Peter Murphy: “So I’m a Goth. That’s Fine By Me.” June 19, 2011

Adapted from SF Gate:

Peter Murphy: ‘So I’m a Goth. That’s fine by me.’

MUSIC
Published 4:00 am, Sunday, June 19, 2011

Peter Murphy has been the living embodiment of rock’s dark side for more than three decades – from his early days as the slithering, fire-breathing baritone in Bauhaus singing “Bela Legosi’s Dead” to his recent cameo as one of the original vampires in “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” With the release of his first new solo album in seven years, the self-explanatorily titled “Ninth,” the 53-year-old British singer discusses working without a label, why Bauhaus will never get back together and how he hates being typecast. Murphy performs at Amoeba Music in San Francisco on Thursday and Bottom of the Hill on Friday.

He recorded “Ninth” in just seven days, with everyone in the same room: We were on every take. No f- around. With digitization, it’s all very possible to take shortcuts – you can make anything sound good with ProTools. But people hear that. As consumers we’re so sophisticated with our ears and our eyes now. It’s like the Hollywood movies that are full of special effects but leave you feeling hollow.

A fan in Liechtenstein – Dr. Frederick Bury – financed the recording sessions:

I refused to go after record label offers that are part of the old school, where they take a cut out of an artist’s every movement. That’s why we never made a dime with Bauhaus. I wanted a label to do promotion and publicity but not to go with the old model. Dr. Frederick turned up at a Bauhaus show and constantly offered to help me. I didn’t want to take his money, but when “Ninth” came along, I asked him if he would fund it. I’m going to pay him back through royalties. In a sense, I was the label and he was the investor. It’s a very modern way of working. Money is just stuff you move around.

He doesn’t particularly embrace his title as Godfather of Goth:

I’m aware of it. I’m not anti-Goth. I don’t want to denigrate any people who make music. But you know what happens – you get people who you’ve influenced but who have nothing to do with you. It’s their own work. That goes down to the perennial labeling we have to put on each other. Kids are being called ADD and it creates itself. So suddenly we have all these mentally ill people in the world? Since when? Labels. So I’m a Goth. That’s fine by me.

But he didn’t mind playing the role of the Cold One, one of the original vampires, in “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”:

The director, David Slade, thought that it would be an interesting cameo that would somehow echo my appearance in “The Hunger.” I was neither a fan of the books nor had read any until then. I had watched the first film mainly because my daughter was a fan. I thought it was a beautiful romance, actually. It was almost like “Gone With the Wind.”

After reuniting for a tour and the release of 2008’s “Go Away White,” he has no plans to return to Bauhaus:

There’s no way I’m gong to work with them again. I think the feeling is mutual. I hold the flag now. Whereas I wouldn’t play Bauhaus songs in my solo work before, now is the time I can say I’m going to stake my claim on this and reclaim my legacy. It was thrilling to be in the same room together with “Go Away White.” But if people want Bauhaus, then they come to me now.

But he is still proud of the band’s legacy:

You felt the crackle with us four. We would turn each other on. We would hit many flat notes, but they were great flat notes. We were living art. We were what Bowie wanted to be. I mean, that was in our heads. We were a post-punk band and into our own world. I’m blessed and cursed with it. {sbox}

Peter Murphy: 6 p.m. Thurs. Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight St., S.F. Free. (415) 831-1200. www.amoeba.com. Also 9:30 p.m. Fri. $25-$30. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. (415) 621-4455. www.bottomofthehill.com.

To hear Peter Murphy’s music, go to www.petermurphy.info.

Follow Aidin Vaziri at twitter.com/MusicSF. E-mail him at avaziri@sfchronicle.com.

The most complete source of information on the career of musician Peter Murphy.