Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Paid Attention: Johnny Dean Of Menswear’s Favourite Albums

With a new single from the rejuvenated Menswear recently released, frontman Johnny Dean talks about sax appeal, music as maths and why pop is as much about what you see as what you hear

"If I’m singing I’m it’s gonna be Menswear, it doesn’t matter who’s playing the instruments." So says Johnny Dean, singer and mouthpiece for original Britpop mischief-makers Menswear. Having dipped his toe back into the waters of the music industry last year with a Bowie covers fundraiser, Dean has now reactivated his former band and, with a brand new line-up, has just released his first new material in 15 years. ‘Crash ’14’ is a collision of Stooges riffing and Roxy archness, and also features that most 80s of signifiers, a squealing sax solo.

"We demoed it with the original line-up and without a doubt it was the best song we did. It was like we’d finally grown and found a sound, but then it suddenly went pear-shaped and we went country rock. Well, some of us did."

This love of love of pop, punk and art school rock is evident throughout Dean’s Baker’s Dozen. "I wanted to do a 26-album list," he says, "Two Baker’s Dozens that each dealt with different themes. In the end I went with albums that have influenced how I make music, the way I look at it, and the way it’s presented.

"There’s this tendency with musicians to ignore all the albums they liked as kids. We didn’t all come out of the womb and start listening to JJ Cale though, we listened to pop and I hate the idea that you have to throw that all away. Britpop was a movement that took all the best things about British music from the past and made something new, but I was still vilified for saying I liked Duran Duran and Japan. It wasn’t cool then and I don’t know if it is now, but that’s definitely where the new Menswear are heading – more synths and more sax!"

‘Crash ’14’ is out now. Menswear play Victorious Festival in Southsea, August 23-24; head to the band’s website for full details. Click on Johnny’s image below to begin scrolling through his choices

First Record

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