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Members include DanielAsh, guitar, vocals; DavidJ (born David Jay Haskins), bass, vocals; KevinHaskins, drums; PeterMurphy (born in Northampton, England), vocals. Addresses: Record company--Beggars Banquet Records, 580 Broadway, Ste. 1004, New York City, NY 10012 Phone: (212) 343-7010 Fax: (212) 343-7030.

Often referred to as the "godfathers" of goth-rock because of their sometimes dark music and frightening stage show theatrics, Bauhaus served as an inspiration to later gothic outfits such as Christian Death, Alien Sex Fiend, and Marilyn Manson. However, confining Bauhaus to the category of goth-rock ignores the group's sense of humor, uniqueness, and desire for musical experimentation. "Their music was dark rock 'n' roll," asserted the Official Bauhaus Web Site, "owing more to Elvis Presley's 'Heartbreak Hotel' than to their imitator's pompous epics which gave the Gothic genre a bad name." After the members of Bauhaus went their separate ways in 1983, they continued to find commercial and critical acclaim with acts such as Love and Rockets. And into the later 1990s, Bauhaus songs still sounded contemporary, the group's albums sold better than ever, and the band's live shows remained legendary.

Bauhaus formed in 1978 in Northampton, England; the group's founding members included bassist and vocalist David J (born David Jay Haskins), his brother Kevin Haskins, a drummer, guitarist Daniel Ash, and vocalist Peter Murphy. David J, Haskins, and later Ash all played together prior to Bauhaus under various names such as The Craze, The Submerged Tenth or Jack Plug, and The Sockettes. However, all of these relatively unknown outfits seemed to lack a certain chemistry. In an attempt to salvage the threesome's pursuits, Ash decided to call upon Murphy, an old school friend who shared the trio's musical tastes, and asked him to join the band. This decision proved beneficial from the start, for within just a couple of weeks, Ash and Murphy had written an astounding number of songs, including "Dark Entries," "In the Night," "Boys," "Harry," and many more.

A month later, after David J and Haskins joined the pair to further develop lines for the collection of songs, and the four musicians officially named themselves Bauhaus 1919 after the German art movement (the suffix 1919 was later dropped in 1979 from the group's namesake). On New Year's Eve, 1978, they made their first public debut in England. Soon thereafter, Bauhaus recorded in just one take a 12-inch single on the Small Wonder label that included the track "Bela Lugosi's Dead." The epic, nine minute-long song, released in August of 1979, would later become a Bauhaus classic and goth-rock anthem. While the song never reached the pop charts, it remained on the United Kingdom independent charts for several years. At the band's request, the 12-inch version of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" never appeared on an album until the release of the Bauhaus compilation Crackle in 1998.

With just one single to their name, Bauhaus quickly gained attention for their live performances held in small clubs. Using videos projected onto a small screen and a single white strobe light, the band produced a startling and hypnotic show. "You may not care to have the fear of God instilled in you at a gig, partially from the band," wrote Melody Maker, as quoted by the band's website, "but Bauhaus proved an exhilarating exception. Audience communication is never broached, more a sense of intimidation that immediately demands you take an interest--deeply explosive drums, throbbing basses and a never ending variety of guitar sounds which never resort to conventional methods of attack."

After performing almost non-stop and just three months after releasing their first single, Bauhaus signed with the Beggars Banquet's subsidiary label 4AD. In January of 1980, the group released their second single, "Dark Entries." Later in the summer of the same year, after touring Europe, they released the single "Terror Couple Killed Colonel," another independent chart hit. In September of 1980, Bauhaus arrived in the United States for their first American tour, releasing another single, a cover of the 1970s glam-rock group T-Rex's "Telegram Sam," toward the end of the month.

Upon returning to England, Bauhaus released their debut album, the psychedelic, dark, and original In the Flat Field, in October of 1980. An immediate success, although the album originally contained none of Bauhaus's previous singles, the record peaked at number one on the independent charts and number 72 on the pop charts. (In the 1990s, all of the 4AD singles were remastered and included in an expanded CD of In the Flat Field.) Unlike any other band prior, Bauhaus on their debut introduced listeners to the dense, raw force that would become their own unique style.

February of 1981 took Bauhaus back to the United States for a second, 16-date tour. Also that year, Bauhaus, by now gaining a wider audience, transferred to the Beggars Banquet label. Subsequently, they released the single "Kick in the Eye," which introduced a more commercial sound through its dance rhythms, soon followed by "The Passion of Lovers," which Bauhaus composed and recorded in one day. Both singles made the British top 60 in 1981. Also this year, Ash formed a group outside of Bauhaus called Tones on Tale.

An Ambitious Follow-up

In October of 1981, Bauhaus released their second album entitled Mask, marking a shift in musical direction for the group. More ambitious, accessible, and mature than the group's debut effort, Mask featured other musical elements such as metal and electronic textures. However, the broader collection of songs also retained the experimental edge and the dark, foreboding core of Bauhaus's earlier music. Bob Gulla in musicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide defined the work as "Bauhaus's finest, showing a variety of styles and extremes in both musicianship and verse." Likewise, the album succeeded in terms of commercial appeal as well, reaching number 30 on the British charts.

Despite the group's intense touring schedule that led them across Europe and abroad, a significant breakthrough record continued to elude Bauhaus. Nonetheless, the band headed back to the studio to record the EP Searching for Satori (released in March of 1982), which also included a remix of "Kick in the Eye" and reached number 45 on the British charts. The next single, "Spirit," appeared later that summer, making the British top 50. For this song, Bauhaus used an outside producer for the first and last time. Unhappy with the arrangement and final outcome of "Spirit," the group recorded a longer, more complete version that showed up on their next album.

