It was announced recently that the Godfather of Goth himself, Peter Murphy, will be making a special trip down to Houston. The former Bauhaus front man and composer of super-hits like "Cuts You Up" and "Strange Kind of Love" will be playing Numbers (naturally) March 19 to celebrate Underworld's 12th anniversary.
Such an auspicious occasion requires the input from the Gothic Council! Gothtopia summoned them by carving a bat into our arm with a shard from a Christian Death CD to ask, "What are you expecting from Peter Murphy's show?"
The Council this week includes acclaimed goth fashion designer Batty, Larry Rainwater of local death-rock band Ex-Voto, Paul Fredric of darkwave act Asmodeus X and author of The Erbeth Transmissions, and Lonnie Locascio, with whom Robert Smith and Wayne Hussey with whenever they're in town.
Batty: I honestly haven't kept up with Peter in a few years. I just don't have much interest in artists that don't show me anything exciting and new. The parade of hits from old goth bands has gotten stale to me, so I guess maybe I am expecting to see something other than that. Its funny because I was a huge Bauhaus and Peter Murphy fan, but I couldn't tell you what's been going on in the last four years or so because it's not anything that has made big news in the music world that I keep up with.
So I guess it's partly my fault for not keeping up with old faves like I used to, but also they haven't done much to suck me back in. He used to put on a great show with his gorgeous voice, so I hope that it will be another great show with some sort of emotionally moving element that made me like him in the old days, and not just a display of aging rockerdom. I always sort of have a fear element when seeing my old faves, because I know what years and years in the biz can do to musicians and the "Wow" factor. Hope it's still there.
Larry Rainwater: I hope to hear some brilliant new songs as well as some old favorites and I expect he will do just that. I am afraid I will overhear some younger folks saying, "who is that old dude on stage can't he stop playing already so we can dance?"
Lonnie Locascio: Peter Murphy has never put on a bad or for that matter mediocre performance. Trust me I've seen a few! Last we spoke he had a new album ready and was deciding whether or not to shop labels or simply release it in digital format. He always plays old favorites and is now including Bauhaus, which he hadn't in the past.
Peter never played Bauhaus solo before the reunion/reformation, but now feels comfortable doing them solo as Bauhaus is now permanently put to rest.
I'm certain he'll play some of the new songs to test them out in front of a live crowd, but mostly will keep to the classics... keep in mind there are - to date - no other U.S. shows scheduled. We are the lucky few. As far as the kids? Yeah, there may be a couple just waiting to dance but my experience has been even though Peter is a bit older he still captivates the audience and makes all the girls swoon.
Besides, this will most definitely sell out, so what idiot's gonna buy a ticket just to wait for the DJs to finish?
Batty: Very cool about the new stuff; hope he tests some out. As for young kids who wanna dance, I am sure they can sway along to Peter Murphy just fine.
Paul Fredric: Well I'll need to hear "Cuts You Up" since that song brings instant peace and harmony to all beings. I remember being in the audience before an Asmo gig at Instant Karma circa 1999 where some hesher was trying to bully a couple of goth kids.
Gothtopia: What the fuck's a hesher?
Fredric (ignoring us): Just as I was about to intercede and possibly get medieval on his mullet-ass, suddenly "Cuts You Up" comes on. The inter-genre violence was immediately cooled. We all ended up singing the chorus together and then the guy bought us all shots. This is all true - Frank Faust can verify it. "Cuts You Up" is the one Peter Murphy song that everybody knows the chorus to.
Rewind a bit - the first time I got to second base with a chick in high school, Press the Eject and Give me the Tape was playing on the turntable - so I can't help but pray for some Bauhaus tribute. Last time I saw Peter he did "Dark Entries," and I actually peed just a little bit, so yes, I also am hoping for some more of that.
Also, I hope he plays "Socrates the Python" (the Bennet, Gurdjieff, Jesus song) so some of the young gothlings will be encouraged to stay in school - or maybe just learn to read. Back in my day, any self-respecting goth was as well versed in Western philosophy and classic literature as much as they were in Bauhaus/Sisters of Mercy trivia.
Hot Topic never carried classic literature so young goths were never sure if it was "OK" to read, so I'm hoping for Peter to help pick up the slack where HISD has failed.
My fears - and there are many - have nothing to do with Peter. They all center around questions like, "Will my car get towed or broken into?" "Will a street person hassle me for money/cigarettes while standing in line to get in?" "Should I buy a T-shirt now while the line is short, and then have to carry it around all night looking like a tool, or wait till the last minute and risk them not having my size or the merch closing before I can get to it?"
As far as Peter goes, I have no fear. Isn't that what plunging into the dark side was all about anyhow? Conquering fear?. He could get up and sing about Jesus all night and I would still groove on it which is something I couldn't say about any other artist, not even Eva-O.
He will swing-the-heartache-just-for-her-sake because there simply is nothing else he can do. It is his destiny as the Godfather of Goth.
Batty: Paul makes me want to get excited about older goth jams again. Well said! It's true about "Cuts You Up." It was like on every late-teens and early-twenties mixtape to a boyfriend I ever made, and everyone always knew the chorus. Even the metalheads
Fredric: Ok, my old-school fire is seriously stoked now. My ultimate Peter fantasy would be to see him do a live performance of all of side B of The Sky's Gone Out - every song strung together up to and including the weird hidden message from the end. "During the Three Shadows Part 3."
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Everyone in the audience joins hands and sings along with the chorus: "We love our audience!" By the way, when I was a kid I thought they were saying "We love our orchids!" At the end of it all, Kevin Haskins comes out onstage and reads that creepy "My baby, how big you'll be in a very little while..." part.
Gothtopia: It seems to be the judgment of the council is that Peter Murphy is going to kick ass.
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.