A tall Scottish man with a Billy Connolly delivery, Bill Drummond firstly announced his age, 55, and that he believed in the death of recorded music. Launching his latest book, The 17, based on the number of performers he needed to recreate the engine noise of his battered landrover, Drummond refused to talk about some of the more colourful aspects of his past. These include managing Echo and the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes (with the wonderful Julian Cope), starting the K Foundation and giving the Turner prize winner Rachel Whiteread, £40,000 (double the Turner prize winnings) for being the “worst artist of the year”, and most notably burning a million pounds in cash.
“Let me take you down… because I’m going to…”
“All the stuff was old. All of the new stuff was old stuff. None of it opened a door…”
Drummond went down to the bottom of his garden, where, in the time-honoured tradition of British men, he had a shed, locked the shed door and got out ‘Pet Sounds’ by the Beach Boys. By the last track, ‘Good Vibrations’ he was weeping. He even played air guitar. He made a new decision:
” for the next 12 months I will only listen to artists whose names begin with ‘B’.”
“For the next 26 years I’ve got it all worked out. I assumed that in 26 years time, I’d be listening to the ‘A’s’.”
“It sounded like 100 Vikings in my head. For 20 minutes, it was totally intense. This opened a door.”
For the next 6 or 7 years he tried to make those noises into a reality.
“Nobody in their right mind would listen to bagpipe music on a CD. But, live, we would have followed that music anywhere. Church bells have the same effect.This is Year Zero for music. There is very little difference musically between the music of 1977 (punk) and the music of 1964. Pop music doesn’t change, just the technology.”