Here is the English version of an interview I recently did for the German music magazine ‘Orkus’ #05 Mai edition. I was asked to list the 5 most important/influential albums in my Life which obviously led to some notable exclusions from the likes of Joe Meek, more Beatles, David Bowie, Sex Pistols/Clash, Kraftwerk etc.
The feature was entitled ‘Soundtrack of My Life’;
“I’m sure everyone says 5 all time great albums is far too few but I will attempt to explain why the following came to mind today – immediately:
The Beatles – ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’
This was the album I listened to most whilst on LSD between 1973-75 with my best friend at the time who went on to become a very famous actor. I remember he even went out and bought a blue satin jacket to mimick Paul McCartney’s look on the sleeve! It was a complete recording on all levels of interpretation, presentation, mystification and inspiration. It even had a terrible track on it with ‘When I’m 64’ which was useful during the tripping experience because it gave you the opportunity to have a mental break from the overal intensity before the roller coaster rush to the End. And, it really was the end after ‘A Day In The Life’!
The Velvet Underground – ‘Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground Featuring Nico’
This was the first record I owned by The Velvet Underground. It was a double compilation of most of the first 2 albums plus a few tracks from their 3rd and the gatefold sleeve was a groovy pastiche of an Andy Warhol screen print. I couldn’t believe how brilliant this group’s compilation was and it taught me the importance of compilations sounding whole. I became hooked on The Velvet Underground and the future solo careers of the main protagonists after listening to that. When Albin Julius of Der Blutharsch told me that the first Death In June compilation ‘Lesson 1: Misanthropy’ had a similar effect upon him I was very pleased Death In June had entered that particular arena of importance and had, inturn, inspired or influenced or encouraged such a gifted individual.
Joy Division – ‘Unknown Pleasures’
I had read about Joy Division whilst on tour in Norway with Crisis in August/September 1979 as ‘Unknown Pleasures had just been released. I was really curious about them and as soon as I returned to England ‘Unknown Pleasures’ was one of the first albums I bought. At first I didn’t ‘get it’! It didn’t click. All the songs illuded me but, it kept drawing me back and I kept playing it over and over again alongside The Ramones ‘Road To Ruin’ and The Buzzcocks ‘Love Bites’ which were my favourite records of the time. Suddenly one evening whilst washing my hair ‘Unkown Pleasures’ finally dawned on me. I had an epiphany with my head over the bath washing my hair and I knew this was the new way! Those experiences happen when you least expect it!! I saw them perform live as often as I could in London after that. I was lucky I did considering how short a time Ian Curtis had to live.
Psychic TV – ‘Force The Hand Of Chance’
Listening to ‘Hymn From The Temple’ was very important to me in 1982. I listened. I paid attention. I acted upon the advice and inspiration. Many of the people involved in this recording began to walk into my Life after that and the rest, naturally, is History.
Love – ‘Forever Changes’/ Charles Manson – ‘Love & Terror Cult’
For me listening to Arthur Lee is like listening to Charles Manson and listening to Charles Manson is like listening to the other side of the same coin so perhaps I can make 6 into 5, keep it in the same Family and continue to keep within the confines of your question? The incomplete cassette tape of ‘Forever Changes’ that David Tibet gave me in 1983 and the bootleg LP of the Manson Family I probably bought at The Rough Trade Shop in London at about the same time really shifted, altered and re-affirmed my musical and cultural aspirations. Their juxtaposition of melodic songs with ugly and difficult lyrics never fails to impress me –
“Oh garbage man, oh garbage man, – the snot has caked against my legs, it has turned into Crystal…”
What more can I say?
Thank the Gods my electric guitar was stolen as well, I bought an acoustic and I became, if not part of the Love Parade, at least part of The Love Family! Heilige! Douglas P.”