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Baker's Dozen

The Old Country: Steve Von Till’s Baker’s Dozen
John Doran , December 16th, 2020 10:06

The long-serving Neurosis guitarist and singer shares his deep dive favourites; 13 albums which have shaped the way he looks at music and informed his writing and solo work as Harvestman and Steve Von Till


Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced?
Are You Experienced? was a gateway. I grew up in San Jose, California, in this kinda suburban neighbourhood. My father listened to a lot of folk music, he was big into Jim Croce, John Denver and early Beatles but not later period Beatles. My mom listened to more current rock, Queen and whatever was on the rock stations. I listened to a lot of that but always wanted to push it farther. I discovered AC/DC, and KISS myself and then I was in deep. I convinced my mom to take me to see KISS when I was nine, and then she took me to see the Stones when I was 11. By that point I would go with friends to see rock concerts. So Hendrix came into the picture pretty early. I picked up a copy of Smash Hits back when they used to cut the corners off the record sleeves and put 'em in the bargain bins. We’d be at the department store and I’d be like, 'Oh! That looks good. That guy looks freaky, lemme grab that!' But then when I actually got hold of the [studio] albums themselves, it was no longer just about the music, it was the way the records sounded. I remember hearing recordings played on high fidelity audio equipment and how that felt as a kid, how headphones sounded, what stereo panning felt like, the smell of the hi-fi even... the smell of 70s hi-fi components was very different then compared to today. And on Are You Experienced?, Hendrix just covered so much musical territory: psychedelic and blues and rock and things that still haven't resurfaced as other genres yet but have been taken from his work. In just a few short years, the way he was using sound, feedback, dissonance and coaxing so many strange noises out of that guitar and using the studio as an instrument... all of that had a profound effect on me. I've never learned to play guitar to the level of people who cite him as an influence but I've taken the idea of using the guitar as a vehicle for creating sound.