Brian Shanley tells his story of the night Bauhaus came to Chicago for the first time to play an underground venue and then play their first big gig in Chi Town at Tut’s night club on Sept 11th 1980.
It was a big deal when Bauhaus first played Chicago. It was at Space Place an industrial rehearsal/performance space in the meatpacking district, west of downtown. It was run by Screamin’ Rachel a boisterous blond who claimed fame later in NYC’s club scene. Wax Trax sponsored the event, one of their first big European band shows before Front 242, Test Dept. and the (never to be) Joy Division show. I recall that Peter Murphy was definitely the leader of the band and called all the shots literally.
I got to go backstage with my camera because of Wax Trax wanting to record the whole event. First rule was no formal band group photography. Only the informal ones you see in the rolls I shot here. But I did get to go anywhere and shoot the band without any limits. I did several shots of Daniel and Peter putting on makeup and also was allowed onstage for a couple of shots facing the crowd. For all the whoopla and pretension everyone was very nice and cordial. The band knew breaking the US was important and they were one of the bands Chicago wanted to see.
I feel very fortunate to have had the access to shoot Bauhaus that night and probably more than any band in my brief career shooting the coolest bands of the day. After the show we were all high as kites and packed in to the Dannie’s ’56 aqua and white 2door Oldsmobile and went back to Jim and Dannie’s pad above the record store (Wax Trax). We watched a VHS of Pink Flamingos which none of the band had seen.
I remember being embarrassed when I told Peter how much I loved the song “Bella Lugosi’s Dead” and sang “I’m dead, I’m dead” and he sternly said it’s “undead, undead”.
Bauhaus soon after played at Tut’s, the then place for breaking bands to play on Belmont in Chicago’s happening area. I don’t think I hung out with the band that night but I do remember Peter’s manipulation of the strobe light over his head.
He grabbed it in his hands and stared into it. I’m glad that I then had the presence of mind to leave my cameras shutter open long enough for about a dozen exposures in one frame.