Few groups have been as original as Bauhaus. There they were in parallel with the Public Image of Metal Box or Joy Division creating a whole new sonic space utilising the ideas thrown up by punk to create a new style of music. At the time this seemed natural. Surely all groups were meant to tear up the fabric and start again?
Oddly Bauhaus’s brilliant combination of dub, art school rock, dark glam, psychedelia and a massive dose of their own originality proved to be too much for the surprisingly narrow confines of what was allowed to be experimental at the time and they were at best edited from the narrative or at worst put down by a music media with its own very fixed agenda of what music was going to be allowed in the brave new world of post punk.
Derided as Goths, as if dressing up and making great totally original music was an insult, they have had to settle for being a massive influence in the real world instead of being documentary staples from those rewriters of history.
Because, in all the preposterous re-writes of musical history, there have been few periods as misunderstood and edited as the post punk era. It would be like saying Trad Jazz was more important than rock n roll!
Somehow this fertile and wild place has slowly become narrowed down to a clutch of dressed down, John Peel approved bands who made some great music but are certainly not the whole story.
If you had not lived through this period and were coming to it from a retrospective angle you would certainly believe that the likes of the Raincoats or the Nightingales or even the Fall were huge and massively influential bands and Bauhaus were some sort of minor footnote.
But this was certainly not the case.
I’m not sure how you measure these things but in terms of influence Bauhaus have certainly had the furthest reach, with many corners of the world’s alternative music scenes still echoing to their remarkable and highly original take on the fallout of punk.
This piece is not here to slag down the likes of the Fall and the Nightingales, both are fine bands but with a critical reputation that exceeds their actual place in things and I’m not sure why this is. Maybe the so called Goth writers were not allowed in the mainstream press, maybe Bauhaus were not very good at making friends with journalists!