Episode 14 - The Gift of Vision

Episode 14 - The Gift of Vision

After nearly a year of podcasting, we finally reach the momentous occasion when the members of Echo & the Bunnymen first meet one another in the bathroom at Eric's Club. The episode begins with a brief yet meandering recap of our exploration of the burgeoning late-70s Liverpool music scene, where Ian McCulloch finds himself set adrift. After being sacked from A Shallow Madness and almost losing sight of his rock and roll dreams, the hands of fate lead him into "the ladies room" where he meets Will Sergeant and Les Pattinson, a crucial step towards their shared destiny. We zero in on this encounter, examining and postulating about every detail of their initial impressions. Later, we shift gears and get into a deep analysis of Ian McCulloch's rhythm guitar strumming style and Shane sings the opening lines of “Karn Evil 9” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer for the second time on our podcast. This is an episode where things happen and the narrative advances, so climb aboard our ship’s tender frame as we sail upstream to gladder shores.

Episode 13 - Imaginary Bands

Episode 13 - Imaginary Bands

In tonight's episode, we pay tribute to Bunnymen historian, Chris Adams’ essential biography of the Bunnymen, TURQUOISE DAYS. We focus in on his nuanced exploration of foundational Liverpool bands, some of which never existed. We begin by discussing the infamous super-band, THE CRUCIAL THREE (Wylie, Cope, McCulloch, Spence). We give an overview of their humble beginnings, their last minute decision to rename the band, their would-be discography, their instrumentation and influences. We are then transported through time and space to one of their four rehearsals as we attempt to approximate and perform, for the first time in Bunnymen history, a rendition of an original song by THE CRUCIAL THREE based on Chris Adams’ detailed accounts. During the discussion Shane manages to mention METALLICA on four different occasions pondering their unique song writing process and subsequently mourning the loss of their original bassist, Cliff Burton. Courtney then recounts the surprising tale of Acid guru turned rock god, Geoff Lovestone. She attempts to describe the band's instrumentation, influences, visual elements and personnel, but Shane senses that things are not really what they seem and has to grapple with the very fabric of reality  before he and Courtney attempt to channel Geoff’s (Les’s?) musical ideas and perform a rendition of one of his nonexistent hits. We leave the liquid lightshow of The Lovestones and arrive amongst the smoke and steel of Will Sergeant's first band INDUSTRIAL DOMESTIC, a three piece outfit that included Paul Simpson (WILD SWANS) and a little analog drum machine with a fascinating (to Courtney) past. As we begin to discuss this project, Shane is reminded of Rocky Erikson and his recent passing. Courtney and Shane marvel at Will Sergeant's dedication and consistent aesthetic but they leave the factory yard with more questions than answers. Other bands, both real and imagined emerge. Pete Burns (DEAD OR ALIVE), whom Courtney finds both fascinating and familiar, is introduced to the melee and joins THE MYSTERY GIRLS (along with Cope and Wylie). A prankster band, NOVA MOB, is formed and Shane shares a story of innocent youthful fun gone awry. We finish our episode by discussing A SHALLOW MADNESS, the band that absorbed and expelled surrounding particles and set the wheels of fate in motion.

Order a copy of Chris Adams’ TURQUOISE DAYS online on Biblio.com

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Episode 12 - That Clash Show

Episode 12 - That Clash Show

In episode 12, we advance the narrative about the burgeoning Liverpool music scene, circa mid-late 1970’s, the epicenter of events being a show performed by The Clash at Eric’s on May 5, 1977, on Mac’s 18th birthday. This concert inspired the formation of many influential bands, both real and imaginary.   We also spend a good chunk of time discussing dance etiquette at shows, Julian Cope of Teardrop Explodes, and Bill Drummond, who formed the Liverpool supergroup Big in Japan, managed the Bunnymen, and would later form The KLF.

