Saturday, July 4, 2009

Peter Murphy (musician)

Peter Murphy (musician)

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Peter Murphy
Photo of Peter Murphy from a 2006 Bauhaus concert
Photo of Peter Murphy from a 2006 Bauhaus concert
Background information
Born 11 July 1957 (age 51)
Wellingborough, England
Genre(s) Post-punk, gothic rock, alternative rock, experimental
Instrument(s) Vocals
Years active 1978—present
Label(s) Beggars Banquet
Associated acts Bauhaus
Peter John Murphy (born 11 July 1957, near Northampton, England, raised in Wellingborough, England), is an English Gothic Rock vocalist. He was the vocalist of the rock group Bauhaus who later went on to release a number of solo albums, such as Deep and Love Hysteria. Thin, with prominent cheekbones, a rich voice, and a penchant for gloomy poetics, Murphy is often called the "Godfather of Goth."[1][2]



[edit] With Bauhaus

Whether rising from coffins on-stage, driving a hearse called the "Bauhearse," or appearing in concert as vampires, Bauhaus was one of the establishing acts of the goth movement. Their use of spacey recording effects and theatrical aesthetics was evocative of both early horror films and glam rock; they became an influential group in the early days of gothic rock.
In 1982, Bauhaus appeared during the opening sequences of the horror movie The Hunger, performing one of their most popular songs, "Bela Lugosi's Dead". The camera focused almost exclusively on Murphy during most of the scene, panning only briefly to the stars David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve.
Bauhaus reformed in 1998 for a tour, and once again in 2006 for a tour with Nine Inch Nails. The latter group's frontman, Trent Reznor, and Murphy were guests on several radio shows together, often performing three to four duets per radio show. Reznor cites Bauhaus as one of his primary musical influences, and had toured with Murphy earlier in both their careers.

[edit] Solo career

[edit] 1980s

By 1983, Bauhaus broke up and Murphy went on to new projects not involving Bauhaus members Kevin Haskins, David J, or Daniel Ash. After some brief dabbling with acting and dance - including a slightly odd televised performance to Bauhaus's "Hollow Hills" - he soon formed Dali's Car with Mick Karn, the bass player from Japan. The group recorded only one album, which was a commercial flop.

Peter Murphy in San Francisco, 1987
Murphy's solo career over time became more varied than Bauhaus, ranging from pseudo-pop to haunting ballads that showcased his deep and complex vocals. While critics[who?] allege his lyrics can be "pretentious" to "incomprehensible," the lyrical themes are often metaphysical or religious. His knack for such lyricism and the occasional pop-reinvention did, however, cause some initial trepidation by the record-buying public. After the commercial non-start of Dali's Car, Murphy's first solo album was similarly overlooked. Should the World Fail to Fall Apart did spawn several singles, including a cover of Pere Ubu's "Final Solution" that made a minor splash on the club scene.
The followup, Love Hysteria, did much better. It also marked the beginning of a long-term collaboration with songwriter Paul Statham, who co-wrote songs with Murphy until 1995. The resulting singles "All Night Long" and "Indigo Eyes" helped garner a wider following, and the black-and-white video for "All Night Long" entered rotation on MTV.
The pinnacle of Murphy's solo popularity came with the release of Deep. For this album Murphy reinvented himself as somewhat of a rock-god, now sporting hair dyed platinum blonde and performing a much more aggressive alt-rock sound. The single "Cuts You Up" from Deep held on to the top spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart for longer than any other single before - displacing "So Alive" by his former Bauhaus-bandmates Love and Rockets. The record was unbroken until the release of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion."

[edit] 1990s

Although he had grown up in an Irish-Catholic household [3], Murphy converted to Islam in the 1990s, eventually moving to Turkey with his wife. A subsequent Middle Eastern influence can be heard in his later albums. In particular, Murphy has been inspired by the mysticism of Sufism. 1992's Holy Smoke mixed some traditional Turkish influences into the music while continuing the sound pioneered on Deep. The album was unable to recapture the momentum of Deep, and in the post-grunge alternative landscape, the more pop-flavored album seemed anachronistic, and the choice of the odd, disheveled-Murphy Anton Corbijn photo used on the cover baffled many fans. In 1995, Murphy embraced a lower-key, ambient pop sound for Cascade, featuring producer Pascal Gabriel, guest work from "infinite guitarist" Michael Brook, and overall a much stronger incorporation of electronics. This album was also to be his last major collaboration with Paul Statham, who departed to form Peach Union with Pascal Gabriel and eventually write songs for Dido and Kylie Minogue. Cascade was also Murphy's last original release for Beggar's Banquet records, which had been his label since Bauhaus. Shortly after this departure, Murphy recorded the Recall EP for the newly-formed Red Ant records, featuring a few new songs and some new, heavily electronic versions of older material, reworked in conjunction with Sascha Konietzko, Bill Rieflin and Tim Skold of the band KMFDM. Once again, he became label-mates with former Bauhaus alums Love and Rockets, who had also signed to Red Ant. This generated a significant number of rumours regarding a possible reformation of Bauhaus. While Red Ant quickly folded, Bauhaus did reform in 1998 for the Resurrection tour, one performance of which (at the Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City) was recorded and released on DVD by Metropolis Records as Gotham. The tour was a success, although Murphy refused to perform certain songs, because of his adherence to Islam, such as "Stigmata Martyr" and "St. Vitus' Dance." He cited their religious overtones as objectionable. The lyrics of the former include the Trinitarian formula in Latin and English, thus affirming the Christian doctrine of the Trinity which Islam deems heretical.

