground breaking opaque moods and atmospheres into the post-punk landscape. Bauhaus originally split in 1983, but eventually bowed to public pressure to reform in 1998 and again in 2005. The Mr. Moonlight Tour will be the first time since 2006 that Peter Murphy will perform full Bauhaus sets, and the first time ever that he will do so on his own.
Peter Murphy Celebrates 35 Years of Bauhaus Tour Dates for North America and Europe at Pollstar.com
Its 35 years since Bauhaus dropped Bela Lugosis Dead from a monochromatic Weimar dreamscape into our own universe. The clattering 9 and a half minutes of their debut an audacious, totally Other, anxious-to-the-point-of-internally-hemorrhaging kind of 12 ushered a ground-breaking aesthetics of atmosphere into the UKs post-punk scene and signaled the start of a long, illustrious and varied music career for Peter Murphy.
When the band broke-up for the first time in 1983, the singer set off on a solo career that found him challenging his audiences at every turn. During an astonishingly fertile three decades, he eviscerated expectations and pin-balled a sprawling wasteland of musical styles: from carrying the mantle of 70s Bowie to rivaling New Yorks No Wave generation for seductively grainy, punishing grooves; from theatrical, gothic pop to 2011s anthemic yet intimate and esoteric Ninth.
Few musicians of his stature seem as suited nor as poetically inclined to fulfill T. S. Eliots meditation on the path from life to death, that the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. And, sure enough, Murphy has turned things inside-out once more and returned to the prone theatrics and masochism-flecked cool of the original Bauhaus. This time, to realize the particulars of his somewhat fanatical auteurs vision, he is taking it on the road alone, after the last full-band Bauhaus outing demonstrated that his was not a perspective that everyone could accommodate.
After a tumultuous 18 days in an Ojai, California studio in 2006, the group had come away with Go Away White, a record displaying both the personal chemistry, as well as the incendiary aspects of the group dynamic. It was typically Bauhaus, says Murphy, who actively embraced the razor-wire tensions within the band. The tension [on that album] is palpable, isnt it? I loved it. People hear about that record retrospectively. Danny [Ash, Bauhaus guitarist] would say, We couldnt stand to be in the same room together. But thats not my experience. I was always the biggest advocate for that band. We were warming up when it ended. I was still raring to go to complete that album.
Though one suspects hes not one to calculate when it comes to his art, he couldnt have picked a better moment. While his records throughout the last decade were reaching out to a broader audience, conversely, the supposedly niche sound of early Bauhaus was finding him a whole new generation of fans. In 2010, you couldnt go into a bar worth its salt in East London without hearing the likes of Bauhaus, Joy Division, and Einsturzende Neubauten, or pressing up against some nostalgic black denim and leather. Their influence can be heard seeping into countless contemporary bands, such as The Horrors, and notably in electronic music projects and on the industrial scene.
I think younger audiences are just as aware that they dont have any identity in the music they follow, he says, commenting from a place of aesthetic analysis than any kind of bitterness. Once they start listening to older music or music that isnt generically issued, they start to hold onto things more. Thats why its more important for people like myself to connect with an audience. Im not talking about FacebookIm talking about a live show. People can really start to form a congealed idea in their relationship with an artist. That kind of connection is missing in the digital world: You experience things more in a tangible realm than in a virtual existence. I dont deny or get anxious about being labeled; I cant really describe what I do, but it does have an outside effect on an audience.
People remember those things, the singer says, laughing at memories of his onstage audacity. They dont remember some digital file they downloaded from the Internet that gets lost among the other 3,000 ones they already have.
Those younger audiences discovering Bauhaus are connecting to Murphys artistic identity, the constellation of impressions he makes that he cant quite pinpoint, inextricably bound up in the new and daring atmospheres he was seminal in bringing to pop music. The new legions of Bauhaus devotees arent exclusively black-clad hipsters and eccentrics; theyre anyone who has identified with Murphys rallying cry from the margins. Anyone stifled by the unrelenting saccharine of chart hegemony will be pleased to know that Peter, far from leaving his solo career behind, is - in tandem to preparing his Bauhaus tour - already putting the finishing touches on his next album. Produced by Youth (Killing Joke, The Verve, Paul McCartney) it looks to be his most accomplished work to date, and one that channels the artistic chicanery of 35 years, bringing the destination of that mortifying loop into clearer focus and searing it into our minds with more intensity than ever.
Source: Netwerk Music Group, 2013.