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Baker's Dozen

Survival Songs: John Grant's Baker's Dozen
Barnaby Smith , September 8th, 2021 09:05

John Grant takes tQ through the 13 albums that have defined his life and guided him through tough times, from the beauty of Fad Gadget to the joy of Bernard Fevre, via Ennio Morricone, Kate Bush and more


Missing Persons – Spring Sessions M

This had some monster hits from the radio: ‘Walking in L.A.’, ‘Destination Unknown’, ‘Words’. The first track, ‘Noticeable Ones’ is one of my all-time favourite tracks, I fucking love that. There’s not a stinker on that record, the whole thing is incredible and I still listen to it all the time to this day. ‘U.S. Drag’ has a really bewildering time signature, I’m not sure what it is. You should watch the video for ‘Words’ on YouTube, because you’ll see that Dale Bozzio, the singer, had the most incredible legs. She was married to the drummer Terry Bozzio, who is considered by some to be one of the most incredible drummers in the world. They both played with Frank Zappa before that, and apparently Frank was always encouraging them to do their own thing and go for it. They had three records: this was the first and the second, Rhyme and Reason, is also a masterpiece. But it’s quite shocking how fucking bad the third one is – it’s almost unlistenable. And I don’t know how that’s possible, because the first two are absolutely incredible; they really went off the rails. But it was all about Dale’s delivery – she does all these high-pitched squeaks in the middle of lines. It’s pure heaven for me.

Was Zappa important for you as well?

No he wasn’t then, but I feel like he is now. I love the song ‘Valley Girl’, that he did with his daughter Moon Unit. And I love the album Jazz from Hell. I’m just now discovering him because I didn’t really get him back in the day; I didn’t understand. He was incredible, an iconoclast, and I think a lot of people didn’t get it. He was so damn intelligent, and I think the US needed somebody like him. But he was really alone, for example, in his fight with the censors. I’ve also always thought he was one of the hottest dudes on planet Earth. I thought that was a great look. So, intelligence, hotness, an iconoclast, fighting the system – it’s a great mixture of attributes.