Beggars Banquet, now relegated as an archive label, has been alternatively reissuing some of its illustrious catalog over the last several years. Bauhaus first received the expanded reissue treatment in the form of the Omnibus Box Sets that were completed for In The Flat Field and Mask (released in 2009, both included the original full length album, a disc of b sides and rarities from each album, and a booklet with biography and photos. Mask uniquely included a full length live show recording from the time that was also released as the This Is For When… double LP at about the same time). Box sets were planned for the other two Beggars Banquet albums Bauhaus released, The Sky’s Gone Out and Burning From The Inside, but these projects were indefinitely shelved.
Then in 2013, Beggars Banquet began releasing a series of box sets simply entitled 5 Albums. Among the handful that have been released over the years since, Bauhaus and Love and Rockets were some of the first catalogs to receive the new box treatment. The sets largely center around remastered CDs of each groups’ Beggars-era outputs with a bonus disc of extra goodies and rarities (in the case of Bauhaus, including the fan club-only single The Sanity Assassin and an alternate version of Bela Lugosi’s Dead, while the Love and Rockets disc contains the somewhat rare promo disc Assorted! and goodies such as The Bubblemen 12″).
Oddly enough, Peter Murphy’s solo repertoire had not seen any reissue via Beggars Banquet even though his first five albums were released through the label (1986’s Should The World Fail To Fall Apart through 1995’s Cascade). Instead, it would be Cherry Red Records in the UK that would initiate some of the early work in reissuing Peter Murphy’s early solo music (namely an expanded reissue in 2011 of his first album and an additional expanded reissue in 2013 of his second album, 1988’s Love Hysteria). Much as with the Omnibus Box Sets for Bauhaus’ third and fourth albums, an additional Cherry Red Records expanded reissue for Deep was planned, but indefinitely shelved.
Now, in the weeks leading up to Peter Murphy’s stunning 15-night retrospective residency at San Francisco’s The Chapel (we’re remaining optimistic), fans will get their first peak at a new surprise that’s been long in the making – an expanded Peter Murphy box set from Beggars Banquet.
I sat down with Bauhaus’ official historian, Andrew J. Brooksbank, who had a vital role in making this project a reality (as well as many of the ones mentioned in the lead up above), and talked about how he came to be known as the band’s historian, what is and isn’t included in the box set, and what caused the set to go through somewhat lengthy periods of hiatus:
Indigo Eyes (IE): When did you first learn of Bauhaus?
Andrew J. Brooksbank (AJB): I guess this would have been late 1979/early 1980 indirectly through John Peel. It was actually my brother who owned a copy of Bela Lugosi’s Dead, so it would have been him that first introduced me to Bauhaus (via Peel as Peel had played the single regularly on his radio program back in those days). I still have that original pressing of his! We would often take it in turns at playing records in our shared room and Bela Lugosi’s Dead would often end up on the turntable, selected by him. Bela Lugosi’s Dead, Terror Couple Kill Colonel, and Telegram Sam…those three in particular stick in my mind as been regular play listers.
IE: When did you first see Bauhaus live and do you have any memories that left a strong and lasting impression on you of them?
AJB: The first show was Leeds Daze of Future Past Festival in September of 1981 – I would have been 16! I don’t remember them particularly though as I had actually gone to see The Professionals and The Bollock Brothers, both of whom had Sex Pistols links (the Pistols were a massive influence on me then and now). The first gig I saw them in their own right, though, was Leeds Tiffany’s in April of 1982. The lasting impression that night was simply that the promoter had booked a gig that was far too small for them – the place was dangerously overcrowded. Bauhaus had played the same venue a year earlier (with The Birthday Party), but the leap in their fame over those twelve months was huge! I took a fabulous photo of Daniel that night from the very front as soon as they walked on stage, but I had to then retire to safety for the reasons stated above.
IE: How did you come to earn the title ‘Bauhaus Official Historian’?
AJB: I really have no idea! I think the first time I saw it in print was after the Seconds Interview (this took place on Peter Murphy’s 41st birthday in the green room of the Palladium, Hollywood, during the initial July 1998 shows of Bauhaus’ Resurrection Tour). I think maybe George [Petros], the editor of the magazine, may have created it?
IE: Over the years, you’ve been involved in several Bauhaus-adjacent projects. What are some of the larger ones you’ve helped on?
