In the early 1990s — around the same time he was playing guitar and singing with Joe, Doc & I in Sedan Delivery — my friend Don was leading a band called Rapid Transit, who specialized in old soul covers.
Among many other things, this made him maybe the only person in music history who was in two bands at the same time that were named after Neil Young songs. (more…)
By the time mid-1979 rolled around, I was totally in the bag for punk rock or new wave or whatever the hell you wanted to call it. Not so much that I was gonna abandon everything else — never! — but enough that I scoured every month’s CREEM or Trouser Press trying to figure which unheard music I was going try next.
It had gone pretty well with The Clash and Television and Ramones. But what next? Maybe The Jam. Or Talking Heads. Or maybe The Sex Pistols. How about The Shoes? It was a whole new world of music, and I was on limited funds. What I needed was a good sampler. Enter the That Summer! soundtrack.
Like a lot of their peers, Echo & The Bunnymen were simultaneously a singles band and an albums band. Which meant that they also were committed to putting out albums that were cohesive statements, and even a great song that didn’t fit one of those statements wouldn’t make it.
And it meant — at least until the reissue era — that they have a few lost songs in their catalog, especially b-sides like 1984’s “Angels and Devils,” which showed up on the “Silver” single. (more…)
Before “The Killing Moon” revealed itself to be an all-time classic, my favorite song was “My Kingdom.” An outlier on Ocean Rain, “My Kingdom” eschewed the strings that dominated the rest of the album.
Instead, it started with a cheesy-sounding keyboard, skittering drums and a mellow acoustic guitar lick. Completely inauspicious. But that’s just a fake-out, because the chorus of “My Kingdom” is as rousing as anything in their catalog.
B-b-burn the skin off and climb the roof top
Thy will be done
B-b-bite the nose off and make it the most of
Your king- kingdom kingdom kingdommmmmmm!!!
After the second and third choruses, Ian McCullough’s vocals practically fall into Will Sergeant’s stinging guitar solos. Ian McCullough is having so much fun — yes I said “fun” — references his old friend Bonie Maronie and almost scats one of the last choruses: “Your kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh-kingdom, king-kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh”
And the end is the exact opposite of the quiet beginning: Sergeant is just soloing and soloing and McCullough is singing deep in the mix — about death and stuff — until they all decide they’ve had enough of your damn kingdom already and just end the song.
I’m trying to remember: when did it first become obvious that “The Killing Moon” wasn’t just Echo & The Bunnymen’s greatest song, but an absolutely enduring classic that will forever be counted among the greatest rock songs of not just the 1980s, but all-time?
I think it took some time. I think it was too big to grok in 1984.