"It was a moment of beauty," he says. "It was a paradox. When others want to criticize without compassion, that becomes abuse, and usually you sink into reaction. Rather than argue, I just shoved a load of rose petals in my mouth, and I knew it was going to happen. The moment that any kind of attack came I just answered with roses. It was the moment that just stopped it all — that's performance art in itself."

That authenticity is what has helped Murphy become affectionately dubbed by his gothlings as "The Godfather of Goth," a tag that he acknowledges, but carefully. "It's a great compliment, but if I wear that laurel, I'm afraid that I will fail and become an LA ex-retrospective star of Bauhaus. I could move to LA, dye my hair black again, and be Alice Cooper or Guns N' Roses; I could be a real rock icon — but that's a graveyard for me."

Murphy doesn't see himself as a figurehead and claims he is able to blend into daylight unnoticed as a regular person, no matter the situation. He recounts the time he went to headline the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Germany, the largest gothic-rock festival on the planet. "As we entered the perimeter of the town, literally the whole town had been taken over by thousands of goths. These people are all dressed up in beautiful colors, all black of course, in all very different manifestations. There was a little park with maybe 3,000 people around, I told the guy [the driver] to stop, and I walked amongst them and they didn't know it was me. Nobody recognized me. Just the thought of the idea that they have of me, and me being in their space, was kind of beautiful in a way, like, 'He only appears when he appears onstage.' "

PETER MURPHY + SHE WANTS REVENGE + HUSSLE CLUB + DJ CHRIS EWEN | Middle East, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | November 17 @ 8 pm | 18+ | $25 adv./$30 day of | 617.864.3278 or mideastclub.com

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