Hang on a sec while 14-year-old me squeals, “Peter Murphy is playing Eugene!” Murphy may not mean much to 14-year-olds these days, but there was a time when he was “King Bat” to a whole army of young goth-rockers. Most know him for his work with the British band Bauhaus, and bringing a dark cinematic quality to ‘70s and ‘80s punk rock with songs like “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” Murphy’s Bowie-esque croon and the band’s creepy aesthetic inspired a music and fashion movement called “goth,” a style that still lives on in bands like Nine Inch Nails, My Chemical Romance and many more. This is what your weird older sister was listening to in her room while painting her face white and teasing her dyed-black hair.
After Bauhaus split, Murphy spent a lot of time trying to live-down his goth image, scoring a minor hit with the slightly more mainstream but far-from-sunny track “Cuts You Up.” His solo work is prolific and consistent, dabbling in acoustic and Eastern sounds, but never quite reaching the success of Bauhaus. After a few we-need-the-money Bauhaus reunions, Murphy returned in full form with the 2011 record Ninth. The opening track, “Velocity Bird,” is reminiscent of Iggy Pop. The song “I Spit Roses” is a romantic anthem, featuring Murphy chanting an over-the-top chorus that will have moody teens punching the air in their bedrooms.
So put on that dark eyeliner, dig out the old black trench coat and dance like you’re at a funeral. Peter Murphy is a vampire who most definitely doesn’t sparkle.
Peter Murphy plays with Ours 9 pm Saturday, Aug. 11, at WOW Hall, 291 W. 8th Ave.; $25 adv., $30 door.