Thirty years of song from the man who fronted Teardrop Explodes

Julian Cope: venom and vituperation for tyrants
Julian Cope: venom and vituperation for tyrants

Julian Cope

Trades Club, Hebden Bridge

Julian Cope performed to a packed Trades Club in Hebden Bridge with a range of songs spanning more than 30 years.

The former Teardrop Explodes frontman relished the intimate setting, chatting to the crowd and offering a selection of songs from his back catalogue, plus material from the latest album.

Sporting a military-style peaked cap, he briefly turned his back on the audience to exchange sunglasses for another, presumably more impenetrable, pair.

Introducing each song, he talks about the issues that inspired the lyrics, while constantly fretting over the tune coming from his guitar.

Nestling somewhere between eccentricity and unorthodoxy, Cope talks openly about his personal meltdown in the Teardrop aftermath.

He tells how he quit drinking alcohol for 21 years – only to be reintroduced to it by a burly Russian in the foothills of Mount Ararat.


Frequently switching between guitar and keyboards, he used the Mellotron to play an array of numbers, including Head Hang Low and Julian in the Underworld – his cautionary tale about drugs.

It seems it is Cope’s mission to be unconventional.

Is this the same man who is an esteemed authority on neolithia, writing copiously about the subject?

Julian reserves much venom and vituperation for tyrants and despots – especially Cromwell who is lambasted in the folk song Cromwell in Ireland.

Julian Cope warns that his show “invokes the threat of bombast”.

Hmm, well it’s certainly crammed with thought-provoking stuff.

I found myself drawn to his music, intrigued to know more.

Simon Wilkinson