On the night of July 9 -- the night of goth-rockers Bauhaus' first show in 15 years -- singer Peter Murphy was waiting backstage when the stage lights suddenly hit his face and he heard bassist David J's first note of "Double Dare."
It was in that moment that the Bauhaus frontman said he realized for the first time what he'd gotten himself into -- again.
"Right then, I could feel the energy coming from the audience," Murphy said two weeks later. "And I'm thinking, 'Here we are. What are they feeling out there?' ... That first note -- It was like a chord to something wonderful."
It was also a chord to something bigger than almost anyone had anticipated.
Bauhaus' reunion -- titled "Resurrection" -- was initially scheduled to include only two shows in Los Angeles, but when both of those dates sold out within 15 minutes, it was extended to three. A dress rehearsal was also added, which drew the likes of actor Billy Zane, Hole singer Courtney Love, eccentric rocker Perry Farrell and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.
But before the L.A. shows, Murphy said he could feel the energy building during rehearsals. Though Murphy hadn't spoken to his Bauhaus bandmates in nearly seven years prior to the reunion, in some ways it was as if the band had never parted ways, he said.
"Bauhaus never really ended," Murphy said from a Seattle recording studio. "We left it undone; we're just sort-of continuing. If you look at it, we became kind-of like the quasi-Doors of the '80s, but this one doesn't have a tragic end. It's a resurrection."
To keep the momentum of the reunion going, a North American tour, which will kick off Aug. 13 in Seattle, was announced earlier this month. The tour is scheduled to hit 25 cities. Additionally, the goth-rock pioneers plan to capitalize on the enthusiasm for their sound with a trip to Europe in the fall, before returning to their solo work.
Guitarist Daniel Ash, J and drummer Kevin Haskins will release their next album as the psych-rock band Love and Rockets in November. Murphy will return to the solo track, where he made a notable mark with the song "Cuts You Up," from his 1990 album, Deep.
Murphy, 41, who spent a week after the L.A. shows in a Seattle recording studio working on a "quasi-electronic" solo EP that will precede the release of his next solo album, said he's most excited about the tour hitting Istanbul, Turkey, which has been his home for much of the '90s.
Apart from their defining song, "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (RealAudio excerpt), and spearheading the gothic rock movement with their moody sound and campy showmanship, Bauhaus may be best known for their cover of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" (RealAudio excerpt). Murphy said he hopes that the European tour will allow Bauhaus to "pass back" "Ziggy Stardust" to its original owner by convincing Bowie to perform the song onstage with the band. "The way I look at it is that we took 'Ziggy' off David's hands back in 1982," he said. "I want to pass him back to his owner, because Ziggy's a character, really."
With the exception of a new cover or two, Bauhaus' tour features all old material excerpted from their original four-year run from 1979-83. "We're basically giving people what they want with these gigs," Ash said. "We're not trying to be clever. We're playing the songs pretty faithful to the way they are on the albums."
One of the most striking aspects of the reunited band's show is the inventiveness with light, such as during the song "Hollow Hills," when 13 lightbulbs, suspended in the air, brighten upon Murphy's touch. "The lighting guys have to play the set," Murphy said. "They can't just have pre-set ideas. It has to be inspired and performed."
While Ash said that Bauhaus' title as the godfathers of the goth movement never made much sense to him and that it is rooted in the band's dark clothing and ghoulish looks more than anything else, Murphy accepts the label a little more freely. "Well, we've got good children and bad children," he cracked.
"It's like life, really," Murphy continued. "And I think there's a lot of the myth that we're dispelling, in a good way -- that we're better than some of the other music out there now. Apparently, there's a band called Marilyn Manson, which I don't really know about, and it almost seems like some of these acts -- Nine Inch Nails, for instance -- have taken one little degree of what Bauhaus was about and exaggerate it to a point where it becomes quite destructive. And that's certainly not what we wanted to do."
Though Murphy says there's a "strong possibility" that the future will hold new Bauhaus material, the band has not had time to write new material while rehearsing the old. In the meantime, Bauhaus have discussed releasing a live album culled from their reunion shows.