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"Can we, as a country, all agree

xmag.com : December 2003: David J

By Storm Large

I used to be one of those sad bisexual vampires, pouting in the dark, drinking red wine, clicking my big fake black nails on the bar, starring in my very own secret movie where I was the tragic beauty. Yup, I was a total fag for about a year, painting cobwebs on my face and stretching nasty black netting around my plump and pasty teenaged body. My soundtrack was operatic and often maudlin but The Greatest Song Ever at that time was "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus.

Bauhaus was Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash and brothers David J and Kevin Haskins. They disbanded in the Eighties. Peter Murphy went solo and the other three went on to form the more pop oriented Love and Rockets.

I recently got a chance to talk to the silky voiced David J and to see how he's moved on from his goth icon status. I, too, have long since put away my Anne Rice and Aqua Net.

STORM: Did you ever look out into the audience while playing with Bauhaus and see all the painted up death rock kids and think, "C'mon now, you look ridiculous."

 

DJ: Of course. I appreciate that people saw us as pioneers of that whole goth scene, but we didn't really see it that way. And our fans weren't all like that.

 

S: I sure was. A total Siouxsie eyeliner-wearin' geek for you guys. But your most famous song that inspired the goth minions to swarm to the dark side, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," still holds up today. I see club kids and rockers alike sway all dreamily to it when it comes on. Do you still get a lot of happiness out of that song?

 

DJ: Well, yes. It's special because it's the first one we did as a band. We wrote it six weeks after the band formed.

 

S: Wow, and that was in 1978. 25 years ago.

 

DJ: Oh my, yes, it's been awhile I guess. I've recently heard some great stories that have made me feel good about it. A friend of mine was talking to Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Bela Lugosi came on the sound system and [Thom] said that he loved that song and when he's home he loves to break out all of his Bauhaus records. That felt pretty good.

S: That's quite a nod. So, what got you into music to start with?

 

DJ: David Bowie. My brother Kevin had seen him on a television program and made sure I saw it when he came on again. He performed "Starman." It was incredible, and that was it for me. My Dad wasn't too happy about it, though.

 

S: My Dad didn't like you guys, either. He thought you were all sick, making me love you all the more. Now you're a father. Does your kid listen to anything that makes you roll your eyes?

 

DJ: At first he started getting into rap, then rap metal, then serious death metal. And I wouldn't say anything but I thought how can you listen to that?

 

S: That's pretty funny. Every generation has an Elvis. I think even Mozart was considered pretty punk by Austrian standards of his day. What are you up to these days?

 

DJ: Well I've been DJing, performing some cabaret, "Cabaret Oscuro," I've just released an album (on Hey Day Records) called Estranged and an EP where I did a remix using Jen Folkers' (of Dahlia) voice.

 

S: I love Jen, she's such a little sexpot. Speaking of sexy, there's a general opinion among most Americans that the English are a dry and sexually repressed people. What do you say to that?

 

DJ: There's a lot of truth to that. It's a very old ingrained social thing, religious-based. England used to be mostly pagan, where sex was part of spirituality and you could even pay for sex at a temple. So sex was a way to achieve a piece of the divine.

 

S: Here, here!

 

DJ: Then more dogmatic and strict Christian sects started taking over, and we all know how they view sexuality. But as with any extreme puritanical regime, the art and sexuality become very strong and come out as a sort of backlash.

 

S: We have a kind of twisted version of that going on here in this country. Jen is definitely a very sexual performer. She's got that whole 'whore of the temple' vibe dialed.

 

DJ: Yeah, I really enjoyed working with Jen. She's got a dirty laugh.

 

S: What would you be doing if you weren't doing music?

 

DJ: Painting. A book is coming out in Japan called The Glittering Darkness where the members of Bauhaus are the main characters. I did the illustrations for it.

 

S: For the whole book? How many pieces did you do?

 

DJ: About a hundred.

 

S: In how long?

 

DJ: About two weeks.

 

S: Jeezum crow, did you eat?

 

DJ: Not really.

****

David J is not goth, he's just skinny. He will be performing with Drumattica at Dante's on Friday, Dec. 19th. Check out his very cool all-flash website at www.davidjonline.com and his latest album Estranged, in stores now (go to www.heyday.com for a free bonus CD). Now go eat something for God's sake, or you'll be all undead-undead-undead.

 

 

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