AJB: There have certainly been many! I get requests for help and requests for archive material all the time. Some of these efforts have been published, others are still works in progress, while others I have not indulged for various reasons (who’s asking, what they need/want, if I can even provide it, etc.). These are some of the bigger ones that stand out to me immediately:
- Love And Rockets – Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven 2000 reissue (sleeve notes and compilation), Express reissue (sleeve notes – ultimately unpublished), Sorted! (compilation – with DJ, KH & DA for CD and research for DVD), 5 Albums (disc 5 was my compilation), “Apollox” fanzine (which I ran at my own expense for over ten years), 5 Albums (disc 5 was my compilation)
- Tones on Tail – Everything (memorabilia supply), Weird Pop (concept with GC, compilation, sleeve notes, minor artwork contribution)
- The Jazz Butcher – Draining The Glass (supply of catalog to master from for Fire Records)
- Bauhaus – Rest In Peace (concept with Jamil Ahmad. I’d like to point out here that the initial idea of this live album was mine (I had written to Beggars with an idea to release the Glasgow Tiffany’s ’83 show, which did actually make it as far as a fully mastered cassette before Pete Edwards remembered he had taped the last two shows at the desk) – but Jamil really deserves a credit here because the “Peter’s eyes” concept (the sleeve) was most definitely his, and it’s funny as both our ideas eventually appeared on the same release on Shadow Of Light (DVD) which resurrected Jamil’s original eyes image and also utilized my “four panels” on the rear of the sleeve art. I had created and used this in my book Beneath The Mask…), the Omnibus editions of In The Flat Field, Mask, The Sky’s Gone Out, and Burning From The Inside (compilation, research, and books – some of this has been published, some of it has not – and editing of additional contributors’ notes), Beneath The Mask book and CD set (my concept from start to finish), Bauhaus: Undead (Kevin Haskins’ new book on the band – supply of content and assisting in all other aspects of it), 5 Albums (disc 5 was my compilation), Crackle (minor role on the CD version, larger role on the vinyl issue with re-sequencing, Shadow Of Light DVD (research)
- David J – Etiquette of Violence reissue on Cherry Red (concept and everything else, really – I had pitched the project to Cherry Red and then got David on board), Who Killed Mister Moonlight? (David’s autobiography – research, editing – twice! – and for the new reprint I granted him exclusive use of my Bauhaus timeline – published for the very first time here, his full solo discography, a couple of photos, website biography, etc.), plus ongoing work
- Daniel Ash – Anthology (released through Cherry Red – sleeve notes, compilation)
- Peter Murphy – Should The World Fail To Fall Apart Cherry Red reissue (minor role supplying 1 track), Love Hysteria Cherry Red reissue (sleeve notes – unpublished, artwork, additional design ideas, editing the sleeve notes that were used but written by someone else), Deep reissue (compilation and sleeve notes – both unpublished), 5 Albums (compilation, research, re-edited sleeve notes)
- Lonestation (featuring Glenn Campling) – biography, promotion, photos, plus ongoing work
IE: Shifting to the forthcoming box set, who approached who on beginning the project?
AJB: It was a Beggars Banquet concept. Likely, they would have approached Peter, although I suspect I was brought on board prior to that contact to throw a few ideas around first – that is usually just how it works.
IE: When did work officially begin on the box set?
AJB: December of 2015 is the earliest note I have on this, so likely around that time.
IE: What caused some of the delays over the last two and a half years?
AJB: I guess other projects that were more pressing at the time took precedence over this. For example, Beggars Banquet were working Lush heavily into their reissue campaign during 2016. That one was definitely to blame! Once those other projects had come to fruition, it just sort of came back to life, I guess. Although, I do seem to recall prompting them from time to time!
IE: This is perhaps a question with an obvious answer, but why does this only cover the Beggars Banquet albums?
AJB: Peter had not had the 5 disc box set treatment that Bauhaus, Gary Numan, Love and Rockets, etc. had had, although he was originally slated for such. Before Beggars Banquet could materialize the set, however, Cherry Red Records began reissuing some of the Beggars Banquet artists with Peter being among those (his first two albums were licensed to Cherry Red to do what they were doing). Ultimately, Peter’s catalog never got the “clam shell” treatment. As for why the set focuses only on Peter’s early career, boils down to the fact that external licensing can be problematic, expensive, messy, and more. It just makes economic and practical sense to utilize one’s own catalog.
IE: Given that, do you foresee another project in the future that would cover some/all of Peter’s post-Beggars Banquet output?
AJB: I can’t imagine so. Certainly not by Beggars Banquet, for the reasons mentioned earlier. Although it’s a lovely idea!
IE: What was the hardest part in assembling the box set?
AJB: Listening through endless different running orders for the extra tracks on each disc. You think you have it nailed and then something else turns up!