[edit] 2000s

In 2000, Murphy performed his international Just for Love tour, which resulted in the album aLive Just for Love. It is a live recording of the fully uninterrupted set from the El Rey show in Los Angeles on November 30, 2000. During the tour, Murphy chose to perform with only two back-up musicians, Canadian electric violinist Hugh Marsh and Peter DiStefano from Porno for Pyros on guitar, although former Bauhaus bassist David J sometimes joined the trio for an encore. At this point he also contributed to works by noted film composer Harry Gregson-Williams.
Also in 2000, Murphy gave a nod to the North American goth scene, where his solo works and his works with Bauhaus are still very popular, by making a surprise guest appearance at the sixth annual Convergence festival in Seattle, to perform a low-key, acoustic solo set.
Shortly thereafter, Murphy collaborated with the Turkish artist Mercan Dede on the album Dust. Heavily steeped in traditional Turkish instrumentation and songwriting, coupled with Dede's trademark atmospheric electronics, the album showed Murphy all but abandoning his previous pop and rock incarnations. Dust, released on goth/industrial stalwart label Metropolis Records, alienated many fans who had expected a more uptempo Murphy album (especially post-Recall), but it garnered some critical praise. Peter Murphy considers its most unique work to date and is most proud of the song "Your Face" from the album.[4]
In 2004, Murphy signed to yet another new label, Viastar, which was home to several other 1980s pop artists who had moved into more eclectic areas. Despite numerous problems with the label, the album Unshattered was released, showcasing Murphy returning to a more pop sound.
Murphy undertook extensive tours of the U.S.A and Europe to promote 'Unshattered' in 2005, with a live band featuring guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite of The Mission UK and Tricky on guitar, Jeff Schwartoff of Human Waste Project and Professional Murder Music on bass and Justin Bennett of Skinny Puppy on drums. Murphy and the band reconvened in November 2007 for shows in Portugal and Spain, with Nick Lucero replacing Bennett on drums. In May 2008 Murphy recorded a cover of the song "Warm Leatherette" with Trent Reznor and Jeordie White from Nine Inch Nails. This was played live at an intimate studio performance, and the video recording was released on both the official Nine Inch Nails website and YouTube.
On a blog posted on myspace, Peter has announced he is at work on a new studio album to be released in 2009. The album may feature production from Trent Reznor of NIN and feature Peter's version of the track "Warm Leatherette," which they have been performing live together. Peter has also expressed interest in taking his tour down to Australia once the new album is released.
In 2009 Murphy appeared at shows across the United States with Trent Reznor, and the band members Reznor had for the 'Lights Over the Sky Over North America 2008" tour.

[edit] Interesting Notes

Peter Murphy was the model for Maxell's UK "Blown Away Guy" ad campaign which ran in the 1980s, with its tagline of "Sentence your cassette to life." Despite the rumor, he's not the younger model in the omnipresent US edition of the campaign.
He is married to Beyhan and has two children, named Hurihan and Adem. His wife has directed several of his videos, and leads the Turkish National Modern Dance company. Since 1992 he has been living in Ankara, Turkey.

Chase Bank uses a Peter Murphy performed cover version of John Lennon's "Instant Karma!" on a television spot called "Blue Sky".

[edit] Discography

[edit] Singles

Year Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock UK
1985 "Final Solution" - - - - Should the World Fail to Fall Apart
1986 "Blue Heart" - - - -
"Tale of the Tongue" - - - -
1988 "All Night Long" - - - - Love Hysteria
"Blind Sublime" - - - -
"Indigo Eyes" - - - -
1989 "The Line Between the Devil's Teeth (And That Which Cannot Be Repeat)" - 18 - - Deep
1990 "Cuts You Up" 55 1 10 -
"A Strange Kind of Love [Version 1]" - 21 - -
1992 "You're So Close" - 18 - - Holy Smoke
"The Sweetest Drop" - 2 - -
"Hit Song" - - - -
1995 "The Scarlet Thing in You" - - - - Cascade
"I'll Fall with Your Knife" - - - -

1 comment:

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