Echo and Bunnymen still going strong 

Echo and the Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch should be excited to talk about his current tour in which the group is performing its first two catalog classics, “Crocodiles” and “Heaven Up Here.” But he’s literally more interested in discussing the weather. “What’s it like there now?” he asks about the Bay Area. “I basically just love the skies in San Francisco, because they have great clouds in them, totally unlike mine in Liverpool.” Does he write about them? “Nah, I don’t really sing about places or specific anything,” he replies. “I’m always quite cryptic and vague!”     

Do you write in the morning or at night? When you’re happy or sad? Generally at night. And not so much when I’m sad, but when I’m melancholic or apprehensive — I definitely write better, more meaningful stuff then. The more profound you’re feeling, the more profound you write, I think. It’s when you’re happy that you’re more like, “Hey, let’s go to the pub!” Then when you’ve been to the pub and you’ve maybe had one drink too many, that’s when you start writing. When you’re feeling sorry for yourself.

Is there a new Bunnymen album coming? I’ve been working on loads of songs for the next one, but as of yet, we haven’t gone into the studio. And I don’t want to set this in stone, but it’s kind of about retribution. Not vengeance so much, but coming from the side of bad people, almost the bogeyman. Because the bogeyman does exist. He’s on every block in every city in the world. So it’s some subtle writing about that kind of thing — the wrongs of the world, and self-doubt and guilt. I’m writing a bit more politically, albeit very subtly.

What do you think of Diane Birch’s cover of “Bring on the Dancing Horses”? I like it. It’s as close to Dolly Parton doing it as I could imagine. I was pleased that someone had found that song, because I always thought The Killers would’ve made a No. 1 record out of it. So I’d love for more people to do that with our songs.

Did the overwhelming response to your “Ocean Rain” tour feel like vindication? In the advert for the “Crocodiles”/“Heaven Up Here” gigs, the subtitle is “A master class in rock and roll.” So I don’t know if that’s vindication or retribution, in that sense. But if a group came out with a first and second album these days, anything like those? Well, I don’t think any band has since then! And “Porcupine’s” no piece of s--- either. So I always think of our first four albums as the spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts of the Bunnymen.


Echo and the Bunnymen

Where: The Warfield, 982 Market St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. today

Tickets: $35 to $45

Contact: (800) 745-3000,

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Tom Lanham

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