KID SHIRT

Thursday, July 26, 2007

JULIAN COPE

The Arch-Drude obligingly poses for the Kid Shirt blog; pic courtesy of a £1.79 Tesco Value Analogue Camera:




Pic taken in Exeter during a mission back in May with Dom Zero. Pics have only just come back from the dry-cleaners. Dom and I went with v. little preconception of what this would be like, but ended up majorly enjoying ourselves - we were both big fans of Teardrop Explodes/JC back in the day...first time I think we met Julian was, erm, '78 at a Bunnymen gig in Bristol at the, uh, Old Market thingy Church (memory failing me here). I think the Teardrops maybe only had their first single out, but we got chatting about music and stuff, and JC was a top bloke who amazingly seemed to have the same record collection as me...back in those pre-Internet days, meeting anyone who actually knew who Faust, Residents, Pere Ubu, etc were was a major event. Over the years, Dom and I kept bumping into Julian; once in Reading walking dn the street, I seem to remember...we used to follow his post-TE career w/ much interest, but I think I pretty much (apart form the odd track here and there) parted ways with him on the Peggy Suicide Tour - Rock music lost a lot of its allure for me in the late-80s Acid House era. After about '88 or so, the last couple of conventional rawk groups I saw (apart from the odd mates' band) until some years later were Cope and The Pixies...

For the last few years I've noted that a lot of the bands that JC's been supporting on his Head Heritage site have been one's that I also really like, from Sunn O))) to Comets on Fire to Mainliner, etc, etc. Montrose? Deep Purple? Danish Prog? - yeah, bring it awwwwn!
(He was also recently spotted in full regalia hanging at the Supersonic 07 Festival...)

So it was only a matter of time before I re-engaged w/ Cope and his music. At Exeter, he played for over two hours - nearly 2 and a half - and I don't recall being bored once. This was more like "An Audience With..." - a sort of one-man show ("I did the full band rock-out thing last year...") with the Drood on playful form telling some fucking great anecdotes and making assorted observations about Love, Life, Music, The Universe, etc, and puncuating them with his own music. Mostly, he used a semi-accoustic played thru a stack of Orange amps ("These are here purely for the threat of bombast," he observed, before cranking it up for one solitary power-chord that blew off the audiences' collective toupe)...Frankly, I'd forgotten what a great back-catalogue he has...I loved the version of "Sunspots" where he "took the song down" (and down) to the point where it became inaudible, then subliminal, then he played air-guitar along to what he described as "an Aetheric riff" that each audience member could hear in their own heads while he verbally riffed a 5-minute anecdote about the Japanese mis-translation of the song lyric, before bringing the physically audible version of the song back in and finishing it with the mis-quoted Japanglais lyric. Genius.

A fabulously lush version of "The Great Dominions" was played on a mellotron - I've always felt the recorded version (on "Wilder") never matched the Teardrops' own live interpretations: the outro "Mummy, I've been fighting again..." still gives me goose-bumps after all these years..."You Disappear From View," - gawd, haven't heard that fer years! - also on mellotron...and the hugely under-rated "Screaming Secrets"...and banging versions of "Books" and "The Greatness and Perfection of Love"...and "Robert Mitchum" interspersed with anecdates about road protests and rants against capitalism...and a recounting of taking drugs in his attic in the early 80s with Ministry's Al Jourgensen while their wives summoned up a demon downstairs called O King of Chaos, who became an inspiration for the song of the same name...(which he still can't play on keyboards any better than he could in '84! LOL)...then a final crank-it-up fuzzed-up rock-out version of "Upwards at 45 Degrees"...

Great stuff.

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