The epic story of goth (two stories, one autograph). Chapter 2: Peter Murphy
This is one of my favorite autograph stories ever. When I was programming MTV2’s Subterranean the lovely people at Rhino Records approached us about doing a special show for their Goth Box. I was so stoked and it was a nice, bigger theme project of which we’d collaborate on several more. So Lyndsay Siegel, who was the show’s talent person (and really is a Parker Posey look-alike) and I brainstormed until we had no more brains or storms about WHO to book — the idea was to have one of the artists on the box set and a more contemporary artist who was a fan of goth to talk to them about it. We got extremely lucky in getting Peter Murphy to agree to tape the show — the man is a legend! If you don’t know why, get to Googling Bauhaus because I don’t have time to explain the entire world to you.
ANYWAY — Peter was one of those artists who lots of people wanted to come down to meet. If you work at MTV no one cares about meeting Rihanna or whoever, but people will come out of the woodwork to shake Peter Murphy’s hand. We had him autographing a heap of box sets and posters Rhino had sent over and a whole slew of alleged grown-ups who turned into slobbering fans in his presence were sycophanting around him. By the time I went down to watch the taping and pick up the autographs (not something I’d normally do but this was kind of a big deal), he was a little sick of shaking hands and being told how great he was. I went in to introduce myself and explain a little about how I had scripted out the segments for this taping. When I stuck my hand out and thanked him for doing this, saying how lucky we felt to have him, he took my hand in his and said this to me:
“Darling, I am not that fantastic. I just have really blue eyes.”
What. The. What. Seriously he said exactly that and I was instantly flabbergasted. I still don’t know what the proper response is. It is both the funniest and most bizarre thing anyone famous has ever said to me. The only way you can pull something like that off is by being a super charming legend.
The second story is just a bit of insider info about how that show went. The younger person we had on to talk with him was Gerard from My Chemical Romance. Peter had his misgivings about that booking, saying MCR were not GOTH — which no, they were/are not. Gerard was just a big fanboy who is excellent on camera and knows a lot about the goth genre, which is why we asked him on. Gerard spent a lot of time before the taping telling us all how nervous he was to meet Peter. It was sweet. Peter was kiiiind of a dick to Gerard (and I felt a bit bad for sweet Jim Shearer who was stuck between them!) for the first three or four segments and then he got it — Gerard, like, worshiped him. AND knew a ton about the music. By the end of it they were buddies/mates/totally into each other. Alls well that ends well.