Torched Magazine recently had the opportunity to speak with British musician Mark Gemini Thwaite (MGT) about a few of the highlights and challenges surrounding Peter Murphy’s long awaited residency at The Chapel in SF along with a few details on the newly announced residency in NYC, starting this August. He also touches on his favorite albums played live, hobbies outside of music and details on his contributions to Peter Murphy’s solo albums Ninth and The Secret Bees Of Ninth EP, spotlighting tracks ‘Rose Hunter’ and ‘Uneven & Brittle’.
MGT has been the guitarist for many industry luminaries with an extensive and impressive list of bands that he’s been involved with along with various live and recorded appearances. His talents have literally rocked through many different genres for the past three decades with precision and ease, embracing industrial rock, alternative rock, alternative metal, gothic rock, and hard rock, just to name a few.
Just to recap, MGT has recorded and toured with Peter Murphy & David J , The Mission, Tricky, Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate, Mob Research (with Paul Raven of Killing Joke), Canadian band National Velvet, Big Paul Ferguson (Killing Joke), Gary Numan, Ricky Warwick (Thin Lizzy), and most recently with UK indie darlings The Wonder Stuff.. And if that wasn’t enough to catch your attention, he’s also had various live and recorded appearances with Al Jourgensen (Ministry), Revolting Cocks, Roger Daltrey (The Who), P.J. Harvey, Alanis Morissette, Laurence “Lol” Tolhurst and Porl Thompson (The Cure), Ville Valo (Finnish band HIM), Primitive Race (with Chuck Mosley of Faith No More), Stan Lee (Marvel Comics), Franz Treichler (The Young Gods), Ginger (The Wildhearts), Ashton Nyte (The Awakening), Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory), Raymond Watts & PIG, Warrior Soul, Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks) and Michael Ciravolo (Beauty In Chaos) and more.
Photo by Marinella Len
Part 1 of this exclusive interview with MGT can be viewed HERE where he touched on highlights from his extensive and illustrious career, past and present. He gave us his insight into touring with Peter Murphy’s Bauhaus Ruby Tour ft. David J and drummer Marc Slutsky, working with industry luminaries along with inspiring moments and memories, his favorite go-to guitars and why, and touring with The Wonder Stuff!
You recently just finished up a month long career spanning residency with Peter Murphy in San Francisco for which each show was dedicated to a different album (not including Mr. Moonlight or the Bowie tribute). What was your favorite album to play live and why?
MGT: All of Peter’s albums have some great songs and some were certainly more of a challenge to perform live, such as ‘Should the World Fail to Fall Apart’ – Peters first solo album – which has some pretty unique arrangements and quirky drum programming which made it a challenge to perform live.. same with ‘Dust’… I enjoyed playing them all, but some came with degrees of stress and lack of rehearsal.. I suppose my faves to perform live were ‘Deep’ and ‘Ninth’ – with ‘Deep’ I had performed it in full before a couple of times before, back in 2011.. plus its arguably Peter’s most successful album and a strong set of songs, it was a blast to perform this album live on several of the dates.. and I gave ‘Ninth’ a mention as it was the first Peter Murphy album I recorded on and co-wrote some of with Peter back in 2008-2009, so felt more at ease playing that material…
Photo by Terry Way Photography
What were some of the highlights and or challenges from the residency?
MGT: As mentioned before, I was drafted in at the 11th hour to take on the Ruby tour due to previous guitarist John needing an emergency operation, that was back in October 2018.. it was assumed that John would be fit enough to perform at the SF Residency in March, but although John had completed 2-3 weeks worth of Residency album rehearsals with drummer Marc and bassist Emilio Zef China a year or so before – when the residency had originally been abruptly rescheduled – John informed the band maybe 4 weeks before the residency was to commence this year that he wouldn’t be doing it, so I was asked if I’d step in and save the day…
So I was ultimately dropped in the deep end to learn nine albums worth of material (plus the Bowie tribute material) over a 4-5 week period whilst still on tour. This was certainly a challenge – I think it was over 120 songs to learn (or relearn) – maybe more – and didn’t think I would get through it to be honest. But slowly started learning songs from each album in turn, and as I’d performed live on and off with Peter over a 14 year period – since 2005 – I’d performed at least some songs from each album over the duration, and in some cases all of the album songs (in the case of Deep and Ninth). The Mr Moonlight set was based on the 2013 tour we did with the band so I knew that set as well, although in the end it was changed up a bit. We got through it!