In the meantime, Bauhaus experienced a bit of mainstream recognition when Murphy took on an acting job and starred in a series of television commercials advertising Maxell tapes. Filmed by a renowned director named Howard Guard (who later made the video for a Bauhaus song entitled "She's in Parties"), the trend-setting commercials drew acclaim from the advertising industry. Moreover, the popularity of the ads resulted in Bauhaus receiving a cameo appearance in the film "The Hunger." In the movie, a vampire myth set in New York City starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve, the group performed "Bela Lugosi's Dead" in a club frequented by the film's leading characters.

Provoked the Press

In the fall of 1982, Bauhaus made a connection of sorts with Bowie again by releasing a cover of the musician's song "Ziggy Stardust," followed by a version of pop/electronic innovator Brian Eno's "Third Uncle." Throughout the group's career, and especially since their recording of "Telegram Sam," some members of the English press accused Bauhaus of sounding similar to Bowie or mimicking the glam-rock style with their elaborate stage shows. Fully realizing that a remake of a Bowie song would invite an abundance of media protest, Bauhaus decided to provoke the press even more by adding "Third Uncle" to the release of "Ziggy Stardust." For the 12-inch version, the group further included a live cover of the Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man," featuring the vocals of former Velvet Underground member Nico. And while the project began out of Bauhaus's sense of humor, the popular single finally earned the group their first United Kingdom Top 20 hit as "Ziggy Stardust" ascended to number 15.

Propelled by the pop chart success of the single, The Sky's Gone Out, Bauhaus's next album also released in 1982, entered the album charts at number four. To show their gratitude to record buyers, the group included free with the first 30,000 copies a live album consisting of live performances from late 1981 and early 1982. The free album was released later that year independently as Press the Eject and Give Me the Tape. Although The Sky's Gone Out gave the group their greatest mainstream recognition, the album nonetheless lacked the lyrical humor of Bauhaus's earlier work.

In early 1983, with the band already booked for studio time to work on their next album, Murphy contracted viral pneumonia. The other members of Bauhaus, though, opted to start recording without the lead singer, whose serious illness prevented him from participating. By the time he recovered, the bulk of the record was completed, leaving Murphy the opportunity to reinterpret the vocals for only four songs. Consequently, 1983's Burning from the Inside consisted of greater contributions from Ash and David J, who sang on most of the album's tracks and added a more acoustic sound to the music. Despite the fact that all the members of Bauhaus did not contribute equally to writing and recording Burning from the Inside, the album proved yet another critical and popular achievement, climbing to number ten on the pop charts, and spurred the successful single "She's in Parties." However, the diverse album also prompted the breakup that would come in July of 1983, as the members of Bauhaus displayed an obvious interest in pursuing other musical avenues.

Bauhaus Split Up

Bauhaus promoted the album with a tour of Japan, returning to the British for a tour of England from June 11 until July 5. During Bauhaus's last performance held at Hammersmith Palais in England, Ash exited the stage with the words "Rest in peace," as quoted by the group's website. (A recording of the live show entitled Rest in Peace: The Final Concert was later released in 1992.) Shortly thereafter, a press release confirmed rumors that Bauhaus had broken up. Feeling that fan club members who had already paid their annual subscription deserved compensation, Bauhaus sent out 325 copies of a single the band had decided not to release on an album called "The Sanity Assassin." The song was later made available to the general public as a track on Crackle.

After Bauhaus split apart, all of the group's members went on to enjoy commercially successful careers. Murphy first formed a band called Dali's Car with Mick Karn (formerly of the group Japan) and then released a string of solo projects. His more noteworthy albums included Deep (1990) and Cascade (1995). Ash continued playing with Tones on Tail, joined by Haskins after Bauhaus's breakup, and David J released some solo records in addition to joining the group the Jazz Butcher for a short time. In 1985, Ash, David J, and Haskins reunited as Love and Rockets after a proposed Bauhaus reunion fell through. Love and Rockets, embracing the diversity and creativity evident on Burning from the Inside, earned both critical acclaim and commercial acceptance throughout the remainder of the 1980s and into the 1990s.

In 1998, with Love and Rockets and Murphy at a recording standstill, Bauhaus reformed for several live shows in Los Angeles, followed by a series of summer concerts across the United States and a fall tour in Europe. In celebration of the reunion, the band released the "best of" album Crackle on the Beggars Banquet label. During their visit to Chicago while on tour, Bauhaus booked some studio time and even began work on a new song, leading to rumors that a new release was in the making. Although 15 years had passed since the Bauhaus breakup, the group's reunion and tour of sold-out performances established the notion that the legacy and influences of Bauhaus remained as strong as ever.

by Laura Hightower

Bauhaus's Career

Group formed in Northampton, England, developed legendary yet simple stage shows, 1978; released classic single "Bela Lugosi's Dead,"Small Wonder, 1979; released debut album, In the Flat Field, 4AD, 1979; released Mask, Beggars and Banquet, 1980; released first U.K. Top 20 hit, "Ziggy Stardust," which reached number 15 and The Sky's Gone Out, Beggars Banquet, both in 1982; released Burning from the Inside, Beggars Banquet/A&M, 1983; reunited for worldwide tour; released compilation album Crackle, 1998.

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