Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

4. Lou ReedTransformer

Again there’s a line traced through… Although Lou Reed had been with The Velvet Underground, I didn’t know that until later. When I got Transformer though, I became aware of the Bowie connection obviously and then when you saw Lou and heard his earlier debut album, you knew for sure that it was all part of this same glam rock ilk – even if you didn’t know that a prototype already existed.

I think Radio 1 had banned ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ so instantly you thought: "OK, what’s it banned for?" After putting it on, hearing that jazz bass and thinking, "God, what’s that?" I listened to what he was saying. It seemed to me like he’d based these musical stories around characters from Andy Warhol’s New York of the time – places like the Chelsea Hotel and The Factory. And then, of course, there was that voice and the actual words it formed. Lou’s language was pure street poetry. It wasnae the street that I grew up on but it was grimy and you could relate to it somehow. In our early days, people had that clichéd view of Glasgow and they’d say things like: "Did you get in a band to escape that?" But for me it wasn’t that I was escaping anything. These albums that I’ve mentioned – and I think music itself and, for that matter, journalism – gave me the sense that there were other worlds out there. That was a huge allure – not because there was anything to get away from, but more because we had voracious appetites and wanted to know more. Travelling was a way to make that happen.

PreviousNext Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today