- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Soft Skull Press (July 24, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1887128891
- ISBN-13: 978-1887128896
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,214,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen Paperback – July 24, 2002
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This is presented in a collage format, with lots of lyrics (some of which I don't really need to see) and reviews which give a good snapshot of their ups and downs in the press, and what a huge splash they once made (the cult of the trenchcoat and puffy hair) and how they faltered in later years, including McCulloch's solo stuff which was uneven but had really great moments.
However, I would imagine that if you were a Bunnyfanatic you might already know all this stuff, mostly. Also, it would've been nice to have more pictures, as well as information on their processes (which again, probably can really only come from the band- there are some good quotes here and there, but lots of just "Mac The Mouth" moments").
It was also kind of refreshing to read McCulloch later cop to the pseudo-profundity of some of his earlier lyrics- I often found that off-putting, especially mid-Bunnymen. I think it works best to think of those lyrics as just part of a soundscape- like Cocteau Twins gibberish. The content being more atmospheric than literal- because he's probably the only male singer I can think of that used his voice in that same instrumental/abstract way that Frasier, Sioux and even Bjork would do. His range was pretty wild, and it works just as a sonic "field", not a traditional ballad -type of vocal, and I think it's best to let go of any deep pretensions of literary depth that he once felt the need to do back in the day. So I was glad to hear him admit that he didn't know *$@$ about the Duchess Of Malfi, etc etc. because that stuff used to really bug me.
I think people oversold his lyrical abilities - had those lyrics been sung by a less powerful voice, they may've sounded pretty silly. Ian's power was always in his ability to vocally carve out a whole universe of nameless feeling and just pure sonic beauty. Cocteau Twins & Siouxsie could do the same- they could sing pure blather and still send shivers down your spine; McCulloch was the male counterpart to that new post-punk vocal style.
So it ends around early 2000s, and you get a sense of the hopeful but possibly rocky road ahead for them creatively.
I take it back - there are some funny anecdotes: Ian buying up 29 cases of hairspray as it's being pulled from the market to prevent ozone damage (thanks for global warming, Mac!) and a passed-out Ian under the table asking Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek "Aren't you dead?". So yes, there are funny moments, but I'm sure that a drunken ranty McCulloch could fill a whole book's worth--- more please!
Would have been better if the author credited the interviews the band quotes were from. Having done one for Rockpool magazine in 1990 it would have been nice to see the magazine the interview appeared it at least named. Kind of weird to just come upon quotes from an interview I did way back when...
It's a great book for fans. I enjoyed it. Best thing about it is that Ian McCulloch's quotes over the years are unparalleled: funny, witty, sometimes outrageous and more often amazingly accurate and true. I also liked reading about Ian and Will's favorite music. Well recommended!
This book goes especially well with the Julian Cope book Head On, which details the rise of The Teardrop Explodes and has sections pertaining to Ian McCulloch and their co-written song "Books" (or "Read It In Books" depending on which band you are listening to) which both bands recorded their own version of in their early days. There are also chapters that detail the representation from Zoo records for both bands during their ascent to fame, and situations where Ian McCullogh's version of events differ from Julian Cope's which are rather interesting as well. Both books together are a great read!
I'm a die-hard Bunnymen fan, and on the whole, I learned quite a bit, both about the band's history and about the personalities of everyone involved. The drawback is that Ian McCulloch is the source of well over half of the quotations that make up the book, and lots of his comments were made well after the songs and events he's talking about. I would have preferred more from other band members and more contemporaneous commentary - but I'm sure the author would have liked that too!
The feature of the book that makes it a permanent reference is the inclusion of EVERY lyric from the Bunnymen, up through "Flowers." (The Mac solo albums' lyrics are also included, while the Ian-less period's lyrics are omitted.) Alongside each lyric is commentary relating to it, which is often quite informative.