Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Q&A 2000ce — Miscellaneous

Do you have any regrets about your life and if so what are they? (Beci)

I have so many regrets I couldn't start to list them here. But my biggest regret is making stuff which is not clear enough for more people to respond to. People who dig me are all cool but I wish I could find the formula which would make even the uncool people get what I'm on about.

Can you give JoAnne a pay rise please? (Shrimp)

What d'you mean a pay rise? She's getting paid to do this?

I saw a TV programme with Tony Wilson interviewing guys and one guy said his mate had been ripped off 'more than Julian Cope'. Tony Wilson said, "Hold on, nobody's been ripped off more than Julian Cope". What's it like to have a reputation for being so ripped off? (Pauline)

If someone wants to rip me off, there's very little I can do about it. I'm fairly loving and giving, so I don't wanna get cynical and expect to be ripped off. For example, Bill Drummond reissued all the Teardrop singles as a 12" boxed set recently. He didn't even tell me and certainly never sent me a copy. At least all the corporations tell me it's gonna happen, even if I have no say at all. Another guy, who used to run Kosmische with Leon, recently stuck up his own website and put a little film on it that has me praising Brian Barritt from back in '96. He's made it look like it's current to gain credibility by association with me. But it demeans him far more than me to act in such a way. Besides, he knows in his heart that I know where he lives and one day I'll be waiting round a dark corner and will bone him up the ass for being a wise guy!

Of his generation, who still creates and performs--who does he appreciate, or is amused by, or think is total bunk? I'm thinking of Robyn Hitchcock (I have a live tape of him here in San Francisco doing a impromptu/one off song called "Julian Cope is dead" from the early 90's), Daniel Treacy, Nick Cave. (Wayne Coyne)

Though I don't think anyone of my contemporaries works their thing pro-actively enough, I'm still happy to see most of them doing anything at all. Nick Cave is pretty active, I guess, though he writes like Captain Beefheart's aborted twin and is stuck in total stasis in the low atmosphere of the post-Christian canopy.

Do you think capitalism will fail? Where do you see society in 50 years? (Michael)

I think this technocratic culture was designed to cling on to the very end, gobbling and scoffing where it can, but grubbing out a subsistence level lifestyle when that is all that's being offered. Look at post-Soviet Russia and the shanty towns of Mexico and the Third World. Various sci-fi scenarios enacted in movies ring true to me, but even the visionary cannot forewarn the unexpected such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. So 50 years in terms of prediction is a very huge amount of time.

Who does he honour in modern society (still living) and why? (Michael)

I honour anyone who is a forward-thinking Mofo, and anyone who brings calm to the populace. The term 'reverend' just means 'worthy of reverence'; so that pretty much includes all good-minded people and simultaneously excludes the clergy themselves. Those Medicins Sans Frontieres doctors are the most reverend of all, plus anyone who looks after the old and the infirm and clears bedpans all day. So long as I have a guarantee that Jeffrey Archer gets boned up the ass in the next life, I'm not looking for retribution generally.

Given the barbs (Ian) MacCulloch still sends your way via the press I'd assume you & he aren't on the best of terms... but I was surprised to find out about another famous rock star rivalry - between Richard Hell & Tom Verlaine - that they still talk regularly. In fact the last time I saw Hell, he showed one of his films & Verlaine had provided the music for it. (Omaha Perz)

Mac sends me barbs? Whatever for? If I were as underachieving a no-mark as he's become, I'd at least have the awareness to shut the fuck up. I feel sorry for him. Doing the soccer song was fine if you get to number one, but to get to number 9 is loserville. They're doing an e.p. of covers and old favourites apparently. "Horse with No Name" and "Zimbo" - what can I say?

I love that photo of you guys on the back of Floored Genius 3, That must drive Mac nuts. (Omaha Perez)

Big Joey Ramone lips and a fucking anorak. Just like I said in Head-On.

