Goth Talk - Death Rock and Goth Music in the 80's

Bauhaus

This week on Totally 80's: The Podcast, hosts Lyndsey Parker (Yahoo Entertainment Music Editor and SiriusXM Volume Host) and John Hughes embark on a very spooky episode to discuss a musical and pop culture movement very near and dear to their cold black hearts: Death Rock, Darkwave, Goth. 

Episode 7 is full of Siouxsie, Bauhaus!, The Cure and more while Parker and Hughes debate: Goth or not? Link to the full podcast is below.

RELATED: February 1980: The Cure Release "Boys Don't Cry" the Album

ON THEIR INTRODUCTION TO THE GOTH ROCK SCENE:

Parker: "Goth is a term that I don't actually remember from when I was a kid."

"No, we said death rock, which I only realize now as an LA native.It was kind of actually a sort of subset. And it was kind of a more horror-driven thing and a very LA thing, by the way. The band The Mountain Goats do a whole album. They came out two years ago called Goths. That's totally about that scene."

"Let's try to define what goth is, because a lot of bands like The Cure, they shoo the term, if you call them goth, they're not happy about it."

Hughes: "Like Siouxsie and the Banshees. Yeah. A few bands like Specimen properly embraced the term, but a lot of the bands that I consider goth, or at least, you know, goth adjacent, they don't really like the term because I think the term, the genre in its day did not really get a lot of critical respect.  People now look at it as this jokey thing, like the 'Goth Talk' skit, or kids that go to Hot Topic and dress like Marilyn Manson. But I think it was a legitimate thing. I think people see it more as a fashion thing than a musical thing."

SO WHAT IS GOTH?

Hughes: "it was really, in the Midwest at least, we were called New Wavers and it was very broad, very broad term, and it was basically anything that's weird outside the mainstream.

"Gelled hair. Uh, we all bought the same jet black hair dye and dyed our hair the same time. It worked out for some people with darker complexions. And for me, I look like the living dead. That's what I was going for."

"You know I joke about 'Goth Talk' and Azrael Abyss and everything, but whoever wrote that sketch, it's kind of a love letter to goth and the kids that are into it, because poor Azrael is put upon by his  jock older brother. And you know, he's still has to go work at the Cinnabon.

Parker: "Has braces that clash with his Robert Smith messy lipstick." 

"It's an interesting thing though. We were joking, starting off by talking about goth talk as a joking thing, but it did in a very serious way nail it in that golth was largely a suburban phenomenon. Yes. Uh, you know, white middle class."

Hughes: "An escape for kids." 

Parker: "You know, I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in LA, and it was like a lot of teen angst, but it was a very suburban thing and it was a very LA thing if you grew up here...  You know, these kind of middle class, you know, or upper middle class, suburban teens, they really connected with this kind of angsty drama of it all."

"There was like the suicidal tendency. We're afraid you're going to hurt someone or afraid you're going to hurt yourself. Because I was walking around, you know, and dressed in all black, black hair, black lipstick, you know, getting into these bands that had very dark imagery or very sad imagery."

ON BAUHAUS' GOTH CREDIBILITY:

Parker: "Because I mean, they were in the friggin' opening scene of a vampire movie called The Hunger. I mean. Bauhaus were goth. There ain't no way around that. "Bela Lugosi's Dead" is the theme song for 'Goth Talk.'"

"When they played Coachella in 2005. It's my favorite Coachella moment of all time.

They opened, their set opened with "Bela Lugosi's Dead." They did not close or they didn't just get it out of the way. Peter Murphy descended from the rafters or the scaffolding or whatever above the outdoor stage, upside down. In a bat jacket, like in a straight jacket, like a restrictive jacket."

"He's saying upside down the whole song that's almost like 11 minutes long. It's, I don't even know, like from just a pure technical breath control  -how you could sing hanging upside down, but hanging upside down, singing all of "Bela Lugosi's Dead. In bat mode. My guess is they don't disavow the song, they're pretty proud of it.

"They shouldn't mean that. I mean, they're obviously such descendants from David Bowie, and they were, you know, in this vampire movie with him. And that's one of the most iconic goth moments ever like vampire, you know? Violence happening around them. One nightstand slashing throat's all stylized and Peter Murphy in a frigging cage."

Listen to the full podcast here. 

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