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Baker's Dozen

Beautiful Artefacts: Jon Spencer's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , September 25th, 2012 11:41

The Blues Explosion frontman whittles down his favourite albums to a mean 13


The Residents - Meet The Residents
Again, this is another of those formative records. I wasn’t into rock’n’roll when I grew up and where I grew up and it didn’t hold any interest for me. When I got into music, the stuff I liked and the stuff that spoke to me was different.

The Residents were the great underground band from San Francisco and were famously anonymous and didn’t reveal their identities. It was very strong visuals which appealed to me as someone who liked to draw and studied art. I chose this because it’s such a bizarre, out-there record. In a way, it’s so anti-rock’n’roll but it embraces the music at the same time. And, to my ears, it sounds like a totally homemade affair.

After the Mole Show, they started to get these Spark synthesisers. This is like Foetus and I much more prefer the funky, homemade style. I mean, who were they listening to? Obviously, they were listening to a whole lot of rock’n’roll but they also must have been listening to some really crazy, avant-garde music. They would do whatever they need to do to create these sounds. I mean, it’s such a bizarre and surreal record and I think a very, very punk record.

And with the cover, they take a shit on The Beatles. They’d probably taken some lessons from people like Marcel Duchamp. I know some people who say, "Oh God! They’re just like Frank Zappa!" but the difference between Zappa and The Residents was that Zappa always seemed like a joke or a put-on. With The Residents, there’s something more there and it’s much more real. They defaced The Beatles but it’s obvious they love The Beatles. I don’t know if you’ve heard their track ‘Beyond The Valley Of A Day In A Life’: it's an amazing song that they assembled by cutting up all these out-takes and studio chatter and it was a B-side and it’s really just haunting. It’s incredibly post-modern and they don’t think they're too clever for pop and rock but at the same time they’re taking a massive shit on it.