No deep question here, but one thing had plagued me for years since I first read (and subsequently re-read many times) "Krautrocksampler." I went back to find the page (and of course, couldn't) but somewhere you had written describing a song as having "slabs of RSJ funk". My question: Who, or what, is RSJ?! You mention it also in "Repossesed" and it was the ONLY thing in "Krautrocksampler" I couldn't get around my head! (Seth Man)

Ah shit! I'm so sorry man but that's actually a misprint and should read RSG. When I wrote the Kraut book, I found the only way to conjure up imagery of particularly rare music without resorting to 'heavy metal' as a description was by going for RSG. But being American, Dorian didn't question it because I'd explained to her years before and thereafter used the term wherever we were. In Britain, the RSG is a standard building term, and is short for Reinforced Steel Girder. The first time I saw RSGs used in a piece of art was at the Gaudi Catherdral in Barcelona. There's a huge statue of Jesus Christ on a massive cross made of two RSGs - kinda proto-industrial and horribly out of context with the rest of the thing (which I call Fly Agaric Catholic). By the time Repossessed came out, I didn't even clock the subtle move to RSJ and that's what's messed you up. Sorry, man.

I heard that Bill Drummond has re-issued the early Teardrops Zoo releases in a boxed set of 12" singles. Did you have anythoing to do with this release, and where can I buy it? (Mark Kelly)

In typical Bill Drummond fashion, he put this boxed set out without anyone's knowledge and did not both to send me a copy for fear of annoying me. If you can get hold of one, send information to Head Heritage as I'd like to know about it. The Piano LP/CD in 1990 was also his work in collaboration with the guy who ran the original Some Bizzare label with Stevo. I hassled many times for a copy but the guy ignored me.

When do you plan on writing about your time during the 1990's after Repossessed? (Chris)

I like to have a full decade between myself and the time I'm writing about. That gives me time to have a real perspective. So I would guess that the next instalment is due around 2007CE.

Do you surf? What's your favourite website? (Peter, CA)

I surf for guitars and CDs and old vinyl information. I also look out for what my old heroes are doing - Armand Schaubroeck's just designed a guitar! But I spend most time surfing for my daughters. Avalon recently discovered my collection of Ultraman figures from Japan, given to me in the '80s by Japanese fans. I have loads and they've really grabbed her imagination. So we spend most of our time surfing Ultraman fansites at the moment.

Do you still have your toy car collection at home and do you think that one day you might go back to collecting toy cars again? (Richard P.F. Hayward)

I still have boxes of that stuff hidden in the walls of our house waiting to be shipped out to any dealer/bore who wants the stuff.

Of all the Dinky Toys you own, do you have a favourite? (Richard P.F. Hayward)

My toys are all utterly meaningless to me nowadays. They signify a time when my head was buried in the sand/up my own ass. I'd sell everything if only I had the time. If you want to buy any stuff, ask JoAnne Wilder. It won't be cheap, though. Any money I make goes into interesting projects or righteous action.

What do you think of Courtney Love now? What did you think of her when you knew her? Were you a fan of Nirvana? Can you name some female musicians that you admire? (Katya)

Courtney was beaten by getting what she wanted. I loved her when I knew her because she was so full of energy that it looked like she'd make a wonderful icon for ugly girls everywhere. Then magazines like Q were saying I'd fucked her. Believe me, that's such a funny thing to contemplate if you'd seen her then. But inheriting all of Kurt's money has meant that she could do a Berlin Airlift on her face and Michael Jackson her way out. I loved Nirvana and Kurt was a total genius - and trust me, Courtney didn't kill him - he'd have died a lot sooner without her, I'm sure.

My list of admired female musicians would have to be headed by Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Kate Bush, Lydia Lunch and Courtney, too. To be a female rock'n'roll singer must be killer.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read about your neighbour problems in Repossessed, as I have major neighbour problems too. Now that you live in Avebury, do you have any more problems? What would your advice be to other fellow sufferers? (Jim D, Manchester)

Laugh about it, baby. I have neighbour problems wherever I live. My current neighbours are shotgun-toting, braying horses' asses who think they own the fucking world, think they are Christians, think I'm fucking crazy, but practise some kind of Non-forgiveness Bell-ringing Cultism from Hell. I wish you all the luck with your neighbours - I say Fuck 'em!!!