IE: You were involved in the Cherry Red Records expanded reissues of Should The World Fail To Fall Apart and Love Hysteria. Knowing the demos and outtakes that were released on those, how did that guide you in selecting tracks for this box set related to those albums?
AJB: I was not really involved at all in the reissue for Should The World Fail To Fall Apart, actually, except for providing the digital transfer of “Stay” and listening through the already assembled test discs. It was at that point that we discovered a wrong mix of “Final Solution” had been used and an (up until this point) unreleased version of the title track, (we will call it the Trident mix) which I knew nothing about (and neither did Beggars Banquet!). This “Trident” mix was supposed to have been what we know as “Version” (i.e. the B side of Tale of The Tongue), the ‘version’ that did appear on the Cherry Red reissue however shouldn’t have appeared at all! On that particular reissue, it’s credited as “Version”, but this really should be “Trident mix“) [editor’s note: Andrew went on to tell me that the “Trident” mix received its name as it had been recorded at Trident Studios – the same place where David Bowie’s seminal Ziggy Stardust had been recorded, as well as some of his prior work.]. I altered them to this, but the green light had seemingly already been given!
I was very heavily involved in Love Hysteria, though – track selection was for the most part mine, all the artwork was provided by me, and I actually wrote a full set of sleeve notes for this one (and for Deep, which remains unreleased) which would have worked really well given this was a reissue and not a new album, of course – it detailed the story and concept behind the album – but Peter ultimately wanted a different slant on it and asked a friend to write something. I was given the finished piece to proof read and edit though, thankfully. We discovered during the transfer of Love Hysteria incidentally that both an analog master and a digital one were prepared back in 1988. We used the analog master on the Cherry Red reissue while opting to use the digital master on this box set (notably, the analog edit of “Indigo Eyes” differs from the digital one). Beggars Banquet understandably would want to utilize their already owned materials as extras of course, some of the B sides of the singles at the time though contained a couple of live recordings but, I didn’t want to mix live and studio recordings on the same disc – they just don’t work for me. That is the primary reason why the two live tracks from the time, “God Sends” and “Confessions“, were and still are absent.
As for the second part of your question, yes, I was very mindful of repetition, particularly when assembling Should The World Fail To Fall Apart and having the desire to re-instate the Cherry Red errors and bring in that original B side (the real mix of “Should The World Fail To Fall Apart” a.k.a ‘version’), which up until now, strange as this may seem, has never actually appeared on CD before. I think I have managed to achieve that goal on this new set…although it really wasn’t easy!
But, it must be said here that this set will undoubtedly not please everybody. There will always be that someone who asks why this song is on there, why that one is not, where’s this, where’s that, etc. The truth is, much like Bauhaus, Peter never over recorded and when people assume a song to exist simply based on a sporadic live performance, for example, the truth is often quite different. It’s very difficult at times wearing two hats, trying to find that balance of what should be on against what I would like on against what the record company insists is on, not forgetting the artist who then has to approve any previously unreleased material. The Omnibus edition of In The Flat Field, for example, should have had a full live show, but the band objected to the one and only professional recording we had of the band in 1980, which was a major blow to that particular concept.
IE: When you say that Peter never over recorded and that people often assume a song to exist because it was performed a handful of times, were there any tracks you had in mind specifically?
AJB: “Purple Rain” is a good example. Peter has played a healthy dose of covers during his live shows over the years and with that in mind, there are many who, understandably, would believe that if he had played it live a number of times, then a studio version must exist somewhere….if it does exist it’s not where it should be!
IE: One of those “where is such and such track” from the Cherry Red reissues is a song that Peter recorded somewhere between his first two albums and has been called a slew of names by fans for years. That lost track finally makes its debut in this box set, but what took so long for it to see the light of day?
AJB: You are referring to “Critics Choice” [editor’s note: the track has also been dubbed “Push“, “Secrets“, and “Don’t Trade Aid For Trade“, among others, by fans for lack of knowing its actual name. The track itself was performed sporadically in 1987 and had been demoed a couple times in the studio, but was not publicly released until this box set]. This did actually make the final running order for the Cherry Red reissue of Love Hysteria, but then Peter changed his mind at the eleventh hour having heard something else that I had sent into Beggars Banquet that seemingly no one else had. I never thought in a million years he would have gone with the alternate, but to his credit, he loved it and insisted it went on, thus making “Critics Choice” a casualty in the process. The swapped track, incidentally, was the gorgeous sparse piano demo of “My Last Two Weeks“.
IE: Were there any tracks originally included but then cut from the final release? If so, what were those tracks and why were they cut?
