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Baker's Dozen

No Reconciliation Necessary: Doug McCombs' Favourite LPs
Nick Hutchings , July 16th, 2015 13:36

With the prolific bassist and guitarist and Tortoise and Brokeback founder about to release a new album, Works For Tomorrow, with Eleventh Dream Day, he gives Nick Hutchings a tour of his most seminal records


Devo - Duty Now For The Future
I think of Devo as a satire of the human experience. They walked a very treacherous line between trying to break the status quo and become the status quo. But when I was a teenager I didn't think any of this, I just thought: "What the fuck is this?!" I have no idea what appealed to me about it other than the sheer strangeness. Duty Now was the second record I owned, the first being Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!. I owned two bootlegs of their early material but can't remember if I got them before or after Duty Now For The Future.

When it came out I lived with my dad in Fairbanks, Alaska. We would spend two weeks in the bush working on my dad's cabin and two weeks in town. I sat in my stepsister's bedroom and listened to it over and over again while she did homework. She was very patient, but eventually got me some headphones.

Before I moved to Chicago, I worked on a road crew laying asphalt in rural Illinois. I had this fantasy of a tour bus pulling up and Mark Mothersbaugh sticking his head out and saying: "We know you, come with us." Years later when I met John Herndon [Tortoise drummer] I found out that a version of my fantasy actually happened to him as a teenager. He was playing drums in his dad's basement in L.A. and Mothersbaugh stuck his head in the door and gave him a thumbs-up.

Ultimately, I think Duty Now For The Future is a better album than Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!. It doesn't suffer from sophomore slump because they had all the songs for both albums before they made Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!.