An Interview with Bill Drummond

Bill Drummond does not have the prestige of some of our past interviewees, and while not a household name, he does deserve some credit for his turd polishing exploits with' Echo and the Bunnymen' and 'Teardrop Explodes' . But his main attention seeking stunts have been carried out as one half of the K Foundation, notably burning a million quid; they also presented forty thousand to Rachel Whiteread for being the ' year's worst artist' as a lame-arsed protest against the Turner Prize . Yet most people remember him as the bloke who got away with making Tammy Wynnette sing 'we're justified and we're ancient and we drive an ice cream van' with KLF. Not surprising that some time back this site asked the rhetorical question ' Why is Bill Drummond such a plonker?' Anyway, it got back to the tea swilling water colourist and this interview is by way of a 'right to reply'.

"Drummond is many things, and one of those things is a magician. (...) Art is magic, and so is pop. Bill Drummond is a cultural magician, and 45 is his logbook. Shelve alongside Brian Eno's" A Year With Swollen Appendices. Hail Discordia!" - Charles Shaar Murray, The Independent -( just shelve it altogether)


V.M. So Bill, at the age of thirty three and a third you made an album of autobiographical songs and now at forty five you have written a similar book ; at seventy eight you say you will read it again. When you are ninety nine will you buy an ice cream and if so will you have two flakes as ninety nine is twice forty five plus nine? On 'Axis Bold As Love', Hendrix posed the question' what if six were nine', which would mean ninety nine could be ninety six? Question Mark and the Mysterions had a hit in 1966 with 'Ninety Six Tears', would you like to ask me a question?

B.D. A tin of Tennant's Super is six and five eighths inches high and two and nine sixteenths in diameter. It would take 6,250 tins to make the smallest solid cube which would measure five feet six and three quarter inches and weigh three tons and six hundredweight. How long would it take to build?

V.M. OK, let's try a different tack. Why do you drink so much tea?

B.D. I drink tea with my mum. My mother has a painting hanging in her hallway. Lots of dark greens and and thick browns. It's the back of a rundown house and its overgrown garden in Northampton. It's the last painting I ever painted; I was nineteen. When I was painting it I felt a rush of energy and excitement go through me that I had never felt before. I thought I was going to have a glorious life painting canvas after canvas, riding the untamed creative force within me. The painting is rubbish; every time I visit my mum I'm shocked by how bad it is.

V.M. In my research for this article, I discovered that a Proffesor William E. Drummond runs the Foundation for Fusion Studies at the University Of Texas. You and James Cauty have pulled off a few stunts as the K Foundation. Have you any interest in theoretical plasma physics?

B.D. The Algonquin tribe of red indians have a mythical hero called Kluskave. Born of a virgin he fights his evil brother and after the great flood creates a new world from a piece of mud. Bunnymen are the scattered tribes that populate the northern rim of the world and are followers of this mythical being, a divine spirit, a prime mover who takes the earthly form of a rabbit.

V.M. Good stuff! And he has two K's in his name. The name Norman Wisdom has no repeated letters and neither have the words 'bad wisdom'. You published a book in 1996 called Bad Wisdom .I was relieved to find that it was not about Norman, for whom the Club has a great affection, so what was it about?

B.D. It wasabout a hundred and fifty pages ha ha! No, seriously though, it's about a journey that Gimpo, Z and I made from Helsinki to as near the North Pole as we could get. We took with us an icon of Elvis Presley; we believed that if we placed our icon of Elvis at the very summit of the Earth, it would radiate good vibes down the longitudes and bring about world peace.

V.M. You have collaborated with the well known acid casualty and performer Julian Cope since the early days of your career ,and even written a song about his anticipated death. Would you cite him as influential in your activities or are you as daft as each other?

B.D. Actually, Julian is on his way round for a mushroom omelette and a pot of tea so I think you had better go.

V.M. Bye then Bill

B.D. Bye Vic