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Baker's Dozen

Psychedelic Meditation: Kurt Vile's Favourite Albums
Laurie Tuffrey , November 11th, 2015 13:13

As he starts the UK leg of touring b'lieve i'm goin down…, the Philadelphian singer-songwriter goes from live free jazz to dry-humoured piano sketches in picking 13 albums that steered the sound of his sixth album


Jerry Lee Lewis - The Sun Years: Vol. 1
I liked Jerry Lee Lewis, because my dad turned me on to him, so I had this collection of all the Sun sessions that I would listen to a lot. I mainly just listened to 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On'. I used to love that line, "got the bull by the horns", I used that line in 'He's Alright', my song from a long time ago. It's so bluesy and goofy and from a wild man. But then at a later period, I read that book The Dark Stuff by Nick Kent. Adam [Granduciel], my buddy, one of my best friends, from The War On Drugs, he sent it to me for my birthday, which was nice. He wasn't even around, but he sent it to me. Anyway, I couldn't put that down. He knew I would like that book. The best article [in there], is on Jerry Lee Lewis, who's just a notorious maniac and is obviously an incredible piano player. In that article, he talked about a book, a biography about him by Nick Tosches called Hellfire and this book is off the hook, it's unreal. So just around that time I found the vinyl of this one, the Sun Sessions, maybe it's volume one, again I burned it and cranked it in the 'phones and played it a lot when I was driving around LA. There's a song, 'Little Queenie', which is a cover, but he says: "She's too cute to be a minute over 17" and I morphed that line in 'Pretty Pimpin': "a little too cute to be admitted under marbles lost". Whatever that part of the song is, the first time I say: "All I want is to just have fun, live my life like a son of a gun", but it's like a morphed version of that Seeds song, 'Pushin' Too Hard', like [sings]: "All I want is to just have fun, live my life like it just begun", so it's sort of referencing those old guys, two different eras. Obviously, if I had to pick one, Jerry Lee Lewis slays The Seeds. But it's just like that down-home, real rock & roll.

How do you explore his back catalogue? I think you just start with the early stuff. He had a crazy career, because he had all these hits young and then he married his super young cousin, but he was totally in love with her and she was, and then they went to Europe and during that time they found out it was his cousin and then he was banned everywhere, basically. Then he had a resurgence, he started doing country music and was bigger than ever, so he would always go up and down, but he was a maniac. He would just always be battling demons. He would go back to Jesus. He would go to church where they would speak in tongues, he would just live extreme lives. He would go back and forth, lose his mind, take a million pills, play shows and his hair was flying around, playing with his foot. I mean, he was a bad motherhumper, as you would say!