Here we are in December’s 20’s already, it’s December 20th and Day 20 of this years advent calendar blog posts. Regular readers will know that this years theme is the ABC of British bands. The 20th letter of the alphabet as I hope all of you know is ‘T’. As a big fan of a certain fellow called Julian I have chosen the Teardrop Explodes for this post.
Wikipedia describes the Teardrop Explodes as post-punk/ neo-psychedelic; what the fuck does that mean when it’s at home? Can a band not just be a good band or great band? I am guilty of slotting music into genres on occasions, but post-punk/ neo-psychedelic? That is more pretentious than a thousand Nigel Farage clones.
Head Teardrop was Julian Cope, an artist who I really love. Dave Balfe was in the band, he went on to set up Food Records. Troy Tate who later produced the Smiths was also a Teardrop. The band formed in the rather incestuous music scene in Liverpool in 1978. The band signed to Zoo Records which was run by Dave Balfe and future KLF man Bill Drummond. Part of the appeal of the Teardrop Explodes for me was the eccentricity and fragility of Julian Cope. He once said “”I was goaded into becoming a rock star by Bill Drummond and the pseudo-intellectual side of me thought it would be quite charming.”
They were always more of a cult band given their limited chart success. Although their single “Reward” is a mainstay of many 80s compilation albums. It was also the bands highest charting single, reaching number 6 in the UK charts in 1981. Their first album, released in 1980 was ‘Kilimanjaro’ from which they eventually released five singles. Aside from compilations they released another two albums; ‘Wilder’ in 1981 and after the band came together again briefly in the late 80s ‘Everybody Wants To Shag The Teardrop Explodes’ in 1990.
The band took their name from a frame in a Marvel comic. Daredevil # 77 to be precise. Will the band ever get back together? Probably not, when Julian Cope was asked that question some years ago he replied; “Would you ever return to having your mother wipe your asshole?”. The Freshies featuring Chris Sievey who went on to become Frank Sidebottom released a single in 1981 called “I Can’t Get ‘Bouncing Babies’ By The Teardrop Explodes”.