Forget Coldplay, Weezer, Bright Eyes, and the rest of modern rock's cardigan-wearing charismaphobes. The best reason to have braved the California desert for this year's Coachella festival was to catch Bauhaus. With younger acts exuding all the drama of an accountancy convention, it was left to the original gothic icons to actually put on a show.

The quartet's entrance at the event was worth the price of admission alone. Wreathed in smoke and white light, guitarist Daniel Ash, bassist David J, and drummer Kevin Haskins slowly unfurled the creeping graveyard dub of "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Peroxide-coifed frontman Peter Murphy was then lowered from the rafters headfirst, his feet suspended from a rope and arms crossed over his chest like a vampire. He proceeded to sing the black-hearted classic—all eight minutes of it—while hanging upside down above the stage. There followed a set filled with such undead anthems as "Stigmata Martyr," "The Passion of Lovers," "Silent Hedges," and "She's in Parties." Murphy wielded a bamboo staff, struck crucifixion poses, and, by way of parting, informed the audience: "Now you can say you were there."

To celebrate the band's return to live action in chillier climes, here are 10 facts every self-respecting Bauhaus geek should know:

1. The band formed in 1978 in Northampton, central England, which was also the birthplace of scientist Francis Crick (who codiscovered DNA) and graphic novelist Alan Moore (who cocreated The Watchmen and From Hell). Ash, David J (née David Jay Haskins), and Kevin (David J's younger brother) had been playing as a trio called the Craze. After joining forces with Murphy, they renamed themselves Bauhaus 1919, after the German art movement, though this handle was shortened within six months.

2. A very young R.E.M. supported Bauhaus at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., on February 26, 1981. Nearly a quarter century on, one of these bands still retains all its founding members and feels more relevant than ever.

3. Also in 1981, David J cut a 45 with octogenarian Rene Halkett, who had been a member of the original Staatliches Bauhaus art school in Weimar, Germany, in the 1920s. "Nothing" b/w "Armour" featured a Halkett monologue over music by the bassist, who was credited as David Jay.

4. The following year saw the recorded debut of Tones on Tail, a new-wave side project featuring Ash, roadie Glenn Campling, and, following Bauhaus's eventual demise, Haskins. Moby sampled the Tones on Tail B-side "Go!" for his similarly titled dance-floor smash, while Fun Lovin' Criminals lifted a portion of the album track "Movement of Fear" for their radio hit "Scooby Snacks."

5. The evil British music press was consistently scornful of the nascent goth scene, with Bauhaus bearing the brunt of much of the criticism. By 1982, the band were so sick of their detractors that when they played London's cavernous Lyceum, instead of a support act they actually interviewed Melody Maker hack (later NME editor) Steve Sutherland onstage. No blood was spilled, alas.

6. Bauhaus appeared as themselves in Tony "Top Gun" Scott's polysexual vampire movie, The Hunger, which also starred Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon. Murphy had previously worked with the director on a TV advert for Maxell audiotapes, which featured the singer sitting in an oversized armchair and being blown away by the power of said tapes.

7. Murphy caught pneumonia during the making of the fourth and final Bauhaus LP, Burning from the Inside, restricting his contributions to the record. The band broke up shortly after its release in the summer of 1983.

8. In 1989, Ash, David J, and Haskins reached number three on the Billboard chart with "So Alive," a glamtastic number by their neopsychedelic outfit Love and Rockets.

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9. After forming the short-lived Dali's Car with Japan bassist Mick Karn, Murphy embarked on a successful solo career. In the early '90s he moved to Ankara, Turkey, with his wife Beyhan, who founded the country's National Contemporary Dance Company.

10. The last Bauhaus reunion was back in 1998. They sold out three nights at the Hollywood Palladium in 15 minutes. Not bad for a bunch of aging goths.

editor@thestranger.com