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Baker's Dozen

Paid Attention: Johnny Dean Of Menswear's Favourite Albums
Wesley Doyle , June 23rd, 2014 08:11

With a new single from the rejuvenated Menswear recently released, frontman Johnny Dean talks about sax appeal, music as maths and why pop is as much about what you see as what you hear

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"If I'm singing I'm it's gonna be Menswear, it doesn't matter who's playing the instruments." So says Johnny Dean, singer and mouthpiece for original Britpop mischief-makers Menswear. Having dipped his toe back into the waters of the music industry last year with a Bowie covers fundraiser, Dean has now reactivated his former band and, with a brand new line-up, has just released his first new material in 15 years. 'Crash '14' is a collision of Stooges riffing and Roxy archness, and also features that most 80s of signifiers, a squealing sax solo.

"We demoed it with the original line-up and without a doubt it was the best song we did. It was like we'd finally grown and found a sound, but then it suddenly went pear-shaped and we went country rock. Well, some of us did."

This love of love of pop, punk and art school rock is evident throughout Dean's Baker's Dozen. "I wanted to do a 26-album list," he says, "Two Baker's Dozens that each dealt with different themes. In the end I went with albums that have influenced how I make music, the way I look at it, and the way it's presented.

"There's this tendency with musicians to ignore all the albums they liked as kids. We didn't all come out of the womb and start listening to JJ Cale though, we listened to pop and I hate the idea that you have to throw that all away. Britpop was a movement that took all the best things about British music from the past and made something new, but I was still vilified for saying I liked Duran Duran and Japan. It wasn't cool then and I don't know if it is now, but that's definitely where the new Menswear are heading – more synths and more sax!"

'Crash '14' is out now. Menswear play Victorious Festival in Southsea, August 23-24; head to the band's website for full details. Click on Johnny's image below to begin scrolling through his choices

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Jun 23, 2014 2:50pm

Why?

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Reggie P
Jun 23, 2014 3:07pm

Cheers for this, Johnny and the Quietus. Need to have an article on that 'lost' Menswear second album surely? Strings by Sean O'Hagen. Beards.

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Neil
Jun 23, 2014 3:35pm

Yeah... good call. I'd love to hear Scott Walker cover The Killing Moon. I'm sure Ian McCulloch would be interested too.

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BOOF.
Jun 23, 2014 8:12pm

In reply to Reggie P:

In all fairness, having heard it, it ain't that great.

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Jun 23, 2014 9:33pm

In reply to BOOF.:

p.s. Am definitely interested in hearing their "new" stuff though, I'm a seasoned Menswear apologist with regard to their debut. :)

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F Again
Jun 23, 2014 9:46pm

You know, I have no idea who either Johnny Dean or Menswear is- I'm isolated out here in the West Texas desert- but I thoroughly enjoyed this Baker's Dozen. Gracias!

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JB
Jun 24, 2014 8:04am

The Africa Shop is still going in Southend. I remember Johnny on the local scene, going from a long haired grunge kid with a woolly hat to a sharp dressed besuited mod in finger snapping quick time. Never liked Menswear at all but that's a pretty good list, mirroring my youthful Duran Duran and Beastie Boys fixations nicely.

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Jun 24, 2014 12:49pm

What's this guy doing here? Isn't britpop the worst thing to happen to the world in the last half of the twentieth century?

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Reggie P
Jun 24, 2014 2:24pm

In reply to BOOF.:

I quite liked some of the cuts, that Wait For The Sun is rockin' (as the kids say) and I think the first track has great strings....but yes, perhaps not the lost classic I want it to be ;)

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Scott
Jun 24, 2014 5:54pm

Not a bad list of albums, especially like the inclusion of Quiet Life, a brave choice, as no-one admits to liking Japan nowadays, yet they were massive back in the day.

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john p.
Jun 24, 2014 6:29pm

In reply to Scott:

Is that so? I still listen to Quiet Life and Tin Drum a lot. Beautiful stuff that still feels fresh nowadays (Gentleman Take Polaroids doesn't somehow...)

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Scott Sanders
Jun 25, 2014 7:50am

In reply to john p.:

I love Quiet Life, Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Tin Drum and Oil on Canvas too, and still listen to them regularly. I've also followed David Sylvian's solo career. However, Japan do not get the kudos in the media that they deserve.

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Dan Diltch
Jun 26, 2014 6:09pm

What a queef list! Rubbish.

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Jun 27, 2014 8:36pm

Good to see some love for Japan. Great band. Scott doing Killing Moon, now there`s a thought. Someone make it happen.

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