Dalis Car 1984

Forming And Naming a New Project: Dalis Car

How Murphy and Karn came to work together is somewhat of a mythical tale depending very much on whose truth you wish to accept. As Murphy describes it, he was asked in one of the many post-Bauhaus interviews which musician he’d most like to work with and he had suggested Mick Karn, not thinking anything would actually come of the suggestion, only to come home days later to a message on his answering machine with an opportunity to do just that. Karn, however, describes it in his autobiography as such: his management approached him with the suggestion that Karn work with Murphy, who had recently departed Bauhaus and was in a similar position as Karn. Though hesitant at first as Karn knew Bauhaus was a dark, “goth” leaning band and wasn’t sure the two would make for a good match, there was no denying that each were the yin to the other’s yang – Karn could compose and play a wide variety of music but had little lyric writing experience while Murphy was the opposite, a strong lyricist with limited ability to compose and play music. Both were casualties of recent, incredibly successful bands and both needed a new artistic avenue. Regardless of the real events surrounding their coupling, the two were placed in contact and a new project began.

As fabulous a tale as the joining of Karn and Murphy is perhaps the naming of the new project. Again there are several prevailing theories behind the adopting of the Dalis Car moniker. The most prevalent (but denied by both Karn and Murphy) attributes the name to a Captain Beefheart song of the same name (it should be noted that Murphy would cover Beefheart’s Clear Spot during his 1990 Deep tour and subsequently write his own version of it… 1992’s Low Room). Another story attributes the name to a 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris that featured a piece by famed surrealist painter Salvador Dali (the piece was a taxi with a perforated roof to allow rain in with a statue of Venus inside covered in lichen and moss and a monster for the driver; while the work was officially called “Rainy Taxi,” it has also been considered as Dali’s Car). Perhaps the most interesting story is the one Murphy holds to – a dream where he was offered to buy a car from Salvador Dali that would grant a “mystical” experience once purchased. Again, regardless of the true story behind the name, the joint project between Karn and Murphy would be dubbed Dalis Car.