Book Review: Who Killed Mister Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction by David J

Who Killed Mister Moonlight? is the one-of-a-kind memoir of Bauhaus bassist David J.
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In many ways, Bauhaus were the ultimate goth band, and as such they have always been clouded in mystery. The classic Bauhaus lineup of Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins, and David J ran from 1978 - 1983, in which time they released four albums. Unfortunately, their existence was pretty much a secret in the United States, and a lot of American fans did not even discover them until after they had broken up. David J has lifted the veil on Bauhaus with his new memoir Who Killed Mister Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction, and it is as fascinating a tale as one could imagine.

For a group as unique as Bauhaus, their beginnings were pretty straight-forward. Haskins and David J are brothers who ran into Murphy and Ash around Northampton, England in the immediate post-punk years. As Bauhaus, they made their first recordings after only six weeks together, and one of the songs they recorded was their anthem, "Bela Lugosi's Dead."  

Success (of a sort) came early in England, and the four young men were off on the rock and roll rollercoaster. Much like Julian Cope, David J has a very conversational writing tone, and he remembers it all. Even with all the drugs they were using. It is very easy to see how these four talented young men  initially embraced the ride, then slowly fell apart. When Bauhaus split, Ash and the Haskins brothers formed Love and Rockets, who had a big US hit with "So Alive" in 1989. After the Love and Rockets split in 1999, there were some Bauhaus reunions that went about as well as could be expected. It sounds like any more reunions are off the table for the foreseeable future.

As one might infer from the subtitle "Black Magick and Benediction" there is more to the David J story than just music. The "dark arts" figured  prominently in his life, and he goes in to quite a bit of detail as to what happened. Mysterious and spooky things began to happen as soon as he was introduced to this world, and it makes for some uncomfortable reading at times. Was it real? Or did he just use too many drugs?  Even today he believes that some of these things actually happened, so who am I to say.

One thing is certain though. I have never read an autobiography with so much specific information about things like this. Believe me, there is nothing slow about this book, regardless of your knowledge or interest in black magick. There are also some pretty intriguing meetings with people such as William S. Burroughs, Iggy Pop, Nico, Rick Rubin, Genesis P. Orridge and many others. David J has lived a fascinating life, as well as having been involved with some great music.

Who Killed Mister Moonlight? has just been published by the great UK publisher Jawbone Press, and is distributed by Hal Leonard in the US. In many ways it is my sleeper rock book of the year, because the stories David J tells are unlike any I have ever come across before. This is a one-of-a-kind memoir, and one I highly enjoyed.