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My undying love for Echo & the Bunnymen

bunnymenI’ve been talking about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club so much, that I forget that I was and always will be a huge fan of Echo & the Bunnymen. This explains my screenname, which is loosely based on their Porcupine album. The title of this blog Heaven Up Here is also named after that Bunnymen album. Echo & the Bunnymen formed a year before I was born, so I obviously couldn’t get into them until the early ’90’s when I first became a serious listener of music. Before that, I would just listen to whatever was on the radio – like everyone else.

My first Bunnymen album was “Ocean Rain” on cassette, which I probably picked up for the cover alone. It’s a beautiful photo of Echo & the Bunnymen on a boat in a blue cave, but the music is what really blew me away. After that, I got the grey self-titled (breakup) album and Songs to Learn and Sing. Ocean Rain will always be my favorite, and it possibly is “The best album ever recorded” as it was originally advertised. Later, I got “Porcupine,” “Crocodiles,” and “Heaven Up Here” – each of which have some good songs, but aren’t my favorites. I even got Ian McCulloch’s 2nd solo album Mysterio and the Ian McCulloch-less “Reverbation” on cassette. I kind of liked Noel Burke’s voice, but he could never replace Ian.

Some time in 1994, I learned of a new Ian McCulloch-Will Sergeant group called Electrafixion. The name was a strange combination of crucifixion and electrocution. In 1995, I heard on KROQ that they would be at a record store in Huntington Beach. This was during the grunge era, so their sound was influenced by Nirvana. I actually really liked their album Burned. I even wish their newer work were a little heavier, though I haven’t gotten Siberia yet. So, the instore was pretty small. Ian and Will were very late, but still played a few songs acoustic. After that they did a signing, so I got a few of my albums signed as well as an acoustic guitar! My brother even made me take a picture with Ian McCulloch, though we never did develop the picture since it was in a disposable camera.

We didn’t see their show at the Galaxy that same night, which I think was probably only $15. Later, when they reformed as Echo & the Bunnymen, I was really into the band and their comeback album Evergreen. I was always on their official website in college, listening to the rare and live tracks in the library. It’s been 4 years since I last saw them in concert, I think my last one was soured by my brother’s car getting towed because we parked where we shouldn’t have. Here are the 3 concerts I attended:

December 8, 2001: Echo & the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs @ House of Blues, LA
October 27, 1999: Echo & the Bunnymen, Other Star People @ the Sun Theatre, Anaheim
November 14, 1998: Echo & the Bunnymen, Longpigs, Subcircus @ The Palace

I’ve missed them a few times in recent years, possibly due to lack of interest from anyone else wanting to see them with me. Anyways, I think this year on December 5th, I will finally get to see them again at the Fillmore! Echo & the Bunnymen have always been great about touring Orange County, which is so much easier to see them at than LA. I think they played the House of Blues in Anaheim on the last few tours, but I missed them. Well, reading the Ian McCulloch book “The King of Cool” and the Crystal Days boxset have gotten me all excited about them again. I think they’ve been playing b-sides like “Angels and Devils” in concert recently. That would be amazing!

I could go on and on about how much I love Echo & the Bunnymen, their lyrics and imagery, music videos, and Ian McCulloch’s hilarious interviews. The King of Cool actually starts with a story of a girl who met Ian in 1985, and it’s a little like mine since I’ve kind of felt his lyrics speak directly to me – even the song about cucumber, cabbage, and cauliflower! Yes, I am looking forward to Decemeber when I can once again “Lay down thy raincoat and groove.”

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