THE TEARDROP EXPLODES : Piano
I'm posting this one as I mislaid my copy in a housemove a couple of years ago &, as it slipped in & out of print so quickly, it's already become pretty scarce. It's on Amazon at the moment for a paltry £33+ - tres irritating considering I picked mine up for peanuts in a library sale (50p tops!). Tsk.
Piano is actually a bit of a botch job in retrospect. Inadequately packaged in a flimsy "will this do"-type booklet with rudimentary graphics & minimal info, many of the tracks are disappointingly mastered from "vintage" vinyl (allegedly because copyright holder Bill Drummond has misplaced the master tapes!). Surely it's about time Herr Cope & his ex-manager set aside their lingering differences & gave this stuff the thorough remastering 'n' repackaging job it obviously deserves? Tracks 1-7 made up the band's first 3 Zoo 7"s (released 1979-80) & are essentially lo-fi demos for their later Kilimanjaro incarnations (the debut EP sounds like it might've been recorded in Droolian's bedroom for maximum cheapness!). The audaciously skeletal version of "Sleeping Gas" included here remains a pulsating Nuggets-style garagepop gem, regardless of budget (or lack of). Long forgotten new wave nobodies The Freshies immediately responded to their difficulty in obtaining original copies of the "Bouncing Babies" 7" in their "I Can't Get Bouncing Babies By The Teardrop Explodes" single (Smash Hits liked it!). Odder still, The Freshies were fronted by Chris Sievey who went on to find fame & relative fortune as Mr. Frank Sidebottom! The final 3 songs first appeared on Zoo's semi-legendary "To The Shores Of Lake Placid" collection. One of 'em, the deeply weird "Kwalo Klobinsky's Lullaby" (an intriguing title Cope would revisit on Kilimanjaro, it's actually a sort-of dub version of "Sleeping Gas"), was originally credited to Whopper, a kind of parallel Earth version of The Teardrop Explodes. Whopper were fronted by Cope's shortlived Kevin Stapleton alter ego, a Liverpool-bred equivilent to MES's Roman Totale from what I gather. Things were gettting pretty psychedelic down at ClubZoo at this point, by all accounts...!
I've no idea what Cope's official line is on Piano but it's swift deletion suggests he wasn't entirely pleased. In omitting various key tracks (or substituting them with vastly inferior demo or live versions), Head Heritage's own collection of songs from this period, Zoology, hardly set the world on fire either, did it? Btw, I sourced this upload of Piano from Wilfully Obscure (always worth a look) &, for curiosity's sake, I'm including a shaky recording of an early hometown live show from Eric's, circa 1979 (c/o the terrific Music...isms, the world's finest Liverpool-orientated blog or I'm Pete Wylie).
Piano / Eric's
TX Update: No doubt I've been terribly slow off the mark here, but I've just spotted that two long lost (on CD anyway) Teardrops' songs, the 'baroque strings' version of "Suffocate" (previously unreleased I think) & the brilliant "Christ Vs. Warhol" (originally the b-side of "Passionate Friend") are both available on Mercury's visually insipid The Greatest Hit cash-in comp from 2001. Both are undisputable must-haves, so much so that I momentarily lost my marbles & purchased them c/o iTunes...!