What do you think of Bill Drummond? (Jakey)

I have few opinions of Bill Drummond other than to say he's a million-pound-burning freak with total contempt for everyone he's ever worked with and owes money to. He re-issued all the Teardrop 45s as a box of 12"singles and never sent any of us a copy, still owes me money from the Teardrop days, still thinks he's in some way valid. Who cares? I don't for shit damn sure.

Is Smelvin still alive? Chances are he has already passed away. He was such the survivor in the book though that I was curious. (Janet DeForrest)

The old geezer died on March 4th, 1999CE, the 18th anniversary of my meeting Dorian. He was 13 and a half, and died whilst I was on tour. We had decided not to get a new dog but the girls begged soon afterwards, so we now have yet another miniature schnauzer (Dorian's 4th). He's called Iggy Pup.

Why do you want to answer now, directly questions from your fans? (Santisan, Spain)

The internet is an ideal place for Forward-thinking Motherfuckers and Pornographers. I belong to the former group, and believe that rock'n'roll writers are sort of like vicars: they act as a conduit between the artists and the fans, but they understand fuck all and just want the gloss of the artists to rub off on them.

May have asked this already but violence at anti-capitalist gatherings - isn't it just counter productive? (Jason)

Violence at demonstrations is very counter-productive when it's by the police, or other authorities. But violence by demonstrators often works as we see by the actions of terrorists throughout the world. In principle, I don't agree with violence, but we're living by their rules and it's all that we know (to quote Ian Curtis). I don't believe violence necessarily lessens us as human beings. Limited violence has always been the way of the world. My only big problem is with Unlimited Violence.

What do you think of Dave Balfe? (Jakey)

Dave Balfe lost the plot years ago, which means he's finally been disarmed. He even signed up Pete Wylie, the ex-singer from Wah, which got him sacked from his job at Sony. I've spoken to him twice in the past 10 months and he's learned nothing at all - still has total contempt for the ancestors and believes that no-one can know anything. He expects me to find validity in his own actions, but damns everything I do as 'too '70s', 'too '90s', 'too futuristic', 'too idealistic' or somesuch intellectualisation.

What became of your relationship with Kathy (Cherry) after you split up - there ain't no entry in the "where they're at now" bit at the back of Head-On. (Alistair)

I last saw Kath in November 1981. Apparently, she married a guy called Alan and had a daughter called Prudence. The Alan left her and that's all I know.

Somehow I have never heard you say anything about the 70s space rock band, BODY. I always thought you must know about them since they used to play down at Eric's with Big In Japan. If so, what do you think about them? (Oscar)

Now this is weird. Until about one month ago, I'd never heard of Body. Then a Liverpool writer called Mark told me about them, and now you're telling me that they played with Big in Japan. I never saw this group and I'm very intrigued. Did they record?

Do you think that in 20 years time you will still be recording and writing? (Richard P.F. Hayward)

If I'm still alive in 20 years, then I shall certainly be doing both of those things.

I would be interested to know any theory you may have as to the inception of humankind being related to alien visitation. If so, do you feel that an alien-ape hybrid made its appearance or do you feel humans are more of direct descent? Forgive me if I'm way off-base with any theory you may have already laid out; I haven't done as much reading as listening. Love on ya. (Jason Dean)

It's always been my suspicion that the consciousness of humanity began as the consciousness of the planet. Then alien life forms descended to the planet on meteorites, etc., and the planet consciousness found all these living things so charming that it chose to inhabit the most advanced and delightful creature: namely humanity. But this feeling is based more on personal inner psychic travel experience than any archaic literature or mythology. I voiced this idea in the Stylistic-voiced second verse of "Poet is Priest", when I sung: "a huge spirit moving through, and onward through the burning wastes, of all intention the spirit was the soul - loving and beyond and indefinable."

Do you still feel like a pig drawing a cartload of sausages? Ta in anticipation, X, Bee Blest. (Morfe)

Yeah, sometimes. The only way forward is through education, but the only way to educate is through travel to places to teach people, yet I'm stuck driving half my life in order to achieve those things. Luckily, most people are unjudgemental about that and can see the bigger picture. I read Merrick's piece about us all being hypocrites and it somehow soothed me.

