Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Back to School Drudion

September 2002ce

Drudes,

I just got back from final fieldwork up in Grampian so I’m a little late with this Drudion. It’s been seven long years and 105 stone circles, yet that place still overwhelmed me even to the very last moment, when I arrived at the supposedly long gone Hill of Fiddes stone circle only to be confronted by a massive hilltop monument groaning under the weight of vegetation, field clearance stones, dubious boot-rotting chemicals and the kind of sweet icky smell that made me realise – hey, so this is where Saddam musta hid it all from the UN weapons inspectors. I drove home from Dunnideer via a visit to a rock’n’roll-obsessed mate in Argyllshire, who could only be accessed via Western Ferries or CalMac. Yup, clocked 606 miles between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m. the next morning, in-between-times frantically burning impossibly groovy music on to the computer and wondering how two such full-on drudes as we could still be missing so many Rallizes Denudes albums.

Now I’m listening to their LIVE 1973 album and I reckon that the Velvets and the MC5 finally made their marriage vows right there on that album. Take a look at the Album of the Month, and you’ll see Les Rallizes finally decoded, though no less mysterious for all that. And for all of you who wish to get hold of HEAVIER THAN A DEATH IN THE FAMILY, we finally secured some copies for our merchandiser, so check it out.

I enjoyed the hell out of the two Edinburgh Festival shows, and tried to perform a load of old and new songs from way back whence (even "Lunatic & Fire-Pistol" on Casio!). The street-party atmosphere was so magnificent that I managed to remain anonymous in full make-up and platforms. Special thanks to the archaeological Picts who suggested I check out the Braehead stones, and – yes – they are amazing! The sets were dedicated to my friend and super-drummer Mr. Kevlar Bales, who has been struck down with fucking leukaemia. What! Just typing that made my skin crawl. Kev’s in hospital having chemotherapy. He’s a dad and – alongside Doggen - the sweetest guy around. Wa-acoustic versions of Brain Donor songs were the best I could muster as a salute to my temporarily-fallen cohort, but reports say the chemo is most destructive early on in the course, so let’s just keep our fingers collectively crossed.

Talking of Kevlar, RITE NOW has finally arrived and looks great and sounds even better – agricultural funk, me babbies! Kevlar plays on every track and it’s a stone groove of On-the-Woden proportions. Meditationally, you could be best picking one song and rotating it over and over. But I have programmed it to just run and run, so give the whole album a chance. Lie back in the darkness (or if you have a sky to stare at, even better). And – yes – the paralytic drumwars at the beginning of the last track are totally intentional.

Now, I’m back listening to Flower Travellin’ Band’s amazing MUSIC COMPOSED MAINLY BY HUMANS – their 27-minute freakout known as "I’m Dead" is Amon Duul 2 all the way. Man, since I wrote that article a coupla months ago, all kinds of new facts have emerged and I’m gonna have to update the piece into a fully illustrated Unsung article.

Meanwhile, deep in the archaeological trenches of Avebury, Mark Gillings and Josh Pollard are currently redefining Faulkner’s Circle and the West Kennett Avenue. One avenue stone has so far been located, lying in a trench to the east of the road. Even English Heritage will find their own arseyness undermined by such committed and forward-thinking Motherfuckers.

This is always a depressing time of year because the kids go back to school and I’ve got no-one to play with, and this year is more depressing because of those foul murders in Soham, Cambridgeshire. But even more depressing is the prospect of imminent war. I know that the sooner they topple that illegitimate regime the better, but who’s to say the Democrats would do any better? With his ludicrous cries of ‘Baloney’, that Donald Rumsfeld is so arrogant on camera. He looks as though the whole world (including the American people) have just been put there to cramp his style. (It reminds me of that famous outtake of Orson Welles doing a TV commercial when he calls the film crew ‘pests!’) With his eyes on the oilfields, Saddam Hussein may well be threatening the American way-of-life (which ain’t exactly the religious experience they sell it as), but he is not threatening America’s mainland the way the Bin Man did. And every autocratic gesture, every of-course-he’s-a-terrorist-proof-of-guilt-soon-a-coming-but-never-does side shuffle, every convenient and sweeping Axis Of Evil cavalier soundbite: all these add up not to push the tyrant in question into the corner, but to re-inforce how far America has come adrift from its cause. Of course these are horrendously oppressive regimes, but if the rich countries in the West are not seen to espouse an entirely higher level of freedom, then we come over to the rest of the world as self-serving and knee-deep in shit.

To end on a positive and revolutionary American note for once, those former true users of the Stars & Stripes, our beloved MC5, have finally got the movie they deserve in A TRUE TESTIMONIAL. These past three years, we’ve been watching the film’s progress from afar, getting more and more hyped up for such a righteous event. Anyway, as neither Dorian nor I could get to the premier at the Chicago Underground Film Festival this August, we asked to send our own correspondent the one-and-only Seth Man in our place. Well, brothers and sisters, he came back frothing and barking at the moooon! Yup, Future Now Films done great and the movie had the Sethian One screaming and hollering. So expect a special Seth Man report to appear in Unsung later this month.

For me, it’s fieldwork-a-go-go for the next few months. But I shall keep those reports coming as we plough steadily further into these mid-twenty-hundreds.

U-Know!

Mr. Drude (M’Lud Yatesbury)