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Baker's Dozen

The Quest For The Grail: Rat Scabies Favourite Albums
Ben Graham , March 7th, 2018 12:49

The former Damned drummer tells Ben Graham about seeing bands at the Orchid Ballroom in Purley, the appeal of repetition and variety in music, and how The Damned nearly got their own Monkees-style TV show


Terry Riley - A Rainbow In Curved Air
Again, this is a real stoner record. But the thing with it was the method of tape loops and being experimental in the studio with tape. With not much other technology available you would do things with varispeed and loops. We only did it a couple of times but you end up with sixty feet of tape going round bits of microphone stands and chair legs and handles of the kettle and things like that, just to get it to play in a loop the way you want it to. And to then be able to build on top of that into something coherent and repetitive: in a way it really was the birth of techno. Certainly the more ambient stuff like The Orb, where they're saying yes, we like things that just keep going and are repetitive. But in a way again it's the dynamics of it, because what you really have is that the loop becomes the foundation and it becomes a mechanical thing where you don't actually need to listen to it once you've got the idea of it. It keeps going, your mind cancels it out and then you listen to what's going on above it and on top of that. So it is a kind of foundation thing, and it's almost like as a species, people like perfection. That's why we like laser beams and bubbles. And we like repetitive music and drum loops because our consciousness doesn't need to pay attention to them, but we admire them because they are perfect, and nothing else in the world is. That was the real value of Terry Riley for me. With the Damned's second album we had this song called 'You Know' and I remember Brian said it's just one riff and we keep repeating it. And I was thinking fucking hell, Brian, have you run out of ideas? But actually there is something that goes with that, which is that almost hypnotic groove that you can find yourself in when you're listening to it, or when you're playing it.