According to his Wikipedia entry, Peter Murphy, who in 1983 had only just recently departed Bauhaus, made “some brief dabbling with acting and dance – including a slightly odd televised performance to Bauhaus’s ‘Hollow Hills.’”
Wha? Naturally I googled this “slightly odd televised performance” and of course, there it was… His interpretive dance here is slightly odd, I’d have to agree (“naff” is a word that comes readily to mind as well). You’d have to think his former bandmates would have found this sand dune ballet on-the-floor, coughing-with-tears-hysterically-funny to watch.
Speaking of Peter Murphy, I heard the craziest story last night over dinner with my friend Adam Peters, a Hollywood composer who recently scored Oliver Stone’s Savages (and who arranged and played the famous cello part on Echo and the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon”).
We had been discussing Howard Devoto’s post-punk artrock band, Magazine and he told me about seeing Bauhaus open for Magazine in Guildford in 1980. The “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” single was already out, but In The Flat Field had not been released yet. The third band was Crisis, with Douglas Pearce and Tony Wakeford later of Death In June and Sol Invictus, whose following included many skinheads.
Of course the Guildford skinheads had never seen anything like Bauhaus and, as skins do, started spitting at the band, Peter Murphy in particular. Adam said that Murphy tore his shirt off, grabbed a light on a stand and made like he was being crucified at the front of the stage, provoking a steady stream of gob as he stood motionless, shining the light directly into their faces, staring them down and daring them to continue. The band continued to vamp on the slow chords of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” he told me, for about a half hour as this went on, with Murphy absolutely drenched in spit.
Eventually it stopped and the skins left because this interaction had apparently freaked them the fuck out!
“That would be hard to top! Did Magazine actually play after THAT?” I asked him.
“They did, but they probably should have just tuned the house lights up. No one really cared about Magazine after that.”
If that isn’t the most Artaud-esque thing that’s ever occurred on a concert stage, I can’t imagine what would be…
Below, Peter Murphy’s “slightly odd televised performance” on Riverside, 1983: