Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Q&A 2000ce — Cope Musicians & Cohorts

I read in a fanzine that Rooster’s proudest and most embarrassing moment was ‘getting Copey banned from Japan in 1991’. Your musicians sound really extreme. How do you deal with them? (Holly)

I gain so much from working with non-careerists such as Rooster that the lapses and fuck-ups ultimately sort themselves out. Like Rooster ended up owing me so much for bailing him out of jail and the hotel destruction that our financial arrangements just had to become really loose. I pay him for tours and a lump sum for recordings but he doesn’t ask me for money on compilations or re-pressings of the ambient stuff, and so on. The most embarrassing moment I had with my musicians was on the 1995 tour, when a fax from my agent was mistakenly sent to each of my band instead of the hotel managers. It said something like: “Please make sure that Mr. Cope is always booked into a room at least 2 floors apart from these people”, then proceeded to list my entire group. Strangely, Rooster and Frog were offended but Thighpaulsandra seemed to wear this slight on his character like a badge of honour.

What has happened to Rooster Cosby ? Julian writes in Repossessed that he is disabled. What happened ?? (Marc)

Rooster has a chronic back problem, which precludes his touring with me or moving anything heavy. To hear him speak, though, you’d think his ship had come in. “Amazing, Copey! Got a facking Disabled sticker lets me park facking anywhere!”

When are you touring with a full band again? (Mark)

Never. I’m a dad and the idea of being stuck with those loonies for a whole tour plus rehearsal is enough to give me the shitty shakes. Besides, when I did Brain Donor, which is the band I’ve really wanted to do for ages, half the fucking neo-Kraut purists walked out. So fuck ’em!

What’s it like having all your musicians working in Spiritualized? (Ra)

Good for the budget. Jason auditioned Donald Ross Skinner and James Eller, too, before he settled on Martin, Doggen, Kev and Thighpaulsandra. I understood the Thighpaulsandra thing as he’d already got Mike Mooneye in the band. And Martin Schellard has always been so good with the string sections on my albums and Jason also knew that keeping Thighpaulsandra around his own friends is the best way to get the best out of him. But I was surprised he picked a mascara’d metaloid like Doggen over Donald Ross Skinner. My accountant is also Jason’s accountant and she told me he’s even read all the books, including The Modern Antiquarian which she was asked to obtain for him, so he’s possibly retro and obviously a little lazy. Have you seen the Spiritualized website? Jason hates the Web ’cause it didn't exist in 1966. Jason got on the phone once and apologised for stealing my musicians. I was double-sweet and told him I’m like the Jesuits, once you’re with Cope it's forever no matter who’s paying the wages.

Who is Shaun Harvey ? Or is he just another pseudonym? And what about this brilliant “Harveytron” thing? This is obviously no real instrument. But what is it then? (Marc)

Shaun Harvey is real and now owns a studio called The Fortress in London. The Harveytron was a loop of his early ‘90s metal band Moth put through my Starchamber 1. Its sampling rates were so rudimentary that it degraded the sound into that which you hear running throughout the length of Jehovakill's “Necropolis”. My Starchamber 2 still looks like shit but the Bit rate is much higher.

Will Julian ever work with Donneye again? (Marc)

We’ve recently been in touch for the first time in ages, and I am really pleased about that. Can't say if we’ll ever work together again, though.

Who is Sid Mooneye? (Barbara)

Sid Mooneye is my name for Doggen. When the two of them met, Mike Mooney and Doggen were like spiritual brothers and I was touched by their connection, so I named Doggen ‘Sid Mooneye’ and Mike didn’t care at all because he’s such a vibe himself. Doggen’s unworldly and disarming the way Sid Vicious and Syd Barrett were. He’s been ripped off all his life, and feels comfortable with me because I have as well.

If Doggen has formed TC Lethbridge 2, are you going to have any input in this new album? (Pramhead)

No. Doggen AKA Terry Dobbin AKA Sid Mooneye is currently doing the new Mute Records TC Lethbridge album with Thighpaulsandra, Kev from Brain Donor and Llandanniel Fab, who was credited as Daniel James on the first Lethbridge album. Actually, there are some good tracks on that first LP but it’s mainly padding. I think it’s quite good considering the amazing amount of shit I had to wade through. Me and Doggen and Rizla Deutsche had to get out of that suffocating Kraut trip and hose ourselves off with some proto-metal because so many people were fucking with our heads. Neu! every day. If I hear one more proclaimed Neu-soundalike I’ll barf. Stereolab? French jazz! Gimme noise rock power trios.

What sort of responses have you had from former bandmates & other acquaintances to HEAD-ON/REPOSSESSED, particularly in regards to your portrayal of them? (Vernon)

They all loved to be included in the book, especially those of them who’d fallen by the wayside into drab, wretched lives: e.g. Ian McCulloch.

What was Alan Gill arrested and put in jail for? (Chris)

He was jailed for 18 months for dealing drugs, though his defence was cute and very Alan: he said he gave most of it away.

When did you last have any contact with the following, what is your current relationship with them and your opinion of them today? (Alan Tonge)

  1. Bill Drummond
    I have no relationship with this guy. He burned a million pounds which was not all his, and some of it was mine. People should pay off their creditors before they pull intellectual dry-wank stunts like that.
  2. Ian McCulloch
    I have no relationship with this guy, either. He has a bad memory and/or no memory at all. He first started to embarrass me when he recorded that song “A Promise”. What was that vocal idea all about? Nowadays, he’s re-recording old songs and doing the 80s circuit with Chicken in a Bunnymen.
  3. Pete Wylie
    I remember this guy really well, and thought he would be a big star when I first met him. He had a really high opinion of what he stood for, but soon lost direction once people gave him money. Although his music always sounded like the Alarm meets the Boss, there was a power to it in the early days, which I loved despite the bluster. Then he wrote a lyric which went: “Some say our ideals are jokes, some say on our words we’ll choke.” Unfortunately, his music and ideals fell apart after that. His ideals were jokes. On his words he choked.