Like my recent marathon of watching The Killing and other Twin Peaks inspired shows via Netflix, I quickly absorbed my copy of “Who Killed Mister Moonlight? Bauhaus Black Magick and Benediction” by Bauhaus’s own David J. Haskins. The book isn’t read, but through the pages it is regaled to you by a rock and roll raconteur over Czech Budweiser and Dark and Stormy’s. You can hear Mr. Haskins narrate his adventures and encounters with eccentric characters; such as fires and legal proceedings with Genesis P-Orridge, drinking with Nick Cave, exorcising demons with Alan Moore, snake hunting with William Burroughs, and much much more. This is the definitive book on Bauhaus, and perhaps the best Post-Punk book ever written (there are a few now, but this one is most essential). Don’t think that in writing this that David has an axe to grind—he doesn’t, and he holds an honest mirror to himself as to his former bandmates, whom he obviously still loves and holds in high regards, despite their demons. You can order the book here
‘It’s been well over thirty years since I’ve seen David in person, but reading his wildly vivid memoir makes 1982 feel like yesterday. Eloquent and Smart. A great read.’
‘This book offers a fascinating glimpse into the musical and artistic development of David J. Haskins, from his involvement with Bauhaus and the counterculture underground to his stoned immaculate forays into the occult. At times insightful, sometimes shocking, often hilarious, a delightful book’
Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance)
‘Another sorry tale of how ego, drugs, and black magic (and I don’t mean the chocolates) destroyed another great band. It made me sad.’
‘This is mesmerizing writing with a sense of humour with a bite and attention to detail so vivid you’re there! This personal and bold accounting of frequently outrageous events will inform and enthral those who love an engaging life story (as well as music history buffs) with its many powerful behind-the-scenes explosions, but the book really gets into high gear in the final sublime metaphysical chapters. An enthralling read.’
‘To call this book fascinating would be a disservice to potential readers. Fans of the bands David J. has been in will revel in his revelations and delight in the detail. Lovers of music books in general will realise this is up there with the very best for its insight and surprises, but as musical madness and magickal dangers coalesce, this one enters totally uncharted territory. Buckle up!’
Support the Kickstarter for the upcoming book tour here (100% Funded!):
I spoke to David yesterday about the book, Bauhaus, Dogmatic thinking, Magick, and Twin Peaks…
Post-Punk: Do you see your book as more of a catharsis, or rather a love letter to your brothers in arms from Bauhaus?
David J:Yes, I think that was a subconscious motivation. I didn’t set out for it to be cathartic. I just felt compelled to tell the story, in writing it—yes it was something of a cathartic experience. I just wrote from my heart—and also from my head, and told the truth from my point of view. I think it’s an interesting story, and a valid tale to…present to the public.
David J: I am really glad that you see that. Really glad…that you see that. Yes…
Post-Punk: You talk about exorcisms and benedictions, and the book illustrates your journey in balancing the Manichean dualism between Apollo and Dionysus. This seems to contrast with what transpires with Peter and Daniel, who seem to be suffering from their demons.
David J: Well, we’re all seekers. Very ardent seekers. We all follow paths. Sometimes those paths cross over, and sometimes not. Peter tends to be very dogmatic, especially when he discovered Islam. I think his discovery of Islam was a great thing for him. I respected that part, especially his involvement with Sufis. And I think that he…and I sort of hesitate to say it, but I think he has lost his faith a bit, I don’t think he would deny that. And Daniel is very much more inclusive and opened minded, up until a point, and then he kind of shuts down…if that particular path is not ringing true to him. Fair enough, He has is own benchmarks, and his own way of judging these things. I think he was very apprehensive about my investigation into the area of Magick, because he still, as is Peter, subconsciously informed by his Catholic upbringing. So anything that sort of ventures into that occult area is tantamount to sleeping with the devil.
Post-Punk: It seems to be a hard thing to shake, this Catholic guilt.
David J: Yes—It’s ingrained at a very impressionable age, it’s rather ironic to say, but thank god that I did not go down that path, as my parents were not Catholic. It tends to, from my experience, fuck up those who experience it. With a few exceptions, but…well, it’s indoctrination!
Post-Punk: Reading the prose of your bio, your perspective seems more Milton, or Goethe, very age of enlightenment, and you don’t seem to let the Rock & Roll be self destructive for you.
