People often find relief to their remorse by admitting their regrets to an audience. To speak about their actions in the worst possible terms so that everyone else feels as bad about it as they do. Call it self-punishment, outsourced—in which a person convinces others to criticize him or her because self-criticism doesn’t pack the same punch. Maybe this is cathartic only for the rich and famous.
Perhaps James Murphy, leader of LCD Soundsystem, felt like the bad guy, or wanted people to think of him as such, when he implied in a New York Times profile that the announcement of his band’s final show was actually an effort to ensure a sold out show at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Murphy’s Law, a popular adage that has nothing to do with James Murphy, says, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” A few of the promoters on the business end of the concert made suggestions to the band that implied no confidence in the band’s ability to sell out MSG. The first suggestion, bringing on Big Boi as the opener, was particularly insulting.
“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,” Murphy stated in an interview with Vulture. He understood why, however, they had made the suggestion. “Behind that idea was the promoters’ belief that we just weren’t going to sell any tickets unless there [was] some extra element.”
Murphy didn’t go for bringing on a headliner as an opener. Murphy’s “extra element” would be to announce the end of LCD Soundsystem, and it worked: the show sold out in hours. Maybe he felt like he didn’t have a choice, “we had booked this Madison Square Garden show and then realized the show’s promoters had no faith in us.” However, Murphy did not carefully calculate his decision. After hearing about the promoters’ lack of faith, Murphy “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.” A few days later, he told the New York Times everything, in a show of transparency and remorse.
In a true show of remorse, Murphy told reports that he’ll never announce a break up in such a public way, every again. It was truly an act of brashness.
“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.”