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Baker's Dozen

"You Can't Escape Your Influence" - Mark Lanegan's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , January 26th, 2012 04:35

In one of our best Baker's Dozens yet, Mark Lanegan talks Julian Marszalek through the most played discs in his collection


The Gun Club Miami

I’d never heard anything like it. I love it but it’s also very scary; I’ve described it before as ‘serial killer music’. It’s their second album and the songs are a lot more personal and more accessible at the same time. In some cases, that would make me go, ‘Ah, that sucks now’ but I love it even more after the third record and then Mother Juno came out with that crazy Robin Guthrie production. I loved that also; I loved all their records, actually. Miami, though, somehow internalised things more than their first record [The Fire Of Love]. It’s certainly a more spooky affair. [Gun Club lynchpin] Jeffrey Lee Pierce loved the third record [The Las Vegas Story], which is another incredible record, but what can you say about this? I suppose I could have chosen any Gun Club record but this record in particular resonates.

I was about 17 or 18-years-old when The Fire of Love first came out. It certainly wasn’t easy to access music in my hometown. There was a comic book store where the owner had a bunch of original punk rock singles and that’s where I became exposed to the music that became important to me. But after that I didn’t really have anything so that first Gun Club record I actually got by taking a bus 120 miles to Seattle where there were three or four record stores in the downtown area where I would walk around. I saw the record cover and liked the name of the name of the band and I thought, ‘This looks interesting…’ Of course when I heard the record I was really captivated because Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s singing voice was really intense. To this day, he’s still probably my favourite singer of all time.

I got to know Jeffrey Lee. I was at a show at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles and I’d gone along to see Mike Watt with fIREHOSE. Their soundman and I were friendly and I said, ‘Oh hey, what you been doin’?’ and he said, ‘I’ve been out with The Gun Club’ and I said, ‘What?!’ because I’d never heard of them playing anywhere in the United States at that point.

And I said to him, ‘Man, I love those guys. They’re my favourite band’ and he said, ‘Oh really? Well, Jeffrey’s going to be here tonight, he’s staying at his mom’s just down the street.’ I said, ‘Dude, you’ve got to introduce me.’

While the band was playing that night I noticed that Steve the soundman was looking at me and next to him was Jeffrey and at some point I went up to him – and this was one of the first and last times that I approached someone cold as a fan but I was so into their music – and I introduced myself and said, ‘You know, I’m one of your biggest fans and I can’t tell you how much your music means to me’ and he said, ‘Do you ever come to London?’ and I said, ‘Well, yeah… I might be there next month’ and he said, ‘Here’s my phone number there. Give me a call when you get there and we’ll get something to eat’ and I was like [makes wild-eyed gesture], ‘Uh… OK!’ and that’s how we became friends.