James Murphy Implies He Ended LCD Soundsystem On A Lark To Drive MSG Ticket Sales
LCD Soundsystem’s final show at Madison Square Garden — or, in any case, the band’s final show for about five years — entered into the annals of New York rock legend almost as soon as it was announced. And James Murphy has talked before about how nobody expected his band to sell out the historic New York venue. In Lizzy Goodman’s book Meet Me In The Bathroom, he mentions how some business types suggested adding Big Boi to the bill to make sure it sold. And now Murphy has gone on the record saying that, at least in part, his decision to temporarily end the band was an attempt to sell out MSG.
In a new New York Times profile, Murphy talks about all his reasons for temporarily ending LCD Soundsystem: He didn’t want to start sucking, and he didn’t like the idea of following a normal career progression. But a Madison Square Garden show, which had been booked far in advance, was also a part of the reasoning; the venue “didn’t think we were going to sell well,” Murphy explains.
“My theory was, if I make it our last show, we’ll sell it out in two weeks,” he said. The show sold out in minutes. “It wasn’t a total lark, but it was a bit larky,” Mr. Murphy admitted. “But I like making decisions. I find it easy.”
In a new Vulture interview, Murphy tells a similar story:
We had booked this Madison Square Garden show and then realized the show’s promoters had no faith in us. They were trying to come up with big-name openers for us because they didn’t think we could sell out the place by ourselves. One of the openers they suggested was Big Boi from OutKast. Why on earth would Big Boi open for us? Big Boi was in one of the biggest, most important hip-hop — no, one of the biggest and most important acts of all time. It didn’t make any sense. But behind that idea was the promoters’ belief that we just weren’t going to sell any tickets unless there [was] some extra element. So I got mad on the phone with them about it. I was like, “Well, how about it’s our last fucking show?” And I hung up the phone. Then I was like, I guess that’ll be our last show then.
When interviewer David Marchese tells Murphy that his story makes the decision sound cynical, Murphy responds, “Maybe it is. I mean, I don’t know. I was just mad.”
He also says that he’ll never announce a breakup of the band again: “For the rest of my life, now matter what happens in this band, we’ll never ‘break up’ again. One day we’ll just stop making music, but no one is going to say a fucking word about it ahead of time.”
UPDATE: LCD’s Al Doyle has taken to Twitter to interpret Murphy’s remarks, writing that the band didn’t break up “to grub ticket money.” Read his full comments here.