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Baker's Dozen

Elements Of Confusion: Nick McCabe Of Black Submarine's Favourite LPs
Joe Clay , March 11th, 2014 09:21

With New Shores, the long-awaited debut by Black Submarine, out this week, the former Verve guitarist goes from teenage mainstays to recently-heard favourites in his top 13 albums

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The Chameleons – Script Of The Bridge
I had a friend at school that was just as obsessive about music as I was. He was a huge New Order fan. He lent me a really badly taped cassette of Script Of The Bridge. At first I thought it was too dangerously close to prog rock. Around that time, I think I'd just gone to sixth form… What was great about that was meeting people of a like mind. But the place where I came from was a typical Northern small town. I think the idea was probably dawning that there was nothing there and I didn't really belong. I was stuck in my own world with no outlet for it. I spent a lot of time just wandering around and thinking about stuff, and that was the soundtrack to it really. Pissing it down in the North on dark evenings. It sounds like rain in the north-west to me now. I dunno what's good about that.

Was that the start of you thinking you might want to leave the town?

I think I felt a bit trapped. Looking back what I should have done was… If I'd had the wherewithal I should've moved to the city where things were happening. That might have been a good thing for me. I've had this discussion with a few people and they've pointed out that had I done that I wouldn't have pursued the life I did. If I'd met my own people I probably wouldn't have been so dogmatic about it. That's what you need if you're going to chance your arm in something as ridiculous as the music business. You have to be quite blinkered about it. So that sense of isolation probably did me a favour ultimately. That Chameleons album gave me hope, Mark Burgess is the only guy I've ever written a fan letter to. It was on MySpace, a few years back. I just said my life would have been poorer without your music. Mark seems to be someone who has trouble with wearing his heart on his sleeve, which is a very un-Northern trait. Because of that I don't find I can listen to it too much these days. It relates to a time in my life I'd probably rather forget about, but it's still a brilliant record.

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Mar 11, 2014 2:25pm

Sounds like a guy with eclectic tastes, which I didn't expect from knowing his work with The Verve. Good stuff.

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Star sail
Mar 11, 2014 9:15pm

This was a revelation. Full of interesting stories about records that I now look forward to checking out. Always the best thing about this excellent series. (Nick, your music has been a huge part of my life since I - somehow - managed to get into a Verve gig at the Jericho Tavern aged 15.)

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Mar 11, 2014 11:16pm

Seems a nice lad

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Mar 12, 2014 11:34am

Love Nick's guitar playing so much; 'Reprise' from A Northern Soul still gives me goosebumps after about 1000 listens ;)

Nice to see shout-outs for Autechre and Mobb Deep as well...

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Mar 12, 2014 12:37pm

In reply to autechrejambo:

This, totally! Just an astonishing piece of music/guitar playing/alchemy!

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Mar 12, 2014 1:11pm

Great to read about someone's obvious love and passion for music, made me want to check a few things...thanks.

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Mar 13, 2014 10:16am

Sometimes I google 'Life's An Ocean - Jools Holland 1997' to be reminded of the moment when everything I knew about what guitars could and should do was irrevocably changed. This man is a genius in the true sense of the word.

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teddy dogs
Mar 22, 2014 7:29pm

Love Nick's descriptions of why these albums mean so much to him. Can't wait to check out a lot of this stuff.

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lisa m. washer
Mar 24, 2014 8:07pm

I would be the first to comment on nick and simons jones talent as well. My god simon soooo good looking back the and talented and still is. And nick as well,. Too bad richards ego got in the way or who knows the verve might still be together,. I will buy the black suberine c. D. When it comes out look forward to it lol lisa m. Washer

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May 24, 2014 12:32pm

Fantastic interview. Some of the greatest guitar lines in British rock from the 90s come from this guy. There were supposed to be deluxe reissues of A Northern Soul and A Storm In Heaven but it takes all 4 members to sign off on it. Imagine the studio outtakes! Also there was talk of a live Verve record release.

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