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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Psychedelic Punk from the UK

As the 70s turned into the 80s, a dark, psychedelic movement from the UK was beginning to take a foothold in the USA. Leading the charge were The Teardrop Explodes and Echo & the Bunnymen. Sure, there were others, but Teardrop and Echo were my faves.

This is Julian Cope caught in performance at the Whisky A Go Go. A few years later, Julian had left Teardrop and was making solo records and tours. He was comparable in a favorable way to Iggy, especially in the way he shouted and moved and worked that mic stand. And just how punk rock is it to write a song called "World Shut Your Mouth"? None more punk.

When I spent time with Julian in his solo days, I showed him this photo from Teardrop's Whisky gig. He had vivid memories of wearing that leather jacket on a long drive through the California desert when it was above 90 degrees, "feeling like Peter Fonda in Easy Rider" he said, "tripping on acid." Yeah. "You were wearing pink. That was weird." I guess so, as most people wore shades of black and faded black. The pink thing is a whole other story.

Julian keeps on doing cool things and its worth spending some time checking out everything he's up to - he's an expert on old British ruins, Krautrock and who knows what else. In 2004/05, he put out a really cool compilation record the name of which I unfortunately cannot remember. But he put The New Lou Reeds on it and I thought that proved he scoured the United States far and wide for talent. Great as they are, The NLR's are not yet a household name. Here's a pic of that Cleveland band when they were hanging out in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

New Lou Reeds in WIlliamsburg

In his solo band, Julian Cope had the greatest drummer. That would be my old and somewhat long lost friend, Chris Whitten, who was the instigator of the Spinal Tap game on the Cope tour (you had to be there to appreciate it.) Before playing with Cope, Chris played drums in the Waterboys during the period that I was their Island Records minder. We did a tour of the States together, supporting U2. After leaving Cope's band, Chris joined Paul McCartney's band, beating out E Street Band drummer, Max Weinberg for the Ringo position. Yeah - that's my boy! Chris left McCartney to become one of two drummers for Dire Straits. Decidedly non punk. But Chris IS a great drummer. I suppose I could tell you about the real punk rock stuff he did while "acting" as the drummer in a Don Henley music video, "All She Wants to Do Is Dance - something I am also partially responsible for...anyway... today is Chris's birthday and I hope he is enjoying it, where ever he may be.


Anonymous said...

I love how you can remember a friend everyday and at the same time recommend great music and other things.
A salute from Argentina,


Scott said...

Julian Cope is one of those who none of my friends ever seem to "get" but who releases records that always become my favorites. A strange genius.