Episode 11 - Kaftans, the Human Voice, and the "Cavernous Grotto"

Episode 11 - Kaftans, the Human Voice, and the "Cavernous Grotto"

In Episode 11, we discuss a range of topics, from soaring falsettos to basement toilet bowls to some of the yin and the yang of the music biz. We ponder teenage Ian McCulloch's clothing choices and Courtney finally learns the true meaning of the word: kaftan. We embark on in-depth analyses of both David Bowie's and Ian McCulloch's voices and the mechanics of singing.  From these vociferous heights, the conversation descends to tales of what the bathrooms in Eric's Club were like.  We emerge relatively unsoiled, and enter the "cavernous grotto of the club”, flipping through the legendary jukebox, before finally introducing the first two Petes who will have an impact on the creation of the Bunnymen.

Episode 10 - The Universal Pilgrimage

Episode 10 - The Universal Pilgrimage

We are finally back with another thrilling episode! This one celebrates the 60th birthday of Ian McCulloch. First, we check in to see where Les and Will are in the timeline of the tale we are spinning.  Then, we dive headlong into a one-hour rhapsodic discussion about birthday boy Ian McCulloch. We begin our sprawling, circuitous discussion with Mac's physical attributes and Shane makes a revelatory observation about Ian's appearance that he is eager to share. We then go on to make sweeping claims about British culture in the post-colonial era and the music industry throughout its existence. We establish a psychological framework that we can apply to the Bunnymen and discover the true nature of the human soul. Courtney then gives a detailed accounting of Ian's initiation into adulthood as he embarks on the universal pilgrimage toward obtaining oneness with the source. We eventially catch a bus back to Liverpool where Les and Will are hearing a new type of music and are about to discover a new kind of club. This episode is as wonderous as it is strange and even Courtney has trouble avoiding the subject of Pink Floyd. Join us!

Episode 9 - Talkin' Tube: A Journey Through the Liverpool Scene ca. 1987

Episode 9 - Talkin' Tube: A Journey Through the Liverpool Scene ca. 1987

Our hosts have been suffering from allergy-related illness throughout the month, so, to keep our momentum going, we have unearthed a conversation from our vault of early recordings to share with our faithful listeners. We begin the podcast with breaking news regarding the current state of Mac/Bono relations before we plunge into an exploration of the Liverpool music scene, circa 1987. Using an old episode of BBC - Channel 4's music show, The Tube, as our guide, we examine several contemporaries of Echo & the Bunnymen, in order to locate the band within the context of the broader Liverpool scene. We unearth hidden treasures and interesting specimens as we sample a slew of 5 second clips from various artists, whom we discuss at great length. Lots of hot takes in this one! While this episode is not explicitly about Echo & the Bunnymen, it is nonetheless one of Courtney's favorites and she is happy to release it while she waits for her sinuses to drain and her voice to return to normal.

Episode 8 - The Birth of Punk

Episode 8 - The Birth of Punk

This episode nearly did us in. The terrain was so broad and the roads were worn and well-trodden. For weeks, we made wrong way turns down dead end alleys and ran off the rails a couple of times before we arrived at the delightful adventure we now present to you.  We thank our lucky stars that we found a map in the form of an article by Will Sergeant (guitarist for Echo & the Bunnymen), which appeared in Q Magazine in 2013. Using this article as our guide we navigate the prog-rock beginnings of punk. We also discuss Captain Beefheart's hard feelings about the scene.  We explore some misconceptions about punk and revel in the unearthed treasure that is the band Death (Detroit). We make our way to Andy Warhol's Factory where many of Ian McCulloch's heroes hung about. We then cross back over the Atlantic to meet up with some rough and tumble kids forming bands in the suburbs of London. Last but not least, Courtney reveals her OTHER favorite band.  Its an episode for the ages!

