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Baker's Dozen

Really Heavy Things: Devin Townsend's Favourite Albums
Toby Cook , December 18th, 2012 13:18

…well, apart from Enya. The Strapping Young Lad man offers up his top albums

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King's X – Gretchen Goes To Nebraska
I got this when I was 15 years old; there was a big press campaign about the record at the time, that anybody my age probably remembers, where they had these full page ads with all these prominent musicians basically blowing King's X and saying that this was their best record and that these guys are incredible and all that sort of shit; it drew me in and I bought it. When I first heard it though, I mean, I liked it but it just seemed a little weird. But then I listened to it and it was this very strange experience – late the night I got it, as a 15 year old, the last song, ‘The Burning Down’, as soon as that song was over I felt that I had changed in some way, I felt that there was something about what I had just experienced which defined me in a way that I couldn’t articulate. And the funny this is that now, as a 40 year old, I’m actually very good friends with their singer Doug [Pinnick]. At the time, if you’d have told the 15 year old me that, I’d have been like "no way! But that’s the best band in the world!" – I listened to Gretchen… relentlessly; I drove in my little Jane’s Addiction car listening to Gretchen….

I actually talk to Doug often and we’ve been trying to put this little project together and so there’s that element to it, but really, why did it affect me so much? I think it was maybe something to do with the fact that it was so different from everything else, yet it was touched in this way that implied, certainly to me, that you could make whatever you wanted and not have to worry about it not being accepted. I think that there’s a lesson to be learned there because King's X started off as a Christian band and then they were like "oh, this Christianity shit is stupid" and they gradually changed and Doug became, y’know, he’s this 60 year old black gay man playing in a heavy metal band – I think that it’s interesting that through that process of self discovery they were able to get through that. And I think it’s also testament to the creative process, in that if your goal is to figure that shit out, if you’re proactive with it, whatever your outcome is – whether or not you end up saying "hey, I really want to write musicals" or "I really want to play country music", or in his case "hey, maybe I’m not Christian maybe I’m gay…" – I think it’s a noble pursuit to be willing to accept whatever that outcome is. And perhaps with King's X, subconsciously, that road they were on resonated with me at the time.


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