Verovany vs. Noel Burke


Five years ago, I went to the Czech Republic to learn how to make a marionette. (Do you want to see him? Of course you do.) It was the best – if you have any interest in puppetry or wood carving or animation, you should get your butt over there and do a workshop with Mirek and Leah. Their workshops would make it straight to the finals in the Tournament of Everything.

I went to Prague, however, and not to any adorable small towns like Verovany (I don’t know how to make the little bowl shape over the e). But I did take the train from Prague to Vienna, and saw the Czech countryside which mostly looks like illustrations from a fairy tale, dotted with sweet little red-roofed houses and imposing churches and it’s a really enchanting train ride and I recommend it.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much about Verovany itself, except that it is in the Olomouc region of Czech, which is partly in the historical region of Moravia (which sounds like a fairy tale land), and partly in the historical region of Silesia, which sounds like a fairy tale land where everyone is silly.

The point is that the Czech Republic is a great country where you can eat fried cheese on a bun for dinner and no one will judge you.


Noel Burke

Noel Burke + Echo + Bunnymen

Now way! Success! I actually got something that might be close to the best thing ever! OK, so Noel Burke isn’t the best thing ever. But he did temporarily sing for Echo & the Bunnymen. And while they might not be the best thing ever, for a while there they put together some pretty fucking amazing albums. I’d say their first four albums (Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here, Porcupine and Ocean Rain) released between 1980-1984 are all pretty stellar.

Getting all of these on vinyl for less $10 each at used record stores has been one of my better finds. When I’m home by myself I like to get wasted, put on Porcupine and jump around and New Wave air guitar. But make sure to make it look like I was calmly reading by the time Alison gets home. … So maybe Noel Burke didn’t play a role in those seminal albums. In fact, he only recorded the band’s Reverberation in 1990 when lead singer Ian McCulloch left the group. And maybe that album was their lowest-charting and got really bad reviews and may have led to Echo & the Bunnymen getting dropped from their label and ultimately, their first disbandment in 1993. … Wow, that is a bit of a bummer. Shit, he still got to play with them! And you try replacing McColloch on vocals. Good luck! Being thrown in from a relatively obscure band And he still plays with his old band St. Vitus Dance!, and replacing an icon, he was pretty much doomed to failure from the start. And this in-depth interview with him shows he has no grudges about it.

As it happens, time seems to have been more favourable to the album as it’s gained more respect with age. Listen to this shit, it sounds good! Well done, Noel. (He’s apparently a teacher now. Why weren’t my any of my teachers retired New Wave singers?)

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  

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