Peter Murphy: Interview With a Vampire June 19, 2013

Adapted from The Jerusalem Post:

JUNE 19, 2013 21:21


Former Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy is returning to Tel Aviv this week in honor of the band’s 35th anniversary.

Peter Murphy

With Turkey embroiled in month-long anti-government protests, Istanbul resident Peter Murphy has only been able to watch the events in Taksim Square unfold from afar.

The British-born Goth rock pioneer who founded ‘80s post-punk favorites Bauhaus has been on the road in the US throughout the uprising, and has been forced to rely on information from his family and friends back in Turkey.

“It’s a democratic protest against the authoritarianism that’s been creeping up in some form from the ruling AKP party for some time,” said the 54-year-old singer/songwriter earlier this week from a hotel in England the night after performing near his hometown of Northamptonshire.

“It isn’t one of those Arab Spring violent protests for regime change. My wife just returned there after being out on tour with me and she said it’s quite amazing. Taksim Park has become a flashpoint of peace – there are people playing music, and restaurants, doctors and hotels have all been offering free services to the protesters.”

Murphy, who’s married to Beyhan Murphy, the artistic director of the Turkish Contemporary Dance Company and has lived in Turkey for the past decade, said that while he didn’t know whether the protests would have any lasting effect, he was not worried about the country’s future.

“It’s [Turkey] got the strongest economy in Europe, there have been wonderful reforms and things have gotten more efficient. I’m really positive about Turkey, it’s a great place to live,” he said. “I just have to make sure my teenage son doesn’t end up getting arrested.”

Murphy will be able to monitor the situation at home more closely after this weekend when, following two shows with his band in Tel Aviv at the Zappa Club on June 21 and 22, he begins a break at home before heading back out on the road in South America and Japan.

Despite a long and successful solo career and his status as a cult hero for his brief but ghoulish cameo as “The Cold One” in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Murphy is packing audiences in for another reason – for the first time since 2006, he’s performing a show consisting entirely of Bauhaus music on the Mr. Moonlight Tour Celebrating 35 Years of Bauhaus.

With four albums to their credit in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, Bauhaus set the blueprint for moody, atmospheric new wave, and Murphy, with his high cheekbones and vampire chic stylings, has remained a cult figurehead for worshipers of goth culture. But even he was taken aback at the reception the current show’s been receiving.

“I had just finished two years of touring for my last album, Ninth, and at the end, I wanted to do two special shows,” said Murphy. “The first was playing my [1989 third solo] album Deep in its entirety, and the next night, playing only Bauhaus.”

“They sold so many tickets they had to move it to a bigger venue. So that was a testing of the waters, and it worked out creatively and audience appreciated it and it snowballed into a world tour.”

The tour is named after the ominous tune “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?” from the band’s 1983 album Burning From the Inside. Murphy described performing his vintage material as “kind of like an old pair of shoes that still fit very well” but stressed that the show shouldn’t be misconstrued as a reunion of Bauhaus, which included Daniel Ash, who went on to form Love and Rockets in the mid-1980s.

“I’m not trying to stake my claim as Bauhaus – this is a Peter Murphy show with my band, which has been playing with me for seven years,” he said. “We really do pull it off in a way that’s very authentic. People who were there in the early years come in with trepidation about ruining their paradigm of what they thought Bauhaus was and in the first five minutes, they’re captivated by what’s happening now.”

Whether performing Peter Murphy or Bauhaus songs, Murphy is sure to find an avid audience in Israel. Bauhaus performed in Tel Aviv in 1982, and Murphy has returned several times as a solo artist, as well as a tourist accompanying his wife, who frequently coordinates dance performances with the Suzanne Dallal Center.

“Israel’s only an hour away – it’s in the neighborhood,” said Murphy. “It’s a place I feel really at home in and comfortable. It reminds me of the Middle East, but modern.

And the audiences are always enthusiastic and appreciative.”

Murphy performed twice here in 2011 in support of Ninth, and as much as he’s enjoying delving into the historic past of Bauhaus, he’s just as intently looking to the future. He’s recently completed recording his tenth album, due for release in early 2014, called Lion, with veteran producer Youth (Killing Joke, The Verve). He credited the ease and brevity of the recording process with enabling him to set aside the time for the Mr. Moonlight tour.

“Doing this Bauhaus tour was only meant to be a bridge while I was making a new album. But when I went to London to work on the new material with Youth, we worked in such high gear and were so inspired, that we ended up making the album in four and a half days, and it may be the best album I’ve ever made,” he said.

“It’s sweet to do this Mr. Moonlight tour, and I was talking to my manager that it could be something we plan to bring out from time to time, but what I’m really gearing up for is my next album and my new material.”

Clearly, Mr. Moonlight is still full of life.

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