ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN
Whipping their dazzling peacock, no, ostrich feather repertoire behind them they’re still one of the most fabulous creatures ever to have jumped out of the magic hat of British music - NME Live Review
In January 2001, Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch, the founding members, and driving forces behind Echo & The Bunnymen since 1978, were at The Dairy, a studio in South London, finishing he mixes for Flowers, their eighth full length album. The two of them were working close together, having fun and hit a creative peak on a par with those halcyon days of 1984 when they were writing and recording the classic Ocean Rain record. For the new album, Ian and Will worked together for ten days writing the songs before recording them in their home town of Liverpool. Alongside Ian and Will were three local players; Alex Gleave (bass), Vinny Jamieson (drums) and Ceri James (keyboards).
The first fruits of this latest Bunnymen venture were the single It’s Alright released in April followed by the release of the album Flowers in May, on Cooking Vinyl. The second single Make Me Shine was released in August 2001. The album garnered some of the best reviews of their career with The Times suggesting it was their best since the ’comeback’ in 1997 and The Independent considering it their best to date. ’Flowers’ is an instantly recognisable Bunnymen record which hints persistently and remarkably at their astonishing debut LP from 1980, ’Crocodiles’, with its chiming guitars, psychedelic flashes, melodic hooks and plenty of Will Sergeant ’weirdness’. As of old, it’s driven by a powerful drum sound and looping bass lines underpinning Ian McCulloch’s self-styled crooning and impassioned vocals.
Echo & The Bunnymen also released a four CD retrospective box set in 2001, entitled ’Crystal Days - 1979 - 1999’ which featured the rare, the unreleased, the lost and the live over 72 tracks, starting from the original version of ’Monkeys’ through to selections from 1999’s ’What Are You Going To Do With Your Life’.
The band have toured extensively throughout the rest of 2001, starting with a sold out U.K. tour in May, followed by shows in Scandinavia at the beginning of June. The Bunnymen then did a sold out North American tour in July, before jetting off to Japan to headline the Red Stage at the Fuji Rock Festival, and finally ending six weeks of touring with six shows in Australia, their first gigs there in nearly 20 years.
August 17th & 18th saw the Bunnymen play two amazing shows in their hometown, Liverpool, at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). The shows were recorded for their first official live Bunnymen album & DVD, both released in 2002.
A very successful promotion trip to Brazil at the end of September for Mac saw him perform live on nearly all the top radio & TV stations.