Some people these days seem to be embarrassed by having heroes. I'm not (you are one of mine). Do you think heroes are cool? Who are your heroes? Would there be one that stood out as your Ur-Hero? (Habitual)

Gimme an apostate and I'm happy. My heroes are all cool and, to me, they are gods of a kind because they've helped to forge a blueprint 'Ideal for Modern Life'. Nowadays, I'd say my heroes/deities are mainly rock'n'rollers like the MC5, Jim Morrison, Iggy, Patti Smith, and many of the Krautrockers. I'd also include poets such as Robert Graves, Vachel Lindsay, John Sinclair and genii such as Maria Gimbutas, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung and George Gurdjieff. Also, inventors like Les Paul and Leo Fender created the bedrock on which this rebellion began because they invented the solid body electric guitar, which was treated like a dirty novelty at first, then embraced by Forward-thinking Motherfuckers everywhere. And, even better, they took the car culture styles of the day and incorporated it into a guitar, which breathes life and beauty and never spews out carbon monoxide.

Have you ever read any Zecharia Sitchin, if so, What do you think about it? (JJ)

After reading all his works, I've come to the conclusion that it's a total pile of shit. This comment is not made lightly. I read five books without stopping then came to the one in which he uses totally outmoded information with which to describe Silbury, Avebury and the Stonehenge culture. If he's as wrong about the other things as he is on British Neolithic culture, it must be assumed that it's Von Daniken bollocks Revisited. My friend, the New York film director Paul Taylor, visited Sitchin with the intention of making a documentary and was similarly disappointed. Sorry, but that's my genuine take. I was a believer until I was severely let down.

Everyone else is offering their opinions at the moment, so I thought I'd ask yours. Does the England football team suck? Why can't England win? Does it matter? Do you care? (SDS)

I care very much that England can't manage to win a match when they pay those guys millions. The psyche of the nation goes way down every time we lose, and they approach the whole thing very poorly. I'm sure that games were always sacred and that the players of those games were always revered as being somewhat Godlike - that's perfectly understandable and quite correct. The celebration of the human body is just as important as that of the human mind. It is only a modern attitude which pits the athlete against the intellectual. Personally, I believe that a combination of both is the best way to create a rounded individual. Concerning our own modern football, the officials should be far greater psychologists than at present. No England player should be admitted to the team once his own autobiography has been written. Unlike our artists, who are there to test their inner being with strange experience and mind-manifesting substances, our athletes should not be seen to have done battle with drink and drugs. Their job is to have absolute body control, to have transcended the normal world through physical highs. Unfortunately, suits run the game so pressures on the star players cause them to turn to drink and drugs as a defence.

The inward-facing henges of the Neolithic are like amphitheatres and seem to me to have very likely been used for sacred games. The Mayans of Central America played a ball game which was sacred to them. There is nothing wrong with football as a sacred communion of the male community, so long as it doesn't become their sole recreation and train of thought.

I remember you saying once that you'd tried taking ecstasy as you wanted to "understand the dislocation of dance music". Would you say that you found such an understanding, and can you see the attraction of taking a pill and dancing like a grinning, dribbling loon for six hours? Can we ever honestly expect a Cope dance album? (Markybov)

No, there will never be a Cope dance album. But I can certainly understand the appeal of dancing like a dribbling loon for hours on end. Near death experiences will almost certainly happen in many unfit individuals, but then the shaman always attempted to achieve this so who am I to judge negatively? That said, I can't stand the totalitarian beat of dance music and much prefer rock'n'roll because it belongs to the individual and is played by individuals. Switching a drum-machine on and dancing is a devilish combination to which I could never be a party.

How, if at all, would your life be different now if you'd never done all that acid? (Markybov)

For all its negative effects, LSD opened my eyes to things which I could not have contemplated without that drug. I never advocated LSD for everyone; that's just stupid. However, I did advocate its use for myself. I still conclude that I was right.

