Goth-legend Bauhaus have churned out many a classic tune, but "Bela Lugosi is dead" has always been their best remembered song. In 1998, the band have successfully reunited and toured Europe and the USA - since then however there has not been a lot of activity. Bauhaus: dead, undead.
For most bands, a split-up is not easily undone. After a couple of years, even the most ambitious reunion has a shallow taste. In 1998, Bauhaus however have shown that it is possible to re-unite a band without losing too much of the original passion and credibility. Most of the concerts were sold out - certainly due to the fact that many younger Bauhaus-enthusiasts have never before had the opportunity to see the band perform on stage - no wonder, since the band split up at their heyday in 1983.
Certainly, founding members Daniel Ash and Peter Murphy would never have fancied their forthcoming success when they wrote their first songs, way back in 1978. They teamed up with brothers Kevin and David J. Haskins (aka David Jay) and founded a band called "Bauhaus 1919". The name was obviously inspired by the German Bauhaus-school of design that existed in Weimar and Dessau from 1919 to 1933, and later shortened to "Bauhaus" by the band.
One year after their initial launch Bauhaus released their first single on the "Small Wonder" label: "Bela Lugosi is dead", a homage to the famous Hungarian actor mostly associated with his title role in the Universal Pictures' film adaptation of Bram Stoker' s "Dracula" from 1931. Lugosi and the image he embodied (he had also starred in horror movies like "White Zombie" (1932), "Island of Lost Souls" (1933), "Mark of the Vampire" (1935), but also Ed Wood' s tragically absurd "Plan 9 from Outer Space") was soon to become the image of Bauhaus.
With their sombre, ominous and
minimalist music Bauhaus filled the gap between Punk-Rock and the trendy
New Wave music by altering Punk' s anarchism to nihilism and sounding
harder and more aggressive than most of the New Wave bands. The best example
for the classic Bauhaus-sound would again be "Bela Lugosi is dead": 9
minutes long, dominated by a stoical drum and bass line, with Peter Murphy'
s conjuring voice creeping through the wall of sound. The live presentation
even increased the intense quality of the music: for most of the gigs
(for example the legendary show at London's "Batcave" club) Bauhaus made
use of white lighting, videos and strobe lights.