On December 12th, 2018, Peter Murphy played a well received show at mid sized venue Nalen in Stockholm, Sweden for his 40 Years of Bauhaus Ruby Celebration Tour, featuring David J.
The concert that night ended slightly early, with several songs cut from the final encore of the setlist due to the vocals being disabled on the PA.
The next morning new stories broke that Peter had been kicked out of the venue for destroying equipment and assaulting guests with glass water bottles thrown from stage. A person on social media claimed to have been hit by one of the water bottles, cutting his cheek and requiring stitches.
A shocking photo, followed by video footage, emerged along with this claim, showing the 61 year old singer confronting what some took to be Swedish Police and security outside the venue. In the footage we see Murphy, being told to “calm it down, mate,” with Murphy responding with , “You think you got a big c**k? F*** you, you f***ing Swedish c**t.”
Murphy, after demanding not to be touched has someone put their hand on his shoulder and the singer then responds with a punch. Security then tackle the singer, bringing him down with a chokehold.
Since much of the news reporting of this event has been inaccurate, in part due to mistranslation of Swedish news articles, and in part due to some dishonesty, we have decided to break down the facts of the evening, showing that both parties are to blame.
- No glass bottles were thrown. Murphy threw plastic bottles and plastic cups of beer. Some of the plastic bottles were closed, such as the one that struck the concert goer on the cheek and caused a minor cut that bled.
- No photos of the injury at the time of occurrence were taken as far as we know.
- The plastic bottle that struck the individual on the cheek, was thrown in overhand arch by Murphy as the attendee was standing at the bar during the song “Stigmata Martyr”. This has been filmed from many angles facing Peter Murphy.
- Peter Murphy told his management that the reason he threw water bottles was he was trying to get the people/audience excited and liven the room up, and get them engaged with the show.
- Murphy spoke to the audience via his microphone that the people at the bar at the end of the room need to listen to the music and watch the gig.
- By the end of the concert the crowd was throwing cups of beer and water bottles too, which supports Murphy’s claim about his motives for throwing the water.
“Glas” in Swedish is more accurately translated as “cup” depending on the context.
- Peter Murphy did in fact kick a stage light breaking it and shattering glass. No glass came anywhere near concert goers however.
- Murphy is alleged to have complained about a buzzing sound in his monitor by the venue. Tour staff for Peter Murphy have stated the sound was good until the end. This is reflected by the opinions of several concert attendees we interviewed.
- A writer for Gaffa, a new site often referenced in this story, complained that Murphy’s performance was off and that he was shouting and screaming more so than singing. We must note that Peter Murphy was performing Bauhaus’ debut album In The Flat Field in its entirety for the first half of the set. No one we interviewed complained about the performance in this way other than the writer for Gaffa, who seems unfamiliar with Bauhaus’s material.
- This same writer might have been mistranslated regarding what she wrote about the show:
“I låt åtta, Stigmata Martyr började han kasta glas och flaskor mot mixerbordet. fyra-fem stycken säkert, varav någon flaska for rätt in i baren.”
The word “glas” in Swedish can be mistranslated as “glass” in this context, but in this usage is better translated as “cup”, according to a native Swedish speaker that works for our site. (I myself previously had been confused about this translation during a Swedish backyard BBQ last summer).
- In that same article, the writer also mentions that the ‘bands own technician ended the show’. The technician was in fact the tour manager.
- Despite thinking Peter Murphy was cranky, aggressive, or not having a good time, most audience members claim he gave a great performance (see Treatment of Audience section).
- A water bottle hit a member of Peter Murphy’s crew who was working the sound board in his chest, exploding water on him and the board. He quickly tried to clean it up.
- The PA was not completely broken. Video from the concert shows that the vocal levels were low starting around “She’s In Parties”. The guitar and bass levels were fine. Given that open water bottles and beer bottles were being thrown by the audience at this time, some directed at the PA and Light desk, it is possible that their was other damage to the PA that was not entirely caused by Murphy, but band management concedes Peter inciting the audience to throw water.
- Nalen have been caught in a lie to local Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, where Nalen spokesperson Jennie Monie says:
“Afterwards we’ve understood that he first kicked down a lamp on stage. Then he threw water bottles on audience, staff and also against our technicians. One water bottle that was open broke the mixer board.”
Monie is claiming the technician was a Nelan employee, when in fact it was the tour manager. No venue staff were hit by any water bottles thrown by Peter Murphy.