Any plans to work with Wayne Kramer, Ray Manzarek, Patti Smith & Lenny Kaye or Pere Ubu in the future? Are you going to try and get Alice Cooper, KISS, Motorhead, and Ozzy Osbourne w/Black Sabbath to play at the next Cornucopea? (Chris)

I'll never even meet my heroes let alone work with them. Besides, Wayne said it all at the time; Ray's the same; Patti's suffering from Patriarchal fall-out; Pere Ubu were only great for one LP, then arty drywank for 20 years. I wouldn't want Alice Cooper for Cornucopea unless it was the same band that made Easy Action through to Billion Dollar Babies. I wouldn't want Kiss unless the Gene stopped looking like Uncle Fester, I wouldn't want Motorhead at all because they're shit, and how could I follow Black Sabbath except by killing myself at the end of the show?

Is Courtney Love the adolescent??? (Jeanette)

Oh yes.

When is Julian going to do another band tour, and can I play guitar for him? (Goatboy)

See the answer elsewhere. No, you can't play guitar unless you have a unique and specific talent which will utterly blow my mind and take me in a strange and unexpected direction.

Define progress. (Cammy)

Anything that makes life easier for people without endangering their future or their children's future must be defined as progress. Anything that educates people away from belief systems which allow a few to prey on the many is progress.

Define your view on how society has progressed over the previous 2 millennia. (Cammy)

Far less people are killed in sacrificial rituals to the unseen Gods than was happening 2000 years ago. But the position of women is pretty desperate, as is the position of the child. If we exclude animals from our Progress equation, humanity has done quite well considering. Unfortunately, animals are central to the equation, so we're pretty much still fucking up.

I was at Newbury quite often myself. It's obvious from Interpreter that it made a deep impression on you. What are your most vivid memories? (Susan)

My most vivid memories of Newbury are of Wayne borrowing my fluorescent yellow jacket with the amazing embroidered purple lining and seeing him running behind the lines of security men and not being caught even though there were about 15 of them after him. It was the weirdest memory of all because Wayne died soon after this event. I also love remembering Rosie putting facepaint on my daughter Albany's face during one family weekend. Rosie would always be virtually emotionless during the week and she never wore shoes, which confounded the police and inspired me to put a lyric in my song "Battle for the Trees" about it. There was also a very weird time when I took Sky shopping to one of the big hypermarkets and he had no jacket, so I gave him my camo to keep him warm. Sky was this beautiful young Rasta with tiny dreads and he was tripping out of his mind. Sky climbed into the trees that day and skipped/tripped the light fantastic across the polyprop and nearly fell about ten times. Again, I got so inspired by this that I put a line in "Battle for the Trees" describing it: "Sky in my jacket on acid ain't placid: freefall polyprop tangles as Wayne mingles." And all of Newbury is a burning memory, so I'd better stop there.

What are your opinions now about road culture and what should be done? (Susan)

I am as stuck in road culture as everyone else, and since I learned to drive in 1994CE, I have covered thousands of miles. I think road culture sucks and that efforts should be made to stop adverts that make the driving of a car look cool. The Church of England drove a car into Coventry cathedral to celebrate its centenary. A higher father of the Church of England has the number plate SYNOD. Boning him up the ass would probably be as good a place to start our protest as any.

What do you think of the musical genre "Trip Hop" and artists in that category like Massive Attack, Tricky, D.J. Shadow, Portishead, and Sneaker Pimps? (Chris)

I'm sorry, but I'm unaware of all those artists. I do know of Portishead and Tricky, but I've never heard their music. At least not consciously.

It seems many of my favorite British artists (in literature, music, TV and film) including Scottish, Irish and Welsh ones not just the English seem to have a "love/hate" relationship with the United Kingdom's culture(s). So Julian would you say your relationship with those UK cultures is more "love/hate" or "hate/hate"? How do you think their cultures could improve? (Chris)

My relationship with British culture is total love/love. English is the best language because it subsumes everything foreign into itself and renders it English again. But Welsh, Irish and Scottish are wonderful languages for their mystery and their obvious desire to not give away too much to people casually.

Britain would be highly improved with the loss of the Church of England and Cliff Richard, but I am intolerant of other incoming patriarchal religions, such as Islam, or Turbo Islam, as practised by many young Muslims. We should be wary of any religion which suppresses women the way Christianity, Judaism and Islam do. Political Correctness must not be an excuse for inaction.