12 Reasons Why Ian McCulloch Was the Kanye West of the ’80s

During the ’80s, Ian McCulloch, the lead singer of Echo & The Bunnymen, was every music journalist’s favorite interview subject, thanks to a tendency - one which he still possesses even now - to deliver absurdly bold declarations destined to be pull quotes. If you thought Kanye West was the king of outrageous statements, it’s time you were introduced to “Mac the Mouth.”

1) “I only ever wanted, since the age of 13, to be the best singer of the best band in the world.” - Spin, 2008

2) “The Bunnymen are the most important band to ever put an album out. And the Beatles, maybe the Stones. I think we’re up there in the top ten greatest bands of all time.” - Exclaim.ca, 2009

3) “How can you not sell the first three Bunnymen albums? It’s like, how can you not sell the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers,’ and ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Hieronymus Bosch?” - Spin, 2008

4) On the matter of Echo and the Bunnymen’s 1984 album, Ocean Rain, McCulloch told Spin in 2008, “It’s the greatest record ever made.”

5) Five years later, McCulloch expanded on his opinion in an interview with The Guardian: “When you’ve got the greatest songs in the history of time, the greatest band in the world and the greatest singer, you’re obviously talking about it as a masterpiece. I listen to Ocean Rain more than What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye.”

6) “You don’t need to read The Bible, and you can listen to ‘The Killing Moon’ and get as much out of it. It’s the greatest song ever written.” – Uncut, 2008

7) When Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, the authors of Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s, spoke with McCulloch about “The Killing Moon,” he was equally forthright, both on that subject as well as his longstanding feelings about one of his musical peers:

“I know there are people out there who appreciate (‘The Killing Moon’) and love it. It might not be right for 100,000 people with cowboy hats on singing ‘Where the Streets Have No Name.’ I suggest they get their local sheriff on the case if their streets have no name. Bono – Nobo, that’s his fucking name. What a gibbering, leprechaunish twat. He’s up to no good. He’s more out of his mind htan I’ve ever seen anybody, and that includes Mel Gibson on the David Letterman show when his head spun around 360 times. He’s the most banal, buffooneried-up, fucking leprechaun. He’s kissed more Blarney Stones than I’ve had hot dinners. I wish they’d been toxic so he’d fuck off.”

8) “It feels like there’s hundreds of bands in Liverpool. There’s some okay ones… But really we’re the only one I can think of as being a potentially great band…” - NME, 1980

9) “(Joy Division are) a bit overrated, I think. They’re very good live, but on record…” - NME, 1985

10) “I remember one day at the studio (Chris Martin of Coldplay) turned up in a T-shirt and trainers, but with his socks pulled right up to his knees! I felt sorry for him. He hasn’t got a clue when it comes to style.” - Atomic Duster, 2003

11) “I think the idea that The Smiths were the most significant British group of the ‘80s is just soddin’ nonsense. I think they may have been significant to a few disaffected ugly people, but that’s about it. I don’t want to put ‘em down, but if the Smiths were symbolic of the ‘80s, maybe that’s why music ended up goin’ nowhere, in a cul-de-sac in Rochdale. It’s like Morrissey at some point thought, ‘Right, I’ll drag this entire generation into me little soddin’ bedsit where the walls are all goin’ black with damp and that’s where we’ll all wallow.’ ‘E was as wet as they come, Morrissey. Like, if in doubt, eat vegetables. Sod off, ‘Meat is Murder.’ What a soddin’ paltry, pathetic thing to say. I mean, try tellin’ that to a cow.” – Uncut, 2004

12) “I’m not a great mingler – I think most bands are rubbish.” - Rolling Stone, 2009

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