Pop Quiz: Echo and the Bunnymen

Aidin Vaziri | Even though Echo and the Bunnymen spent most of the year celebrating their glory days by playing the classic 1984 album “Ocean Rain” in concert with a full orchestra, the band also slipped out its most vibrant release in ages, “The Fountain.” Produced by British pop svengali John McLaughlin and featuring guest vocals by Coldplay’s Chris Martin on the title track, the group’s 11th studio album finds front man Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant – who parted ways in 1988 and reunited in 1994 – striding forward at full force even as they look back. We spoke with McCulloch, 50, by phone from New York before the band returned to Liverpool for its annual hometown Christmas shows.

Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen
Q: What do you think of all the new bands that try to sound like you?
A: There are so many rubbish bands out there that get compared to us and there’s no way they can fit in our boots. What do people see in them? It’s just a real ugly version of beauty. Loads of people get into the Bunnymen because they see us at a festival or because NME is saying go out and get our album and Bloc Party. I think they’re the worst band. I can’t wait to meet them and tell them so. The problem is they believe they’re good. But they are the worst, most tuneless band I’ve heard.
Q: You played “Ocean Rain” on tour this year. Was it as good as the first time?
A: Yeah. The new masterstroke we’re going to pull is we’re going to play “Crocodiles” from start to finish. Playing these records is the greatest idea I ever came up with. It’s a master class for anyone who’s ever been in a band that isn’t quite as good as the band I’m in. We’ll get inducted into the hall of fame of rock or whatever it is.
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