Ten years after they split up, ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN have made the album of their career. lan McCulloch reveals that stepping back into the spotlight has been a personal resurrection. Words: Rob Fraser
‘I love playing (ilasgow. I couldn’t liye there. 'cause they can‘t take their beyyy so the streets are l'ull ol‘ drunks. and there‘s only so many hire purchase electrical tuckin‘ goods shops you can walk round in the alternoons.’ It was a great loss to the diplomatic seryice when Ian McCulloch took tip rock ’n' roll. but the rest ol' tis can cherish unreseryedly one ol‘ pop music‘s greatest talents. He might have a big mouth. but he needs it to accommodate that \‘(llL‘L‘. not to mention those lips.
Two years and two albums into his band‘s ()(ls incarnation. and McCulloch is clearly a man relishing his second chance to shine. As a solo artist. he continued to talk the talk. but it was only as l‘rontman ol‘ the Btmnymen that he could truly walk the walk. The band‘s l‘)<)7 comeback single remains a defining moment.
‘When I wrote "Nothing Lasts Foreyet'” I thottght — this is it.’ he says. ‘This where I get my job back. This is where I start getting tip in the morning ready to write songs again. instead ol~ waiting l‘or Yates‘s Wine Lodge to open so I could go and get bladdcrcd with all the other no marks. But for it to work it had to be the best single ol‘ the year. and it was. The Verye had "Bittersweet Symphony". bill they needed the Stones to make that - we did it all on our own. It wasn't just “I want it now". it was "I'm luckin' haying it now”.‘
The success ol‘ the single (it reached number sis) was matched by the charisma oycrload experienced at the subsequent liye dates. When the band opened with “Rescue” and then went straight into “I Wanna Be There When You ('ome". any lingering doubts about their end ol~ the century relevance Vanished.
'l‘hroughout the set. new material rubbed conyincing
shoulders with old. signalling that the band were a credible going concern. rather than a bunch of cash—in merchants hawking their back catalogue cabaret style round the nation's Venues. l.iye. .\Ic(‘ulloch remains
58 THE LIST 1’;
'People come up and say that I’m singing "Nothing Lasts Forever" directly to them. Y'know what? They're fucking l‘Ight.’ Ian McCulloch
Resurrection man: Ian McCulloch
something to behold. largely because he knows precisely how important a star is to those in his orbit. ‘When Leonard (Tohen sang “Famous Blue Raincoat". I knew he was singing l‘or me.‘ he says. ‘.\'ow I get people who come up to me and say that “Nothing Lasts Forever” is me singing directly to them — and y"know what'.’ 'l’hey‘rc tucking right.‘
Maintaining the impetus once the noyelty l'actor of staging a comeback wore ol'l~
was always going to be a dil’l‘icult proposition. but the band have pulled it off in typical style. The new album has been hailed in the music press as the Bunnymen‘s best. and it's hard to argue when it l‘eatures the beauteous likes ol‘ the Beatle-esque ‘When It .’\II Blows ()yer' and ‘I-Iistory ('himes' with its echoes ot (‘ohen's ‘llalleltriah'. 'll'hut .‘ll't’ lint (int/It" '1}; [)0 II'i'l/t Your Lilia" is a lantastic title.~ .\Ic(‘ulloch say s ol‘ the new release. the
title track ol‘ which is satisl‘yingly reminiscent ol‘
‘Silxer'. ‘lt‘s the question I‘ve asked mysell‘. the question everyone needs to ask themselves - just what the luck are you going to do'." The answer proyided in the lyrics is a suitably del'iant ‘I'm gonna be me‘.
Echo And The Bunnymen play Barrowland, Glasgow, Wed 28 Apr.
News mongered, tittle tattled
THE CAPITAL BLUES Festival has been cancelled following a double whammy of crises. The late cancellation of Sunday headliners Little Feat (as reported in The List last issue) has led directly to the withdrawal of a major sponsor, causing insurmountable financial obstacles.
Had it gone ahead on Sat 1 & Sun 2 May as planned, the event looked set to be Scotland’s biggest ever blues festival. Ticket holders should contact the outlets where they bought their tickets for refunds.
'We are absolutely devastated that we have had to cancel the festival this late in the day,’ says director and organiser John Bruce. 'I apologise wholeheartedly for the inconvenience and disappointment this will cause the musicians and fans. Our aim has always been to establish the Capital Blues Festival as an annual event in the Edinburgh calendar. We have demonstrated that there is a demand for a Scottish blues festival of this size and quality. We fully intend to be back next year — bigger, better and stronger.’
MARC ALMOND WILL be in conversation with Peter Ross, Music editor of The List at Borders Books in Glasgow on Thu 22 Apr, 7pm. The singer has published a book of poetry, prose and lyrics called Beautiful Twisted Night and is planning an autobiography and a tour as one half of the reformed Soft Cell. The Borders event is free and unticketed.
SUPERGRASS HAVE ANNOUNCED a gig at Glasgow Barrowland on Wed 12 May. Support comes from Ultrasound, whose album Everything Picture was recently awarded the full five stars in the last issue of The List. Tickets are available from the usual outlets, priced £12.50.
REEF ARE LAUNCHING their new album Rides at a series of playbacks around the country. You can hear the album at The Cathouse, Glasgow, Sat 17 Apr, 10.30pm as part of their normal club night. The door price is £4 (£2) and drinks are £1 all night.
Blues trouble: Little Feat