Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Q&A 2000ce — Brain Donor

What has been Julian’s reaction to the mixed reception received for Brain Donor? (Marc)

Everything I do is for the same reason – to bring enlightenment to myself and others. The three Patriarchal churches; Christianity, Judaism and Islam, all aim to exclude the actual god experience by putting the priest figure between you and the Creating Light (hence the word ‘vicar’ having the same root as ‘vicarious’ – one who observes but does not participate) Rock‘n’roll brings both the performer and the listener into direct contact with that Creative Light, through the use of loud soundwaves which buffet the body and force a need to dance (Iggy Pop said “Speakers push the air and push me too”). The Christians attempted to suppress dancing for this reason, cutting down the Maypoles and banning colourful dress and fancy hairstyles during Cromwell’s period. He believed that time spent on these ‘frivolous’ things removed us from God, though I personally think they are precisely the things which link us to the godself or Creative Light. The same with Islam, in which the uncontrollable shamanism of the Whirling Dervishes had to be subsumed into the Islamic Church, because it was too powerful to actually stamp out.

Brain Donor employs pure sound. It’s not intellectual – it is headbanging. In a state of laughing and stupified disbelief, the human re-enters a pre-teen, non-intellectual state of dancing and delight. I was amazed and thrilled that Brain Donor divided people so much. My mate Alice Harvey, from the Glasgow band The Whores, said he thought it was brilliant to intentionally weird out the ‘Neo-Krautrock Purists’ (his term). For myself, I didn’t see Donor as anything more than the natural summation of all things Shamanic and Odinist and very very human. Every few years, I have to serve a new apprenticeship in order to rebirth myself. Brain Donor was a chance to hone my physical self down into a live bass player for the first time since December 1980, and to fit my increasingly Odd self into a unit of 3 players. For me, Brain Donor was a very successful show. But I apologise to those who didn’t get it and thought it was some kind of ironic statement – I should have been even more obvious. Believe me, I’m far too busy to spend even a minute on irony. Even the Brain Donor make-up was for real, and so was the chewing – like Klaus Schultze’s lipstick on the Join Inn album, it was done to strike an immediate chord of otherness.

At the end of the Brain Donor show, did you yell something like “Death to False Metal! We are False Metal!”? (Holly)

Hey, you got it right! Our other chant is “Death to Posers!”

What do you think of Heavy Metal? (Pramhead)

Real Heavy Metal? I fucking loathe its microcephalous ass! Only things that creep dig real heavy metal. I love the MC5, Blue Cheer, Funkadelic, the Pop Group, the Stooges, Hotter than Hell by Kiss, Kingdom Come by Sir Lord Baltimore, Kiss Alive 1 & 2, the Electric Eels, and the first six Sabbath albums except for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. I probably dig Sabotage most of all. Also Sabbat’s Dreamweaver was Odinist genius in a later more fundamentalist Wodenist caste – kinda like Crass meets Brian Bates. But Brain Donor is pure white lightning played by forward-thinking Motherfuckers.

I heard that the Brain Donor album will be 2CDs in lavish packaging? Is this true and when will it be released? Is the Camden Market bootleg of “In Search of Space” a studio take? (Josh)

The original plan was for two 23-minute CDs in 10" cartoon gatefold. But we’re currently finishing the album with Thighpaulsandra and it’s not a carved-in-stone thing, so release will happen in due time. We didn't play ‘In Search of Space’ at the show because it tends to blitz for 15-minutes on the same Neanderthal riff, but the take you will have heard is from the Nottingham studio. At the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the set was pretty much the first album: “She Saw Me Comin’”, “Get Off Your Pretty Face”, “Brain Donor”, “U-Know!”, “One of those Places You Could Be All Night” and the mostly-instrumental 15-minute set closer “Speed Kills”.

Is yours an ironic take on Heavy Metal? (Hugh G.)

Nothing I do is ironic. I am post-Ironic. Irony is the ultimate cop-out way of turning something you didn’t mean into something you did. Like bands that put big tits on their album sleeves and say it’s an ironic comment about sexism. Like bands that put car shit on their album sleeves and say it's anti-car. Bollocks. If it glorifies then it’s bollocks. Irony is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

If you could record an album with anybody, who would it be and why? (Richard P.F. Hayward)

I plan to record a Brain Donor album because Doggen and Kev are unbelievably full-on musicians, and it could be the best thing I’ve been involved in for years.

Any gigs coming up in Ireland? Braindonor please? (Alan)

We’d love to play in Ireland, but no shows have been offered so far.

Why does Braindonor use doubleneck guitars? What guitars do you and Doggen use? (Hugh G.)

We use these guitars to make us look physically larger and to complement the platform boots. They have an enormous physical sound because there’s twice as much wood in them. On stage, Doggen was using my 1976 Shergold Double Custom, which is a 12 string and a 6 string together. His spare guitar was his own Shergold, which is a bass and six string. I was using my Gibson doubleneck, and my spare was my glitter-blue Danelectro doubleneck, which is a six string and a baritone. We have also planned to do a song without drums, featuring 3 doublenecks. Rock!