Accompanying playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6QWE9wTtL7Y5FdTCoadllR

Episode 7 - Eric's Club

Episode 7 - Eric's Club

Join us for this groundbreaking episode as we recount the adventures of the legendary Roger Eagle, and reveal for the first time in history the shocking (and possibly) true story of how he managed to singlehandedly thwart the criminal underworld of Liverpool and secure a lease on a dirty cellar that would one day be called Eric's Club, thus changing musical history. We explore his unique and visionary musical journey, from his humble beginnings as a young DJ in Oxford, to his invention of "Northern Soul" in the all-nighters of Manchester. This episode is broad in scope, meandering, and larger than life; not unlike the disposition and musical tastes of Roger Eagle himself. In this episode we discuss Ray Charles at length, along with John Lee Hooker, Screaming Jay Hawkins, The Stranglers, The Runaways, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Captain Beefheart, and Can. Honorable mention: The Sex Pistols, Crass, and Rush.  

Episode 6 - Recounting the Encounter

Episode 6 - Recounting the Encounter

In episode 6, we step outside of the chronology we've been pursuing to tell the story of Courtney's experience meeting Ian McCulloch, lead singer of Echo & the Bunnymen. She takes us on a solitary journey to Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, where join forces with her kind-hearted friend. Together, they set out on a mission to deliver culinary items to a fellow EATB fan and, despite their shyness and passivity, make their way backstage. Along the way, we discuss fandom, the concert, we ponder the mysteries of setlist distribution, we speculate about things Ian McCulloch would like to do after a show other than meet Courtney, and Shane shares his never-before-disclosed secret to getting better seats at any show for no extra cost. He also shares his childhood memories of meeting Iron Maiden, Trent Reznor, and David Copperfield. Join us for this recounting of the encounter. It is a holiday tale of kindness, suspense, friendship, despair, heartache, empathy and redemption that you won't want to miss!

Episode 5 - Meet Will & Les

Episode 5 - Meet Will & Les

In this episode, we discuss the string section of Echo & the Bunnymen. When Shane finally remembers Will Sergeant's name, we explore Will’s early life and musical tastes that may or may not include: Yes, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and Velvet Underground. We struggle to keep sight of our subject who evades us with subtle texture and nuance. In frustration, we throw a Mother's of Invention record down the stairs and Shane shares memories of remaining seated during a Rolling Stones concert. Shane then compares his career and school trajectory to Will's and finds many commonalities. He shares a little wisdom regarding life in the "C stream" and lists, about 25 of the 40 jobs he had before becoming a "professional musician". We then go on to contemplate space travel with Les Pattinson and Shane does a deep dive analysis of his harmonic pallet. The episode closes with Courtney admitting her true feelings about The Doors and lamenting Ian McCulloch's thwarted art career. 

Episode 4 - Mac's Early Days, Part 2

Episode 4 - Mac's Early Days, Part 2

In Episode 4, we delve into Mac’s teenage years, discuss his struggle with obsessive-compulsive tendencies, learn how David Bowie became a personal savior, and what it was like to teach himself to sing in close quarters, growing up in the modest childhood home. Also, we analyze the EATB song “The Puppet". And much much more!!

Episode 3 - Mac's Early Days, Part 1

Episode 3 - Mac's Early Days, Part 1

In episode 3, Ian McCulloch is finally born!  Join Courtney and Shane as they excavate the budding young frontman's childhood, discuss his home life, hypothesize about his father, re-enact one of Mac’s grade school eye exams, and much more!     

Episode 2 - From Skiffle to the Sea

Episode 2 - From Skiffle to the Sea

Heave away and set sail with Courtney and Shane as they navigate a sea shanty origin story of Echo and the Bunnymen, and trace a line from skiffle to Mersey Beat, mentioning a little band called the Beatles, and crashing their ship ashore on the isle of Deaf School.

Episode 1 - Eel Infested Waters

Episode 1 - Eel Infested Waters

The first episode gives an overview of things to come in our highly detailed accounting as we dive deep into the eel infested waters of the River Mersey, and begin to excavate the mysteries of the world that birthed Echo and the Bunnymen.