The first photo ever taken of Bauhaus 1919

The Beginning: SR and Bauhaus 1919

Ash and Murphy had been school friends. Unlike the other members of the soon-to-be Bauhaus, Murphy, although striking in appearance, had never been in a band prior, let alone sang in public. Though he describes his family as having been very musical, often singing or humming at home, no one (including Murphy himself) knew if he could truly sing and be the front man of a band. However, Ash felt strongly that Murphy most definitely had the look and was insistent on the two working together. After much pestering from Ash, Murphy relented and agreed to give it a try.

Ultimately, it became quite clear to Ash and Murphy very early on that that the initial primitive rehearsals were going well and showed much promise. Thereafter, the fledgling four piece, named S. R. (whose drum stool was occupied by the younger Haskins and the bass provided by a local, Chris Barber), began rehearsing in a mobile classroom at the Northampton Teacher Training College during the summer of 1978. Before long, the group had their first few original songs – Some Faces, Shows (both of which would be early casualties), Harry, and Boys. From these humbled beginnings, it was clear S. R. would not be a simply another covers band, a deviation from the majority of the pre-Bauhaus bands Ash and the Haskins brothers had played in.

Given their musical history, many often question why Ash did not invite David J to play bass for S. R. from the beginning. It is largely speculated that with J emitting a very strong personality, Ash feared that he would ultimately lead the direction of the band and therefore reluctantly did not invite David J into the fold, at least not at first.

As their confidence grew, the group booked their first two shows in December, one of which took place at the Northampton Racecourse Pavilion, a venue that would be a mainstay for them in these early months. Ash ran into J following these shows and after sharing his excitement over S. R., invited J to attend their next rehearsal. J was excited by the rather unique sound S. R. had and was interested in joining the band, however, following the demise of The Craze, J had gone on to join a local house band and was about to embark on a tour of US air bases to entertain the troops in Germany. After much deliberation, J was asked to replace Barber and leave behind this opportunity to tour the airbases. After some deliberation, J agreed, bringing with him a change of name from S. R. to Bauhaus 1919 (most of the members had art school backgrounds and related to the German design school’s principles of form meets function, desiring to create a musical style that fused not only glam rock with dub and punk elements, but to draw in influences from literature, dance, and film, without over-the-top frilly guitar solos – after all, colored lights are for Christmas trees).

Bauhaus 1919, now with J in the ranks, played their first show under the new banner on New Year’s Eve, 1978. An initial recording session was booked at the end of January 1979 at Beck Studios in Murphy’s home town of Wellingborough with sound engineer Derek Tompkins (whom would be a tour de force in honing their sound for years to come) to record a five track demo that included Bela Lugosi’s Dead, Boys, Harry, Some Faces, and Bite My Hip.