86 miles ENE of London in East Bergholt. Village pop: 3,000, Pubs: 15
When I was a kid, I made a big mistake and chose the flute, probably because the girl next door played it and I’d get a ride with her to lessons. I spent way more time, ultimately, putting on my older brothers’ and sisters’ records at one end of the room and running to the piano trying to get there in time to playing along to Beatles, Bowie, Stones, Zappa, Beefheart, Eno, Floyd. I was in Sheffield, UK, for many years, involved in the thriving music scene that still lives today. The Dylans (Beggars Banquet) was one of the less scary bands I was in. I was the Hammond organ guy. Back then there was a weird infatuation with terrifying things like the DX7. It wasn’t for me, I kept to the deeply unfashionable sound that eventually came back into favor. I first came to US on tour with The Dylans in ’91. First show was CBGBs and I knew on that trip I’d be back to live here someday. It became home in ’98.
Melomane (who are taking a break from 10 years non-stop action) – wurlitzer, organ, synths, guitar, vocals. Room – Keys. Bad Reputation (The Georges Brassens Translation Project led by Melomane buddy Pierre de Gaillande) – Charango, Flute, Xylophone
I was a student in London and that was all I needed to hear for many weeks. If there had been ipods then I would probably have only had that on it – but I was poor too. A brutal blast of sonic fun. The exuberance, the pain, the celebratory decadence. That guitar solo in Success… I mean, come on.
We were punks. We were burying the old gits and their self-indulgent pomp, their concept albums. Then what happens? One of the grittiest new bands come out with a punk concept album? Very confusing, very good. All the best punk didn’t bury classy melody, no, punk plucked it out of the soft velvety cushions of the VIP room we couldn’t get into and let us kick it around in the streets. Melody is strong enough to take anything.
It changed me. It was so uncomfortably beautiful. It fit in all the holes you’d rather leave empty.
Just brilliant. Every note on the whole damn thing. The intros to each song just opened up my head when I was a kid. I’d drop the needle on the beginning on Public Animal No. 9 and leg it to the piano, many times, trying to figure out that piano riff. I was maybe 13, didn’t know the word “funky”, but knew that sound made me want to do somethng – probably something bad.
Given to me on my 18th birthday. I was already Bowiefied but this album nailed the instability of the time, the arrival of modernism as a normal, humdrum, everyday thing. Modern was no longer about the future, possibly it was about now; real, normal, current, actual, happening, unsurprising, unmysterious. Monsters caught that mood for me and my weird friends but it also looked forward. Bowie always did.