Peter Murphy 2009

Retrospection and Exploration

2007 found Murphy branching out and exploring different avenues. He played a smattering of dates here and there in Europe. Notably, the “acting bug” he had developed decades prior as a combination of staring in his then-girlfriend’s college art project, 1980’s The Grid, and later in 1983’s The Hunger opening credits, had returned in full force. A unique opportunity presented itself that brought Murphy back to the realm of vampires – a roughly ten second cameo in the third installment of the Twilight saga, Eclipse, playing the old vampire known only as “The Cold One.” Murphy would continue to seek additional acting roles, but for the time being, that front would remain cold.

2008 was largely dominated by Murphy’s first major US solo tour since the Dust Tour in 2002 and followed by a handful of dates in the UK, Portugal, and South America. Dubbed the Retrospective Tour, it was the first time after Murphy’s initial solo tours that he openly incorporated songs from the Bauhaus catalog (the early tours only included a handful of Bauhaus-era songs as Murphy’s solo career had not yet developed the extensive catalog of songs he now possessed). In the fallout of the final Bauhaus reunion, Murphy saw himself as the proverbial “flag bearer” of the Bauhaus name, and that that entity was as much him as he was it. Where in the past he opted to not perform that body of work so as to keep it separate, distinct, and even sacred, to an extent, all notions of keeping that dividing line intact were now broken. In effect, the symbolic gesture was the battle cry Murphy could get behind to declare his independence from the Love and Rockets side of Bauhaus and support the claim that Bauhaus IS Peter Murphy and not the other way around. Given that Bauhaus never actually toured in support of Go Away White, Murphy opted to fold several of those into the setlist for this tour. The remainder of the setlist surveyed his prior albums (though, perhaps intentionally, glossed over the first album entirely) and included a small sprinkling of various covers, setting the stage for the next big idea in 2009.

After the ultimate implosion that has relegated Bauhaus to the same red velvet lined black box that Bela Lugosi resides in, Murphy had only one choice if he wished to remain a musician – get back on track towards another album. One part of the Retrospective Tour that was well received were the covers Murphy had chosen. True of both Bauhaus and his own earlier solo ventures, Murphy had also pulled together faithful, near-literal covers that teased out some of the strongest and best parts of the originals and then injected an added dose of testosterone to “beef” them up. Fixating on the audience reception of these covers, Murphy hinted at intentions of releasing a covers album in 2009.

Four covers were introduced to coincide with a massive tour of America (the Secret Covers Tour in 2009) and Europe (the Dirty Dirt Tour in 2010). Included was a beefed up version of John Lennon’s Instant Karma (which would be featured in a Chase Bank TV commercial around the same time as its release), a literal take of Nine Inch Nail’s Hurt (the recording of which was taken from a radio show session in 2006 while Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails toured together and features Trent Reznor playing the piano part), a faithful live tribute from the Secret Covers Tour of the Joy Division classic Transmission, and a nod to Dust with a very slowed down and atmospheric take on Bowie’s seminal Space Oddity. Ultimately, a covers album would not pan out, however. The tour also included, unbeknownst to most, a handful of new songs, previews of material that would ultimately find a home on the actual next album, Ninth.

2009 did have the crossroads that many, even Murphy himself, had speculated and felt would eventually happen. Peter and Beyhan combined talents, Peter supplying music and Beyhan creating a dance show routine to that music and others from additional artists, to create a live show for the Self Knowledge and Global Responsibility Symposium. The symposium was created by the Beshara School in Chisholme House, United Kingdom, with the purpose of bringing together people interested in addressing pertinent questions of the time. This goal has tended to focus on things such as peace, poverty, and world culture and acceptance. As such, both Murphys opted for a more traditional approach to the cultures they were representing for the symposium. The performance itself was released the following year as part of a collectible CD/DVD with a digital version of the CD available on iTunes thereafter (particularly, the DVD only includes a partial video of the performance for Subway that plays behind the credits with the remainder of the DVD dedicated to the talks given during the symposium).