Monday, July 20, 2015


Echo & the Bunnymen took a chance and kept things dark with the sound of something burning in this moody blue rescue.   The band was formed in Liverpool by Ian McCulloch after he left A Shallow Madness (which eventually became The Teardrop Explodes) over increasing creative tensions with Julian Cope.   The new group started out as a trio with McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant, and bass player Les Pattinson with a drum machine.  McCulloch recalls:    “We had a gig coming up but I don’t think we had a solid name at the time, and a friend of ours kept coming up with the funniest ones. We thought Echo & The Bunnymen was just as stupid as the others, but it was the most memorable, I thought, and it was great for the time. I said yeah, that’s the one. And still, after all these years, people know it.”

Sergeant says:  “We had this mate [Smelly Elly] who kept suggesting all these names like The Daz Men or Glisserol and the Fan Extractors. Echo and the Bunnymen was one of them. I thought it was just as stupid as the rest ... We have been called all kinds of things "New Psychedelia", "Post Modern", "Post Punk", "Bleak Northern". You don’t really take much notice when you are in the eye of the storm. I just combine sounds into a form I like and let others worry about what to call it...It is a bit on the strange side, but we had a lot of cool things going on back then. The punk attitude kept us away from churning out crap or doing anything too naff, so we were wise to the whole big-label London attitude early on, and could see that people would step on your face to reach the next rung on the career ladder with no regrets. To most of these people it never was about being into music, it was knowing what would sell to drippy kids (no change there then). I am not prepared to play that game, maybe we would be a lot richer now if we had. "Hey Bill, pass the firelighters!"

Their debut single "The Pictures on My Wall" came out on Bill Drummond & David Balfe's Zoo Records with McCulloch/Cope collaboration "Read It in Books" as the b-side.    Their debut album was recorded at Eden Studios in London and at Rockfield Studios near Monmouth.  'Crocodiles' was produced by Bill Drummond and David Balfe, while Ian Broudie had already produced their second single "Rescue" (with "Pride").   The sessions featured   Ian McCulloch on vocals and guitar;   Will Sergeant on lead guitar;   Les Pattinson on bass;   and new member  Pete de Freitas on drums.    The album went to number thirty-six in New Zealand and seventeen in the UK.  

McCulloch muses:   "Speaking on behalf of Will, Les, Pete & myself I’d say [three albums that have influenced us are] The Velvet Underground & NicoThe Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust, and The Doors ... [The darkness in our songs] probably came from my childhood. It wasn’t a terribly dark childhood but it was one where I had to live with a dad who was a compulsive gambler. And I never would say that to be negative towards him; he’s still me hero. But he had certain problems, and when you’re compulsive – whether it’s gambling or drink or drugs or whatever – it kind of becomes the fabric of your life. Even small life becomes big when there’s a web of problems. So I think that affected me. There was a sadness there that, even though I didn’t really know it when I was 19, I was already trying to deal with it through my song-writing ... I think it gets easier to resist writing for writing’s sake and therefore feels completely natural and unforced. From day one we wrote completely instinctively and never formulaically, approaching each new song as an artistic step forward. Obviously we knew we had, which Crocodiles, our debut album, created our own overall sound and style, but we’ve always tried to stretch the parameters of our song writing. So, yes by not forcing them the songs seem to come to you spontaneously."


Echo and The Bunnymen - Rescue by epb21


"Villiers Terrace"

full album:

All tracks written by Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson and Pete de Freitas except where noted.

Side one
"Going Up" – 3:57
"Stars Are Stars" – 2:45
"Pride" – 2:41
"Monkeys" – 2:49
"Crocodiles" – 2:38
Side two
"Rescue" – 4:26
"Villiers Terrace" – 2:44
"Pictures on My Wall" (Sergeant, McCulloch, Pattinson) – 2:52
"All That Jazz" – 2:43
"Happy Death Men" – 4:56

"Do It Clean" – 2:44
"Read It in Books" (McCulloch, Cope) – 2:31
"Simple Stuff" – 2:38

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