Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Deebank » 19 Feb 2015, 20:21

jimboo wrote:Sometimes , I think that because of the music he has championed over the years he feels like he has to follow the same path. He himself isn't easily or naturally the kind of artist he so admires.


I was just thinking along the same lines. There's an idea that just because you can write perfect pop that is what you should want to do. Cope clearly would rather plough his own unique furrow. He doesn't need the hits to pay the mortgage anymore.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby R. Swipe » 19 Feb 2015, 21:07

Deebank wrote:
jimboo wrote:Sometimes , I think that because of the music he has championed over the years he feels like he has to follow the same path. He himself isn't easily or naturally the kind of artist he so admires.


I was just thinking along the same lines. There's an idea that just because you can write perfect pop that is what you should want to do. Cope clearly would rather plough his own unique furrow. He doesn't need the hits to pay the mortgage anymore.


Are you sure you understand what he wrote?
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Copehead » 19 Feb 2015, 22:11

LMG wrote:I was hooked on JC after seeing the Teardrop Explodes on Top of the Pops in 1981. I must say it has been a particularly rough ride for the past decade-and-a-half.

I think I should have listened a bit more carefully to the endless witless impromptu monologues emerging from live versions of 'Sleeping Gas' in the Teardrop Explodes days, because they showed that beloved Julian not only lacks a quality filter at times, he sometimes cannot even find the 'off' switch.

Entire albums post-1997 leave me cold. What sort of person puts a 16-minute dirge like 'The Armenian Genocide' as third track on an album? And the live spoken word performance of his Modern Antiquarian books was just shouty sloganeering drivel.

That's not to deny that the books themselves are excellent, and that pretty much everything he did up to 1996's Interpreter ranges from listenable to wonderfully joyously essential.

But since then, and that's getting on for 20 years, I find a serious lack of joy or even direction in his releases. Here's part of a review of You Got A Problem With Me from Anthony Jay in 2012 that says it better than I could:

"Julian Cope is capable of writing some of the most melodious, catchy AND meaningful pop music anyone could wish to hear. The mystery behind the man and subsequent albums like 'You Gotta Problem With Me' is therefore why he deliberately chooses not to. Its as if Cope feels that songs with a recognizable tune or pop sensibility lose their lyrical power because the listener is distracted away from his always passionate (and often angry) lyrics by musical hooks. In this, Cope does not do himself justice for those of us who love him are ALWAYS aware that he is a man with plenty to say and thus no matter how he dresses his songs we ARE listening!

And so 'the man who could easily be king' continues to release albums like this. 'You Gotta Problem With Me' is a difficult beast to love. One of Cope's finest in places all too often Julian decides to sabotage his own work by deliberately making songs like 'Beyond Rome' as hard to enjoy as possible. Tuneless, with its production sound rather like that of a demo session taped in a cave and with his vocals almost impossible to pick out of the mush Cope does his best to alienate his listeners to, one can only assume, his personal delight. In fact, most of this album has an 'eclectic' style of production. Most of the songs here revolve around a guitar riff and many sound like 'unfinished demos' rather than completed works. Whether this is down to sheer arrogance on Cope's part or by design only those who know the man can tell but with a more polished and musically friendly approach 'You Gotta' could easily have turned into a classic."


there is definitely an element of pleasing himself in the albums he did when he cam back from his Modern Antiquarian years.

they are far less poppy, far more underground influenced and far less enjoyable.

Every so often the humour and catchiness poke through and you get a gem like,



but much of it is like endless retreads of Skellingon and Ye Skellington Chronicles

But in my view he has earned it

If that is what he wants to do then fair play
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Deebank » 19 Feb 2015, 22:34

so amaze wrote:
Deebank wrote:
jimboo wrote:Sometimes , I think that because of the music he has championed over the years he feels like he has to follow the same path. He himself isn't easily or naturally the kind of artist he so admires.


I was just thinking along the same lines. There's an idea that just because you can write perfect pop that is what you should want to do. Cope clearly would rather plough his own unique furrow. He doesn't need the hits to pay the mortgage anymore.


Are you sure you understand what he wrote?


Yes.

Although on the whole I don't think Cope's recent output is too similar to the kinds of music he champions on Head Heritage.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby R. Swipe » 19 Feb 2015, 22:44

I thought jimboo was putting JC down, whereas you were admiring him.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Deebank » 19 Feb 2015, 22:51

I thought Jimboo was suggesting he's not very good at doing the sort of stuff he wants to do.

I don't think he gives a hoot. I think he sees it as being part of his 'metaphor'. It is him, unlike the hits which were something he was uncomfortable with according to his writings.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby trans-chigley express » 20 Feb 2015, 23:50

I like him a lot up to Interpreter but haven't bothered with anything after and by the sound of it it's probably just as well. Albums like Peggy Suicide, Jehovahkill,20 Mothers and Interpreter have the right balance of eccentricity, quirkiness and poppy accessibility which make them all hugely appealing but if you lose that last element his could easily become tedious.

Never read any of his books and by the sound of it I'm missing out.

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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Corporate whore » 21 Feb 2015, 11:09

Colour me a fan; re; 'is he a cunt', I have seen him indulge in some extremely cuntish behaviour at gigs where it has not been going as he wanted it to (repeatedly hurling abuse and putting down the security guys at Glastonbury, giving endless shit to the sound man when having equipment problems at Beautiful Days) - he lets himself down sometimes.

Mind, he has also delivered some of the finest gigs I've ever seen, so there you go.

I think he has found a way to live life entirely on his own terms, and for that I admire him.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Deebank » 21 Feb 2015, 12:16

Corporate whore wrote:
I think he has found a way to live life entirely on his own terms, and for that I admire him.


