Monday, August 01, 2011

Bill Drummond - The Man

 Bill Drummond - The Man

I've been listening to The Man. After running Zoo Records and managing Echo & the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes Bill Drummond was hired as an A&R man for WEA Records, a position he resigned when he was 33 and a 1/3 years old. His next move was to record The Man. The album, best described as a country/folk record, was released in 1986 on Creation Records in the UK and Bar None Records in the US (mine's a Bar None copy).  The musicians on The Man were The Triffids (sans leadsinger, David McComb).

The Man features a brilliant version of Goffin and King's Going Back but is probably most notable for the track Julian Cope is Dead in which Drummond fantasises about shooting Cope to ensure that The Teardrop Explodes' frontman will gain mythical status and the band will end up selling platinum records instead of gold. The song is often described as a riposte to Cope's own Bill Drummond Said from 1984's Fried.

Now, Julian Cope is dead,
I shot him in the head,
He didn't understand,
The glory of the plan,
Now, Julian Cope is dead.

We'll have platinum records not gold,
To hang on our walls at home.
When the neighbours come round,
I'll always break down,
Repeating the stories of old.

The whole notion of rock stars gaining mythical status after death is a topic Drummond has often ruminated  upon. When Domino Records reissued The Triffids back catalogue Drummond was asked to pen a few words, he explained: "the reason why I have been asked, is not because I have written glowingly about The Triffids in the past, but because I worked with them, using them as a backing band on an album that I made in 1986, called The Man. This record sold less than any record that the Triffids ever made, but when I then went on to sell a few million records around the globe, in another guise and musical universe, this seemed to give my opinions on things some sort of standing."

"Now, I was never a big fan of The Triffids, never had more than a couple of their records; only saw them play live the once and that was because I was doing a number with them. But, and this is a major BUT, in David McComb they had everything you could ever want from a dead rock star. And we need dead rock stars more than we need living ones. Some dead rock stars are crap at it, the bloke out of INXS and Freddie Mercury are shit at it, but David McComb is perfection... The reason why David McComb, is such a perfect dead rock star, is that he failed in his life time, but left a pristine body of work behind that was all about loss and longing, about failed relationships and love gone wrong." 

The Man is a great record, a pure one off, afterwards Drummond would hook up with Jimmy Cauty and form the JAMMs and the KLF, the rest as they say is history. 

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