shelf life: Bill Drummond reviews his own back catalogue

Bill Drummond
Friday 18 October 1996 23:02 BST

The Illuminatus I designed the sets for this 24-hour play by Ken Campbell. It got a transfer to the Roundhouse but the night before its second run I got scared because my sets were falling apart. I was screwing this toilet bowl into the stage and it cracked, and that was it. I said, "I'm off to buy some glue," and never went back.

Big In Japan

This group only lasted 12 months but that's about as long as any punk band should last. We never got anywhere, but all went on to success later on with bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Teardrop Explodes. Once we managed to con the promoters into putting us top of the bill. The next day we got a review that said, "sadly, they saved the worst 'til last".

Echo and the Bunnymen

After the band fell apart I managed Echo and the Bunnymen. Looking back, I used their career as a canvas to express my own creativity, instead of making them rich. It was selfish but I was too innocent to be a svengali.

The Manual: How to Have A Number 1 the Easy Way

As The Timelords, Jimmy Cauty and I set out to make a post-modern novelty hit. We wanted to make a record that came from nowhere and annoyed the hell out of people. Afterwards I wrote this book. Basically it said you had to be on the dole, watch Top of the Pops every week and if you had any instruments you had to get rid of them. A band called Eidelweiss read it, sampled Swiss yodelling with Abba, and had number ones in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia.


The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu was our crowning moment, pure pop.

The K Foundation

In 1994 we presented an award which mirrored the Turner Prize. People applauded us for attacking contemporary art, but we were saying contemporary art just wasn't contemporary enough. We also burnt a million quid. That was the most perfect thing I've done, it's an icon of the 20th century. Some people thought it was indulgence, others idealism but most were angry we hadn't given it to them.

Bad Wisdom

I wrote this with Mark Manning. It's the story of our journey to plant an icon of Elvis at the North Pole. It wasn't fun. I'm driven by things I wish weren't driving me.

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