Yes, that's it.
And a big part of the deal is making the sorts of noises he wants to - in the face of the audience calling for Reward and Reynard The Fox.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Copehead » 23 Jul 2015, 17:29

Corporate whore wrote:Colour me a fan; re; 'is he a cunt', I have seen him indulge in some extremely cuntish behaviour at gigs where it has not been going as he wanted it to (repeatedly hurling abuse and putting down the security guys at Glastonbury, giving endless shit to the sound man when having equipment problems at Beautiful Days) - he lets himself down sometimes.

.


At latitude his band spent so long setting up ( behind a big black sheet being held up by roadies ) that he's over run after 2 songs and the organisers pulled the plug on him and bum rushed his attempts to carry on acoustically.

It was funny but I'd wanted to watch him perform not set up the stage to be more to his liking.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby RcL » 24 Jul 2015, 04:11

I am hit and miss on Cope - his best moment for me is Christ Versus Warhol. Hey High Class Butcher, Beautiful Love, Interplantery Sit-in, lots of early stuff with TE like The Great Dominions, Tiny Children, Treason, Strange House in the Snow. Not really followed the weirder later stuff. Maybe I have missed out.

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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Charlie O. » 24 Jul 2015, 06:52

jimboo wrote:Sometimes , I think that because of the music he has championed over the years he feels like he has to follow the same path. He himself isn't easily or naturally the kind of artist he so admires.

And yet in at least one sense he is. I remember in the very first JC interview I ever read (in CREEM Magazine, ca. the Teardrops' first American tour), he noted that most of his heroes were artists who were as capable of awfulness as they were of brilliance (he specifically cited Beefheart and Tim Buckley, though he could as easily have named Scott Walker, who he gushed about elsewhere in the interview).

As a result of that interview, if not that particular observation (which I could certainly relate to), Julian Cope became possibly the last musician I decided I liked just from reading about him, before I'd heard a note.

Lucky for him. The first notes I heard were a radio-broadcast live performance from The Bayou in Washington, D.C. on the aforesaid tour and great goddess a-mighty was it ever woeful. Cope's singing was persistently out of tune, as were the trumpets; his "improvisations" (including lyrics on some of the newer songs) were utterly uninspired, flailing; his between-song patter was awkward and desultory. At the end, he glumly thanked the audience for their patience (they were far more enthusiastic than the performance warranted), and slunk off.

Oh, well. I was young and dumb, and I bought the fucking records anyway. Domestic, imports, LPs, 45s, EPs, and all. (Now that I'm old and dumb, I buy it all again, every time they trot out a new package with even more never-before-heard extra shit, most of which will probably never be heard again.)

Kilimanjaro was a fine, fine thing, but Wilder was the one that really flipped me out. I know that that goes contrary to the accepted order of things, but I was there, and that's how it went down. I listened to it at least once a day for MONTHS, poring over that fantastic cover with the gold leaf lettering and inner sleeve with some alternate lyrics and odd asides and a writer's credit for a song called "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" which inexplicably didn't appear on the record itself (which made my subsequent discovery of Odessey & Oracle that little bit even more delightful than it would have been anyway). (When Wilder finally secured an American release - a full YEAR after the British one - it sported a different, inferior cover and a screwed-up track sequence. I wanted to KILL Mercury Records.) (Mind you, the US Kilimanjaro was better than the UK one!)

If I don't love Wilder quite as much now as I did when I was sixteen... well, I still love it, anyway.

After writing all that, I don't have the patience or the will to say much about Cope's post-Teardrops career, except to reiterate that he has been every bit as archly inconsistent as his heroes (I recently reacquainted myself with the Droolian album, only to swear "never again")... and that I could forgive him just about anything and everything for his two volumes of memoirs, and especially for that most magical of albums Fried - a work of holy illumination whose heroically logic-defying mix of extreme emotional fragility and righteous flamboyance make it an inspiration for the ages.

Long may he drool.


Last edited by Charlie O. on 24 Jul 2015, 15:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby R. Swipe » 24 Jul 2015, 09:21

Great post, Charlie!
Bride Of Sea Of Tunes wrote:
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Your essay needs to be in before 5.00 tomorrow Dougie.


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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby R. Swipe » 11 Aug 2017, 22:19

Yes
Bride Of Sea Of Tunes wrote:
The Modernist wrote:
Your essay needs to be in before 5.00 tomorrow Dougie.


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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Ranking Ted » 11 Aug 2017, 22:36

Great writing above but backs up (as do a a lot of the posts) that going "further out", which was his trajectory right from the start in retrospect, rather than yielding greater returns just led to a lack of focus and a loss of impact. There is, however, greatness and, yes, perfection in that decade or so between Kilimanjaro and Jehovahkill (my bailout point), no doubt.

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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Darkness_Fish » 12 Aug 2017, 20:26

I can't think of anything I love that he did other than "Reward", but he's the kind of artist I'm glad exists. Done enough in the pop realm to be at least vaguely familiar to the man on the street, and done enough in the experimental/oddball vein that the man in the street is a bit wary of him. I have both Teardrop Explodes albums, it's rare that I dig 'em out, but they're always enjoyable enough, if a bit light for my tastes to be truly memorable. I saw him live once about 15 years ago, a solo acoustic performance in Manchester Student Union that was thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. I think that was even before they started calling it the Academy 2. Most memorable bit for me was him shouting at my brother's tremendously irritating girlfriend, telling her to shut the fuck up. If only more people had done that through her life.
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130- Julian Cope

Postby Deebank » 13 Aug 2017, 18:19

Did anyone check out any of the stuff he did for this year's SydArthur festival?

I was supposed be playing drums (in a hedge - as well as going full Mo Tucker in a Floyd Syd / Love covers extravaganza) at last year's fest - then JC decided it wasn't a musical event. Boo!
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