Ian Stephen McCulloch (born 5 May 1959) is an English singer, born in Liverpool, and frontman for the rock group Echo & the Bunnymen.
McCulloch was a singer-songwriter with the Crucial Three, one of many local bands that sprung up amongst the regulars who patronized a Liverpool club called Eric's in the late seventies. The other two members were Julian Cope, later of The Teardrop Explodes and Pete Wylie who went on to form Wah!
In 1978 McCulloch formed Echo & the Bunnymen with Will Sergeant (guitar), Les Pattinson (bass) and a drum machine (allegedly named Echo), making their live debut at Eric's later that year. In 1979 the Bunnymen exchanged the drum machine for Pete de Freitas on drums. With their line up solidified, the Bunnymen enjoyed critical acclaim in the late seventies and early eighties culminating with the release of Ocean Rain in 1984. McCulloch left to pursue a solo career under the impression the Bunnymen would be laid to rest if only temporarily. When the remaining Bunnymen continued using the name with new singer Noel Burke, the split became permanent with McCulloch referring to the band as "Echo & the Bogusmen".
In 1990 McCulloch achieved modest chart success with the album Candleland which reflected a more mature outlook on the world, owing to the recent deaths of McCulloch's father and Pete de Freitas. It yielded two Modern Rock Tracks singles, "Proud To Fall" (#1 for four weeks) and "Faith and Healing". The album Mysterio was released in 1992 as the public's interest in the former Bunnyman was waning. Shortly after, McCulloch left the public eye to devote more time to his family.
In 1993 McCulloch partnered with Johnny Marr of The Smiths, writing an album's worth of material and generating public excitement over the collaboration of two highly regarded artists. McCulloch has credited Marr with helping him regain his lost confidence and rejuvenating his desire to create music. When it was suggested that Will Sergeant be brought in to work on the songs, the tapes were allegedly stolen from a courier van preventing Sergeant from offering any input.
The rekindling of the relationship between McCulloch and Sergeant led to the formation of Electrafixion in 1994 which was notable for band's rock oriented approach and McCulloch's new found vocal ferocity. The band received glowing live reviews and released the album Burned to very positive press but little chart success. The band soon found themselves performing set lists composed of half Electrafixion songs and half Echo & the Bunnymen songs. In 1997 Echo & the Bunnymen reformed and released the album Evergreen to positive reviews and chart success. The reformed Bunnymen have since released four further albums to generally favourable reviews, the most recent being The Fountain which was released in late 2009.
In 2003 McCulloch released his third solo album Slideling which received the best reviews of his solo career and saw a solo tour in support of the album.
McCulloch has cited Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, The Doors, Leonard Cohen and - in particular - David Bowie as influences for his work.
At the height of the Bunnymen's popularity, McCulloch earned the nickname "Mac the Mouth" due to a penchant for witty, blunt criticism of artists he deemed inferior, while proclaiming the Bunnymen's superiority. Targets of his observations included Bono of U2, Julian Cope, Paul Weller and Nick Cave.
In 1998, McCulloch teamed up with the Spice Girls, Tommy Scott of Space and Simon Fowler of Ocean Colour Scene as "England United" to record "Top of the World", the official song for Team England in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, although it fared less well than a reissue of "Three Lions". He enjoyed more success working as a sort of 'associate producer' with Coldplay. Mac has been a lifetime supporter of the Liverpool Football Club. In 2006, he took part in recording the team's anthem with the Bootroom Allstars - a remake of the Johnny Cash song, "Ring of Fire".
In 1983 McCulloch married Lorraine Fox. They have two daughters, Candy and Mimi. The couple separated in late 2003.
McCulloch was raised in the Norris Green area of Liverpool. The road on which he originally lived, Parthenon Drive, is the title of a song contained in the 2005 Echo & the Bunnymen album, Siberia. He was educated at Alsop High School.
See also: Echo & the Bunnymen discography and Electrafixion
Candleland, 1989 - UK #18
Mysterio, 1992 - UK #46
U.S. Billboard Hot 100
UK Singles Chart
"Proud to Fall"
"Faith and Healing"
"Lover Lover Lover"
"Dug for Love"
All lyrics are property of their respective owners and are strictly for non-commercial use only.