Highlights of the residency include several sold out nights, especially the night where we performed ‘Deep’ in full and ‘Love Hysteria’ in full on the same night, that was a blast and I could see the audience loving it… and the Bowie tribute nights were really special, it was a relatively last minute suggestion by Marc and myself after we were jamming some Bowie songs in soundcheck on the Ruby tour, Peter was into the idea of a Bowie set and those shows were added maybe a month before the residency started.. despite being a huge Bowie/Ronson fan, I’d never performed any of those classic Bowie songs live, except for the Bau version of Ziggy of course, and we’d jammed an impromptu version of ‘Jean Genie’ once many years ago on one of Peters gigs, unrehearsed, but it never happened again.. we’d love to play that Bowie set with Peter in more cities..
Do you have any hobbies or collections outside of music that you would like to share?
MGT: Like most musicians, I have an unhealthy interest in guitars and musical instruments, so my main hobby is probably looking for and acquiring musical gear, mostly guitars, preferably vintage.. I also like cycling and try to ride as much as possible when I’m home, but that’s mainly for exercise… I also have a massive fridge magnet collection from around the world!
You wrote the music to ‘Uneven & Brittle’ off Peter Murphy’s solo album Ninth and ‘Rose Hunter’ off The Secret Bees of Ninth EP. What was your inspiration behind these two tracks? What were some of your other contributions to these two releases that you’d like to share?
MGT: Peter was putting together tracks for a new album back in 2008, which was later to form the ‘Ninth’ album, and I had some demos I’ve been working on in my home studio – so I sent him various demos which included the music that would form ‘Uneven & Brittle’ and music which became ‘Rose Hunter’ which ended up not being used on the Ninth album release. but later featured on the ‘secret Bees of Ninth’ bonus album.
I played guitars on most of the ‘ninth’ album tracks and on ‘The Secret Bees of Ninth’ alongside guitarist John Andrews, who toured with us as second guitarist in Europe the following year.. we both recorded together on numerous live sessions with Producer David Baron, who had written a lot of the music for the album with Peter coming up with the melodies and lyrics. Many of the song performances were captured as a live band, all playing together, and as several of the songs have twin guitar parts it made sense for myself and John to play together on these songs..
My inspiration for ‘Uneven’ was actually a Tricky B-side -I forget the name of it – but he had sampled an 80s electronic band, maybe Ultravox or Kraftwerk.. I came up with an original arpeggio style guitar motif to the sample – which had no guitar on it originally – which I then re-created in my home studio, adding bass guitar and drums and came up with the new chorus chord section and vibe, fleshed it out into a new arrangement with intro, verse/chorus etc and I submitted this to Peter, who loved it. Producer David Baron focused on my bass part, adding distortion and making it more Nine Inch Nails in approach, and Peter added fantastic lyrics and melodies.
Peter also added some fantastic vocals to ‘Rose Hunter’ which was a more acoustic based demo I had written and demoed, with guitar bass and drums.. sort of inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden and Jane’s addiction, it has more of a grungy vibe.. It never made it onto the ninth album, but I was pleased to see when it was included on ‘The Secret Bees’.
Peter Murphy just announced another residency that will be happening in NYC this August. Will there be any additions or changes to the set that you’re aware of?
MGT: Yes, I can confirm that on the New York residency in August we are adding Peter’s latest album ‘Lion’ with its own performance in full, which was omitted from the previous SF residency… so we’ll be performing 9 of Peter’s albums in full, plus a 100% Bauhaus night and a reprise of the 100% Bowie tribute night… I’ve played some of the ‘Lion’ material before, most notably at the Ink‘n Iron festival in Long Beach in 2015 where we performed with Peter in the headline slot.. but we haven’t played the whole record before so that should be fun. It’s a great album with fantastic performances and mixing by Youth, who went on to remix my ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ ABBA cover a couple of years later.. We’re looking forward to it!
After a triumphant sold out residency in San Francisco this past March, consummate showman and legendary musician PETER MURPHY has announced a very special and intimate residency this August at New York City’s (LE) POISSON ROUGE (158 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012). Mirroring his West Coast shows, these performances will kick off on August 2nd, running through his solo albums in their entirety beginning with 1986’s Should The World Fail to Fall Apart and ending with a greatest hits show of solo material and tributes to Bauhaus and David Bowie. The live lineup includes Mark Gemini Thwaite (Guitar), Marc Slutsky (Drums), and Emilio Zef China (Bass/Violin). Tickets go on sale Wednesday, June 19th at 10am ET and can be purchased at that time at http://petermurphy.lpr.com.
Peter Murphy NYC Residency Dates:
Aug 2: Should The World Fail To Fall Apart
Aug 3: Love Hysteria
Aug 5: Deep
Aug 8: Holy Smoke
Aug 9: Cascade
Aug 10: Dust
Aug 12: Ninth
Aug 13: Lion
Aug 15: Greatest Hits
Aug 16: Bauhaus’ Mr Moonlight
Aug 18: Tribute to David Bowie
(Feature photo by Marinella Len)
Keep up with Mark Gemini Thwaite/MGT