AJB: Yes, there were a couple actually. Ultimately, the 7″ edits of both “Final Solution” and “Blue Heart” were removed. They are the same mixes/edits as the LP versions, so they were of no real consequence. This change made way for both the 7″ and 12″ mixes of the brilliant “Tale of the Tongue” – which incidentally were very hard to place on this set, sequentially speaking…we reached a compromise though, I think. Some may disagree, but as this track sits in some utopian middle ground somewhere between Should The World Fail To Fall Apart and Love Hysteria, this was very hard to accomplish.
IE: Were there any tracks you had really wanted to include, but either couldn’t salvage or they were nixed by Peter?
AJB: I’m not really sure, certainly not from my end. The choice of Cascade era material was difficult, though, as I had a number of DAT’s to trawl through which had a wealth of incredible material. Save for a few tweaks here and there (namely the aforementioned casualties), the final version remained quite close to the original compilation that we initially began working with months ago – the same one that is now finished, mastered, and ready to roll!
IE: Where were the materials for the box set sourced from?
AJB: They came from an array of sources, but for the most part the original 1/4″ master tapes were used. Some of the demos were from my own personal collection and don’t seem to exist anywhere else while others came from either Beggars Banquet or possibly Peter himself.
IE: You just said something interesting there – “don’t seem to exist anywhere else.” That seems incredible as Beggars Banquet does have a vast archive of material (tapes, DATs, etc.) since the beginning. What leads you to believe some of the material (in regards to say Peter’s career) may no longer exist anywhere?
AJB: They will exist, maybe, but probably not in the hands of the rightful owners. I’m like a Magpie (English expression) – I don’t throw anything away you see. I am unsure what may or may not be lost, but demos of “Socrates the Python” and the piano backing of “My Last Two Weeks” for example were absolutely both mine along with a few others from the second disc of the Love Hysteria reissue from Cherry Red. Some of the previously unpublished material on the new box are also from my own archive. The original rough 4 track of “Critics Choice” is one that jumps out. I still have it, but not sure Beggars Banquet does (or ever did, actually). This is from around 1985, I suspect. There’s also an early rough version of “I’ll Fall With Your Knife“, though I don’t think we used this one on the box either, come to think of it.
IE: Considering the Lush project you mentioned earlier was released on both CD and vinyl, and that vinyl is enjoying a healthy resurgence, why is the box set being released only on CD? Especially considering that Peter’s albums have never been pressed beyond their original release years…
AJB: No vinyl I’m afraid. It’s simply outlay versus demand, I guess. I would love to see his catalog back on vinyl – Cascade in particular as apart from the Spaniards, no one else created a vinyl version of this mighty fine body of work (which at the time in 1995, Beggars Banquet skipped on issuing the album on vinyl as CD really was king and vinyl was almost dead). There are many vinyl companies now licensing product, so one day maybe our dream will come true.
IE: Can you give us any hints as to your next Bauhaus-adjacent project?
AJB: Having now finished work on both Kevin Haskins’ fabulous creation [editor’s note: a coffee table-esque book chronicling Bauhaus’ legacy from inception through their 2005 Coachella appearance] and the fantastic second edition of David J’s autobiography, I’m trying to steal a bit of time to do something on a project of my own. Whether that will come to anything is anyone’s guess, honestly. It’s a book featuring the entire Omnibus writings (including the two that never were), a track by track guide to every song Bauhaus committed to tape (recording date, studio, producer, engineer, catalog number, where to find it – if appropriate, etc.), and possibly a reproduction of my timeline [editor’s note: Andrew has worked to produce detailed historical timelines of each Bauhaus-adjacent project, including release dates, notable tours, TV appearances, etc. – an immensely valuable set of resources that was very instrumental in developing the biography sections of each project Peter was involved in for this site] (both David and Kevin had access to this for their publications…David has used this in his, but it’s a slightly truncated version of it…I may well end up putting more in this, but it’s such a time consuming project that I only add to it when either time permits or enthusiasm rises!).
In-between all this (and a full time real job), I have put some time into recording a couple songs with my daughter (who goes by Char Elizabeth). She did a couple of trials a while ago at Glenn Campling’s studio and more recently two fully fledged recordings with Roger Rideout at his studio [editor’s note: one of those tracks, a cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” recorded in Northampton December 2017 and recorded/produced/engineered/mixed by Roger Rideout, is linked below]. Roger, as you may recall, was in the very first band that also featured David and Kevin in the same line-up – back in 1973/4 [editor’s note: referring to the band Jam]! He has a solo album out, Dangerous Age, and plays bass in the world’s leading Beatles tribute act Accrington Stanley.