James Murphy on Dismantling LCD Soundsystem: 'We're Not the Rolling Stones'
The musician talks to THR about pulling the plug on his popular band and documenting their final concert in "Shut Up and Play the Hits."
More than a year after he pulled the plug on LCD Soundsystem, the popular dance-punk band he fronted for a decade, James Murphy remains satisfied with his decision.
"I don't know if it's a good decision," Murphy tells The Hollywood Reporter. "And, at times, I wish I wasn't retired. It's a rare thing when a band stops playing together when everybody really still loves each other and everything's fine. So it wasn't like, 'Oh, we have creative differences and we want to move on.' So I regret it in the sense that I like them, and we like each other and we want to make more music, but I don't regret it because ... it wasn't sustainable. For anybody."
Two months after surprising fans with an official breakup announcement, Murphy and his bandmates played their final sold-out concert on April 2, 2011 at New York City's Madison Square Garden. The events of that night are captured in a new documentary, Shut Up and Play the Hits, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival and in New York at a Peggy Siegal Company screening on Tuesday night.
The film, directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, shows the fortysomething Murphy mourning LCD's end -- crying onstage and in private -- but also feeling the urge to move on from the rock star lifestyle.
"It was living a life that nobody would live forever," he says. "We're not the Rolling Stones. We didn't start when we were teenagers. We started when we were older. People had kids."
Asked whether Mick Jagger should stop singing, Murphy responds: "No! I think that that's a perfect fit for them. They grew up as that, and I think that's different. Whereas I was 35 when our first album came out."
Murphy, a coffee fanatic who plans to open a hipster general store of sorts in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, gained new appreciation for LCD after seeing Shut Up and Play the Hits, which opens nationwide for one night only on July 18.
"The main thing I learned from doing the movie was how good the band was," he observes. "Not me but, like, the other people in the band. I spend most of my time being hyper-critical. Like, most of my brain energy goes to, 'Oh, this needs to be better,' 'this needs to be better,' so I'm constantly looking at flaws."