The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Thirsty For Song: James Johnston Of Gallon Drunk's Favourite LPs
Julian Marszalek , November 16th, 2016 09:31

As well as being the lynchpin of suited rock howlers Gallon Drunk, James Johnston has played with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and PJ Harvey - but we're not going to hold the fact that he's picked both of them for his Baker's Dozen against him. Portrait by Steve Gullick.

Cave_1479226288_resize_460x400

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - From Her To Eternity
The first time I saw The Birthday Party was at Guildford University when I was about 16. About 90% of the audience stood at the back, and there were about two rows at the front going mad. I went up to see them in London a few times after that, the last one being an amazing gig at the Lyceum, I think, supported by Einstürzende Neubauten. Just unbelievable.

When this came out after they split up it was such a jolt; it seemed so strange, a totally new terrain and a bit like the surprise of first hearing the first PiL album when it came out. It's so unusual and angular, with these incredible guitar parts and it felt so fresh, original and thrilling. The title track sounded like nothing I'd ever heard before, like Mars off The Planets gone berserk, or Stravinsky meets No Wave, you know, 'what the hell is this!?'

The first time I heard it I just didn't know what to make of it, I just needed to hear it again and get lost in its mad, intense drama, with one of the most intense vocal takes I can think of. Unbelievable. A statement record, totally wild, unhinged and brilliant.


If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.