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Baker's Dozen

Mob Deep: Michael Imperioli's Favourite Music
Simon Price , August 5th, 2020 09:21

Actor, writer, producer and musician Michael Imperioli – best known for playing Christopher Moltisanti in The Sopranos – chooses his 13 favourite tracks, and discusses the use of music in the series. Simon Price listens in an unmarked van across the street.


My Bloody Valentine - 'Sometimes'
This is from Loveless, which came out in 1991, and around then I was in Athens, Georgia and I was staying with some friends. A bunch of us came down from New York, and we were staying with Michael Stipe, who was living there at the time. Michael was producing a movie that my good friend Tom Gilroy was directing, and that I was going to be in and we were developing the script there. I'd known Michael for a number of years, since I was a teenager, through my friend Tom.

Dinosaur Jr. were playing the 40 Watt, this great rock club in Athens, so we all went to see them. There was a band opening that I had never heard of, they come out, and it's My Bloody Valentine. I'd never heard anything like that. I didn't know what I was hearing. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was a very profound experience, very physical and very visceral. It was really, really loud, but that wasn't why it was so visceral. I mean, that was part of it, but the sound that they were making was just very unique, both harsh and beautiful at the same time, both brutal and subtle at the same time. It was like a cloud of... something, that was very honest and sexy and powerful.

There was one guy we were with, another actor, who could not handle it and left. Which I understand. Like I was saying, there's not a lot of middle ground with that band. I didn't have earplugs, and there came a point where there was a riff that they stayed on for an ungodly length of time and people started leaving. But, I mean, I was just... It was like I had dropped acid, or something. I hadn't. I was not intoxicated. I'd maybe had a few drinks or something, smoked a joint. I don't know, but I wasn't under anything psychedelic. But It was utterly transporting.

Now, Dinosaur Jr. are a band I've always loved, and still value, and will go to see them every chance I can, and I get all the records. But when My Bloody Valentine were finished, I had to leave because it had taken everything out of me. I don't go to see live bands to be passive. It's a very active experience. I don't like to sit during rock shows. I like to be on the floor, shoulder-to-shoulder with people. I think that's how it's meant to be heard, rock. But it takes energy, especially a band like Dinosaur Jr.. I was just sapped of every ounce of energy after seeing My Bloody Valentine that I had to leave – I left in an amazing state. I was very ecstatic. But I couldn't experience any more music, or anything at that point. I had to just digest, and sit with what just happened.