Julian Cope enjoyed mainstream success when his band the Teardrop Explodes burst into the charts in 1981. Cope didn't like what he found and eventually took his own creative and varied path. This has resulted in albums, books, protests and championing music by artists he admires. With an appearance by Julian Cope being presented by SWN at the Globe in October we thought you might be interested to learn more about this true British original.
Julian Cope originally played in the Crucial Three a band that also featured Ian McCullough (Echo & the Bunnymen) and Pete Wylie (Wah!). In reality the band didn't play live or record but did kick start all three members into their respective careers. Cope formed the Teardrop Explodes in 1978 and although labelled post punk, the band were essentially a psychedelic pop band. Their early singles on Zoo Records lead to a deal with Mercury and their first album Kilimanjaro made the top 30 helped by the success of the single " Reward ". At early stage personnel problems erupted and the forced departure of guitarist Mick Finkler suggested that Cope wasn't ideally suited to the democratic nature of a permanent band arrangement.
The follow up album Wilder was more focussed on Cope's song writing and was less commercially successful. Attempts to record a third album proved fatal and the band split in 1982 after an acrimonious UK tour.
Julian Cope initially pursued a solo career with albums such as World Shut your Mouth and Fried. However, these weren't huge sellers and as a result Island refused to release his music. This lead to a long running feud that was only finally resolved in 1991 when he released Peggy Suicide considered by many to be his best solo album. However the follow up Jehovakill sold even less copies and Island and Cope finally parted company. After a brief spell on Rick Rubin's Def American label Julian Cope has steered clear of the traditional route of labels and deals.
His output over the past 20 years has been substantial, varied and has allowed him to pursue the things that fascinate and interest him. He has written numerous books including a definitive study on German music in the 1970s " Krautrocksampler ", Japanese music " Japrocksampler " and ancient stone circles in Britain " The Modern Antiquarian ". He has continued to record and releases music through is website and continues to play live throughout Europe.
Julian Cope remains a true original and is a genuine example of an artist driven by the desire to be creative rather than the pursuit of fame or fortune.
SWN presents Julian Cope at the Globe in Cardiff on Saturday 29 th October. Tickets are available priced £17.50 at:
World Shut Your Mouth (1984)
Peggy Suicide (1991)
Black Sheep (2008)
Public Image Ltd
John Cooper Clarke
The Incredible String Band