David J: I am somewhat blessed in not having an addictive personality. I’m obsessive, but I don’t have an addictive personality, and I can walk away from things.
Post-Punk: I don’t mean to be disrespectful towards those who are Catholic, but there seems to be a correlation between that upbringing and addiction.
David J: Well, I think it has a lot to do with dealing with that indoctrination, and feeling that you are a sinner, born with original sin, that your soul is turning black from improper thoughts, not even actions, but thoughts, and that’s a heavy trip to lay on a kid, or anybody. So I think that some of the Catholics, or lapsed Catholics, all have that inside of them, and in order to deal with it they need certain “medications”.
Post-Punk: Mm, Definitely.
David J: And then they feel even more damned, more like the sinner they were purported to be by the Priests, who of course, are all clean living and “Holier than Thou” *ironic laugh*
Post-Punk: And the vow of chastity seems to have had a political and financial motivation, as in keeping familial inheritances in the Church from second sons. But not to harp on the negative aspects of organized religion. I’d like to ask your take on Magick seeming to be fashionable in the Post-Punk scene, especially in Berlin, London, and the LA area. What are you thoughts on this? There seems to be a connection to Psychic TV involved with this as well.
David J: Hm, yes. I see what you are saying. I think it can be dangerous if it’s taken too lightly. I’ve always taken it pretty seriously-But with a spirit of play which is definitely part and parcel of it and allows for the facilitating of the process; there needs to be that playful element that’s part of it… for me. That’s not to say it’s not taken seriously, because it’s a very powerful thing. And I think its very much a case of what you bring to it—is what you get out of it, like a lot of things, some things more than others; psychedelics and Magick being primary examples of that.
You know, if you come to Magick with a mindset that is attuned to a high vibratory level, you are going to reap the benefits of that. If you go to it with the low vibratory level of Black Magick, you are going to suffer. And I have never…never come to it with anything less than good intentions and positive desire, and it’s usually very, certainly with my experiences, very exploratory, and for the furthering of knowledge and artistic expression. But I think also, it doesn’t really matter if your intentions are pure like that; if you engage in specifically ritual Magick, then you are going to attract into that sphere some very uncontrollable and chaotic dark energy. It’s just like lighting a fire, and that fire attracts the positive and the negative. You have to be skilled in being able to filter and let in the positive and beneficial, and keep out the negative, and that is a very tricky endeavour.
I don’t practice ritual Magick as such anymore, it’s just part and parcel of my everyday living. Being attuned to the possibilities of synchronicity, and the application of the will and positive visualization. I don’t construct a Magick circle and don’t wave a wand, well not a physical one anyway.
Post-Punk: You seem to have manifested that synchronicity your entire life. One thing I felt while reading the book in the early chapters, was this impression of Agent Cooper, and then I got further in the book, and you make these Twin Peaks references. Maybe there was some sort of subtle subconscious push to make me think that. Do you see yourself as being like Agent Dale Cooper?
David J: Well I certainly did thoroughly enjoy that show, and I did identify with him to a degree. Yes. I am looking forward to the new series. Yeah I like that dichotomy of his laced shoes nicely polished, and done up in a nice suit, but he was entering into the Black Lodge and investigating therein, and he still he had that, sort of like William Burroughs, that Eagle Scout kind of thing to fall back on.
Post-Punk: and you both can be asked “How’s Annie?”
David J: Oh yes, haha. Good thing too! I recently met David Lynch and had a wonderful conversation with him. It was not at all disappointing. He gave me a shoulder massage…he gave me a shoulder massage—and was talking to me about the interconnectedness of all energetic living entities. It was in a graveyard…this will be in my NEXT book.
Post-Punk: Wow, you are going to do another book…?
David J: I’ve got something bubbling away.
Post-Punk: This is going to be non-fiction?
David J: Yes, yes, this is going to be more stories from my life. When I was writing the book, I took to heart George Orwell’s dictum of “Kill Your darlings”, that which does not serve the story, even if you love the prose piece, you have to kill it. It has to serve that arc, so I have a few of those set aside. So…that was really the start of the next one, and elaborating upon that I have more interesting encounters with fascinating characters, so there’s some more tales to tell.
Post-Punk:…I was going to make a cheesy “No New Tale to Tell” joke, but I shall try to abstain.
David J: heh, thank you. I am definitely feeling the inclination to be more of a storyteller and a writer.