Treatment of Audience
- During the opening song “Double Dare”, the first song of the set, Peter is shown taking a person’s cell phone away flipping them off while also gesturing playfully. See video footage courtesy of Youtube user bgrrrlie.
- During the final song of the 15 song setlist, “The Passion of Lovers”, Peter is seen holding the hands of several people from the same spot as before, possibly the person whom he took the phone from earlier, as he is seen gesturing for a particular person’s hand to hold.
- Peter leans in further to serenade a black woman holding her hand, while trying to sing “The Passion of Lovers” with low levels on the vocal.
- Ultimately, Peter’s performance during the concert matches reports of his onstage persona dating back to Bauhaus’ first gigs in Luton and Northampton during 1979.
The character of “Peter Murphy” is arch – he’s a dionysian anti-hero!
- Double Dare
- In the Flat Field
- A God in an Alcove
- Spy in the Cab
- Small Talk Stinks
- St. Vitus Dance
- Stigmata Martyr
- Burning from the Inside
- Silent Hedges
- Bela Lugosi’s Dead
- She’s in Parties
- The Passion of Lovers
Muscle in Plastic…
After the concert:
- Both the venue and Peter’s management concede Peter goes to his dressing room after being requested to leave the venue immediately.
- Venue staff said they called the police, and demand Peter Murphy or the whole tour change hotels (this is unclear).
- The audience members were then cleared out of the venue. Murphy’s management does not acknowledge the venue’s claim that fans were still present asking for autographs and that Peter was abusive to them
- Peter while talking to the second of two tour managers on the tour is dragged outside with security on each of his arms despite the protests of the tour manager who claims to have been arranging with Peter a taxi back to the hotel and planned to leave in 5 minutes.
- Before this occurred the secondary tour manager was talking to fans that told her they really enjoyed the show. No fans have come forward stating Peter Murphy threatened them.
- Peter Murphy was removed from the venue alone without a jacket wearing only a thin shirt during freezing weather.
- Right after being brought to the street, Peter Murphy curses at a member of the security team involved with removing him so forcefully, referring to the size of the man’s genitals implying that the security guard was displaying machismo or toxic masculinity.
- Peter is touched after demanding not to be touched again, and he throws a punch.
- Peter is then tackled by several members of the security team.
- One of the members of the security team is a Ordningsvakt, who many in the press mistook for a police officer.
- It is possible that the Ordningsvakt was called by the venue to remove Peter, although many are retained for events in Sweden.
- Peter Murphy was not arrested, and no charges were pressed at the venue.
- Peter Murphy and his crew were not informed of any injury resulting from the plastic bottle being thrown.
- Nalen later solicited members of the audience to press charges against Peter Murphy. One police report was filed.
- Peter Murphy arrived at his hotel, and departed for Athens, Greece, the next morning for another concert in that city. The show was sold out and there were no problems during the performance.
- Peter Murphy was at fault by throwing the plastic bottles and causing injury to the cheek of the concert goer standing by the bar. Despite the fact that singers like Iggy Pop, and Marilyn Manson are known to still engage in plastic bottle throwing, this was a full water bottle and still caused harm, despite there being no intent to do so.
- Nalen chose not to address replacing the stage light, and the issues with the PA, (if the PA was indeed completely broken) and chose not to arrange drafting any invoice with the tour management in the office post show, and and instead decided to be uncivil.
- Nalen should not have thrown Peter Murphy out on the street like they did, and their response to the press has been in some parts misleading and in others outright dishonest.
- One music European music industry professional with personal ties to Stockholm as well has indicated to us that the venue has a history of heavy-handed security tactics with touring artists, and that this incident came as no surprise.
- Removing Peter out of the street like Nalen did was unsafe, and a legal liability. We are calling out Nalen’s claim that Peter threatened guests as being an outright lie used to justify the way they vented their anger. The situation could have been mediated with tour management, and Nalen chose instead to use threats and force to deal with a situation that could have been resolved peacefully.
Love for Stockholm
Despite this, we concede that Nalen is an important part of the Stockholm music scene, and is supportive of many great small post-punk acts that are in the city, a city that is overflowing with musical talent. Without Nalen Stockholm’s nightlife would suffer, as they contribute so much to the city.
Nalen in fact helps and supports many of the friends of Post-Punk.com in Stockholm.