Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Shut Up and Dance


Calmer, maybe, but hardly calm. Murphy hasn’t lost his irrepressible impulse to convert all those around him to whatever his current passion is. “I can be staggeringly evangelical,” he admits. “That’s just my personality. Like jujitsu; I wanted to do jujitsu, so I started a fucking school!”

On certain days and nights, the West Village building where he once threw his parties and where DFA still has its studio and office changes form, with blue padding laid out from wall to wall. Murphy wanted to do jujitsu, so he bought Olympic-grade mats and got Adidas to sponsor him with uniforms—$300 robes with wraparound belts. He gathered friends and started a secret “DFA Fight Club,” which includes as many as sixteen members and supporters of New York’s disco-rock scene.

One night while shaping up for a short European tour, Murphy changed into his jujitsu suit (called a gi) and, under the direction of his Brazilian trainer, started rolling around on the same floor where he had danced and drugged and otherwise did what he could to revitalize New York. His eyes opened wide as he practiced a move called the Flying Guillotine, which involves locking an opponent by the neck and letting his own weight get the better of him. The trainer jumped into the fray and barked a command: “Remember,” he said, “work with what you have.”


Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift