Reflecting at length upon his intimate relationship with British music from his office in Nashville, Tennessee, the alt-country veteran at the heart of Lambchop discusses freedom, interpretation and the lasting effect on him of 1970s Sheffield with Luke Cartledge
John Lennon - John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
I was in first form of a school in Sheffield called Silverdale. As a young man, I was overwhelmed by what was happening to me culturally, and I was fascinated by the transition from skinhead to suedehead, and that whole phenomenon really freaked me out. I remember being gravitated toward older students because they seemed to be more into music. I would hang around these guys on the periphery and pick up the music they were into, and that's how I discovered the reggae world. There was nothing like that in the US at that time. These older kids would bring records into school and hang around in the hallway with them, and the cover of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band caught my eye. There was quite a bit of discussion around it at the time – the record had been released around then, but I guess the buzz was more about what was going on with this song, 'Imagine'. I've been doing some research, and that was actually released after my leaving the UK, but it was a big topic because the Plastic Ono Band was a big change for a lot of Beatles fans. It seemed to be the sophisticated choice amongst the older students. The record struck me as so much fun. There were a lot of heavy songs, but at the same time there was something like, "here's a guy who's really set free". I was a big Beatles fan as a small child, but I was more of a John guy than a Paul.
It really was not a Beatles record. It definitely felt like something else was going on. Particularly, I remember 'Working Class Hero' - that really struck me as I was really into the Dylan world at the time as well. There's certainly a Dylan-y thing going on.