Following last week's post on Bill Drummond's The Man I've pulled out this wonderful compilation album from 1982. Bill Drummond was the bass player in Big In Japan and he formed Zoo Records with David Balfe (who played keyboards with The Teardrop Explodes) in 1978 to release Big In Japan's single From Y to Z and Never Again. Zoo Records would go on the release singles by The Teardrop Explodes, Echo & the Bunnymen and others.
The label released two albums. Fire Escape in the Sky: The Godlike Genius of Scott Walker (Zoo Two, 1981) was an album compiled by Julian Cope and this compilation, To the Shores of Lake Placid (Zoo Four, 1982), a label compilation. Zoo One and Three were never issued. I found my copy of To the Shores of Lake Placid at a record fair in Cork in the mid-90s and as a huge Cope and Bunnymen fan I was absolutely over the moon. This is a beautiful gatefold package with a four page stapled insert of band photographs. The compilation is a mixture of previously unavailable tracks, b-sides and session tracks. Favorites for me, apart from the Bunnymen and Teardrop tracks, are Those Naughty Lumps' Iggy Pop's Jacket and Big In Japan's Society For Cutting Up Men, videos for both tracks are below.
Big In Japan
The sleeve has the following inscription: The music on this record has been taken from the play 'To The Shores Of Lake Placid', which ran from August 24 1978 to February 21 1981. The play is the first in a trilogy, the second of which, as yet untitled, began on November 10 1981 at 'Club Zoo', 'The Pyramid', Liverpool, and will close at 'Erics', Liverpool on November 15 1983. All titles are performed by the original cast.
Echo & the Bunnymen
The Teardrop Explodes
The New Mersey Beat an episode of Rock Family Trees, Pete Frames's series for the BBC, focused on this period of music from Liverpool. The episode tells the interweaving stories of the Liverpool bands from the late 1970s, and the scene that centred around the local club Eric's where most of the bands played. All the main Zoo Records' players, apart from Julian Cope, are interviewed. It's a predictably hilarious episode of the programme: my own favourite bit is when Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch discuss Ian's decision to quit the Bunnymen in 1988: Will is determined to continue telling Mac that loads of bands have continued with new lead singers. "Name one," says Mac and Will replys, "Mud." Legends.
Bill Drummond would go on to publish the brilliant 45, his memoir which covers some of this period. Julian Cope's Head-On memoir also recalls this period. David Balfe would launch Food Records, sign Blur, sell Food Records to EMI in 1994 and escape to "a very big house in the country." Mac obviously rejoined the Bunnymen and released the classic comeback album, Evergreen. They bring their "Ocean Rain - with Strings" tour to Dublin's Olympia in September. I'm excited!