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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Psychedelia goes Punk

Julian Cope, originally uploaded by Theresa K.

Julian Cope leading The Teardrop Explodes at their Whisky debut.

It was one of those "you had to be there" events. Lydia Lunch was there and she spent an inordinate amount of time hanging out with Julian backstage and at the Tropicana.

The Teardrop Explodes and Echo & the Bunnymen came over from England and debuted at the Whisky around the same general time in 1980. Punk had started to embrace the more complex psychedelic stylings the UK was sending over. LA had its own "Paisley Underground" that ventured into the trippy scene, mixing it up with real punk rock and pop and folk. What emerged from LA at the time were the Dream Syndicate whose dual duelling guitars rivaled Television's and groups like The Bangs who had to change their name to the Bangles and had a few hits. And then you had your Three O'Clock and The Last and Rain Parade and before you know it.... its the mid-80s and music is more exploratory.

Then, at that point, when lots of the musicians who saw Julian Cope's LA debut were making music like The Teardrop Explodes, what does Cope do? The Teardrop disbands and Julian Cope goes solo. His live performances are as good as Iggy Pop and on one occasion on a television program (I'm thinking its Letterman - but I could be wrong. Somewhere in my house in LA is a VHS tape of performances from TV ... and this one is on it), Julian Cope absolutely outdoes Iggy - he goes wild and ballistic. He's all over the mic stand, he's jumping and writhing and screaming. He was a fresh punk reborn! And what can you say about a guy who sings "World Shut Your Mouth" -- bravo! Julian Cope just released an amazing post-punk compilation featuring bands you need to hear, like The New Lou Reeds. Worth checking out if you can find it. Come back soon - I'll give you the link (will update it here in this very spot)


motomama said...

Did you know that Cope writes books now on English ruins (like Stonehenge)? I heard about it on my local NPR station one day.

motomama said...

Here's one:

tomlinsonkarl AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk said...

Referring to motomama's comments above, Cope's work documenting and investigating ancient British monoliths is collected on this website:

Also worth a look, if you can find it, is Julian Cope's autobiography, "Head On/Reposessed", which discusses his time with Teardrop Explodes in some detail.

Interesting you should mention Julian's appearence on Lettermen, when he turned all "Iggy". For the Saint Julian tour, he had a mike stand made that had footholds, specifically so he could climb all over it. You'd think theer'd be loads of picture sof it, but the only one I can find at the moment is this one from the back of a single from the mid-80's.

To finish, here's a joke that was told about the band at the time:
Q: What's the difference between a cow and Teardrop Explodes?
A: A cow has the horns at the front and the arsehole at the back.