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The Next Stage

Jimy Murphy, the Kamikazi Kid, gets his act together.


But Murphy was too young, "too driven by testosterone and ego," to remember that lesson for long. The Klones were still climbing, opening for U2 at the Rainbow in 1981 and soon headlining themselves.

Then in 1982, they were invited to open for the Kinks in Albuquerque. Playing before their heroes, the Klones displayed incredible energy and a bit of theatrical luck. During one song, Murphy executed one of his giant, spinning leaps just as Hopkins turned...and Murphy's foot snapped the neck right off his friend's guitar. It was an accident, and Hopkins stood glaring at Murphy, but the crowd went wild. Things got even wilder when the Klones launched into "Give Texas Back to the Mexicans."

We're with the band (from left): Kamikazi Klones Mike Lenz, Mark Hopkins, Jimy Murphy, Mark Hagen and A.J. Coon backstage at the Rainbow Music Hall before opening for the Motels; Murphy's grandfather's band (right).Enter, stage left: Jimy Murphy, performing with the Evergreen Players (top); a scene from Murphy's Heaven?s a Nude Beach, now playing in Evergreen (above); and Klones Mark Hagen and A.J. Coon taking off.Send in the klones: Jimy Murphy, still crazy after all these years.
John Johnston
We're with the band (from left): Kamikazi Klones Mike Lenz, Mark Hopkins, Jimy Murphy, Mark Hagen and A.J. Coon backstage at the Rainbow Music Hall before opening for the Motels; Murphy's grandfather's band (right).Enter, stage left: Jimy Murphy, performing with the Evergreen Players (top); a scene from Murphy's Heaven?s a Nude Beach, now playing in Evergreen (above); and Klones Mark Hagen and A.J. Coon taking off.Send in the klones: Jimy Murphy, still crazy after all these years.
We're with the band (from left): Kamikazi Klones Mike Lenz, Mark Hopkins, Jimy Murphy, Mark Hagen and A.J. Coon backstage at the Rainbow Music Hall before opening for the Motels.
We're with the band (from left): Kamikazi Klones Mike Lenz, Mark Hopkins, Jimy Murphy, Mark Hagen and A.J. Coon backstage at the Rainbow Music Hall before opening for the Motels.

Unfortunately, it wasn't one of the Kinks' better shows. Ray Davies, who was in the process of breaking up with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, had been drinking and was hammered by showtime; the British band played a sloppy set and cut the show short. Although the Klones got good reviews, the Kinks' reviews were lousy, and soon members of the Klones began hearing that other national acts were reluctant to let them open for them.

But they did have a gig at the Telluride Rock Festival, where they again stole the show -- and Murphy lost his heart to Delinda Parker, who was in the audience. "She thought she saw a guy who wouldn't get serious and would be great in bed," Murphy remembers. "She was wrong on both counts."

Murphy soon realized he'd found the woman he wanted to marry. Parker was honest enough to tell her new boyfriend that it was time for him to take a long look at where he was going: Her love came with both a price and a reward. "She said I could live with her or live the rock-and-roll lifestyle and all that entailed, but not both," he says. "Fortunately, love was stronger, and I became a one-woman guy. A good thing, too, because the rock-and-roll lifestyle was killing me."

Although Murphy calmed down, the band played on. In 1983 the Klones were voted Best Rock Group and Worst Rock Group in a Denver Post music poll. They were still convinced that the bigtime was just around the corner, and in the meantime, they recorded an album on their own with the financial backing of an Evergreen benefactress. "Who we still, I'm ashamed to say, owe a lot of money to," Murphy says.

But no record deal emerged. "Nobody was getting signed out of Colorado in those days," he remembers, "and we began to get disillusioned."

They toured the West Coast in a van, hoping to get noticed by record-company executives. "We'd attract a lot of attention from reps," Murphy remembers. "They'd be, `Oh yeah, you guys are great. We'll have to work something out.' But then the money would run out, and we'd come back to Colorado -- where we'd be forgotten again."

Frustrated, the bandmembers began arguing. Some thought they should make a music video to send to the record companies. Others thought they should spend time in the studio. And still others thought they should continue to tour, as only live performances captured the true essence of the Klones.

By the winter of 1983, Murphy knew it was over. He and Delinda got married and moved to Los Angeles in 1984; he thought he might hook up with a new band and get some film work. For a time, he hoped the rest of the Klones might come to California, too. "But no one else wanted to leave Colorado," he says, "so we went on our own."

A friend from Loretto Heights was working in the music-video industry, and set the Murphys up with jobs "on the bottom of the totem pole" -- in this case, helping on a video for the up-and-coming Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The Chili Peppers had become fans of the Klones when the band toured California, they told Murphy. In fact, Murphy soon discovered that a number of famous musicians were aware of the Klones. When he and Delinda were working on a music video with David Bowie, the British artist accused Jimy of stealing the "Panic in Detroit" music for "Vampire." "Which I did," Murphy says proudly. "Bowie saying that made my life."

Many of these musicians said they were surprised the Klones had never been signed. "It haunts me to this day," Murphy says. "Maybe if I'd hung around another six months, it would have happened...I think it would have. But I made choices, and I don't regret those choices, because they took me in new directions."

One of those directions was fatherhood. While the Murphys were working on a video for Weird Al Yankovic, Delinda became pregnant, and everybody wanted to know what they were going to name the baby. But not only did the Murphys not want to name the baby in advance, they didn't want to know its gender, either.

"We'd arrive on the set, and everybody would ask, 'So, how's the mystery Murphy?' And after a while, we started to like that," he says. So when their baby daughter was born in 1985, the Murphys named her Mystery.

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