Bauhaus were an English gothic rock band, formed in Northampton in 1978. The group consisted of Peter Murphy (vocals), Daniel Ash (guitar), Kevin Haskins (drums) and David J (bass guitar). The band was originally named "Bauhaus 1919" before they dropped the numerical portion within a year of formation. With their dark and gloomy sound and image, Bauhaus are generally considered the first gothic rock group.
Bauhaus first broke up in 1983. Peter Murphy began a solo career while Ash and Haskins continued as Tones on Tail and, later, reunited with David J to form Love and Rockets. Both enjoyed greater commercial success in the United States than Bauhaus had, but disappeared from the charts in their homeland. The band reunited for a 1998 tour and again from 2005-2008.
Daniel Ash, his friend David J. Haskins and Haskins' younger brother Kevin had played together in various bands since childhood. One of the longer-lived of these was a band called The Craze, which performed a few times around Northampton in 1978. However, The Craze still split up fairly quickly, and Ash once again tried to convince his old school friend Peter Murphy to join him, simply because Ash thought he had the right look for a band. Murphy, who was working in a printing factory, decided to give it a try, despite never having written any lyrics or music. During their first rehearsal, he co-wrote the song "In the Flat Field".
Ash's old bandmate Kevin Haskins joined as the drummer. Ash made a point of not inviting David J, the driving force in their previous bands, because he wanted a band he could control. After only a few weeks though, Ash reconsidered and invited Haskins to replace original bassist Chris Barber. Haskins had already agreed to tour American airbases with another band, but decided that joining his friends' group was "the right thing to do". With their line-up complete, the unnamed band played their first gig at the Cromwell pub in Wellingborough on New Year's Eve 1978.
The band chose the name Bauhaus 1919, a reference to the German Bauhaus art movement of the 1920s, because of its "stylistic implications and associations", according to David J. The band also chose to use the same typeface used on the Bauhaus college building in Dessau, Germany. Bauhaus associate Graham Bentley said that the group was unlike any Northampton band of the time, most of which played predominantly cover songs. Bentley videotaped a performance by the group, which was sent to several record labels in the hope of obtaining a contract. This approach was hindered partly because many record companies at the time did not have home video equipment or Bentley had to provide it himself, so the group decided to record a demo.
Together for only six weeks, Bauhaus entered the studio for the first time at Beck Studios in Wellingborough to record a demo. The band recorded five songs; one of the tracks from the session, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", running more than nine minutes, was released as the group's debut single in August 1979 on Small Wonder Records as Bauhaus (the 1919 abandoned). The single received a positive review in Sounds and stayed on the British independent charts for two years. The song received crucial airplay on BBC Radio 1 and DJ John Peel's evening show, and Bauhaus was subsequently asked to record a session for Peel's show, which was broadcast on 3 January 1980.
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