Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

6. Wire154

1979 was really one of my favourite years in music. I loved Pink Flag and Chairs Missing but Wire weren’t really that great a live band when I went to see them. It was all totally shambolic, a real hit and miss affair. But in the same way Talking Heads had their incredible fertile period from 1977-1980, Wire echoed that: three brilliant albums in two years. Bands don’t do that anymore, they get caught up in the album, tour, album, tour cycle and the pressure to over-egg things. But in those days, it was much more machine gun. They were the most uncomfortable band in many ways, the friction inside the band was quite apparent to those that were digging for it. You could tell that they didn’t like each other very much. And I think it comes to its fruition on 154, I can’t believe it was an easy record to make. Mike Thorne was a really important part of the band, playing keyboards. These beautifully sweet pop songs like ‘Map Ref. No 41°N 93°W’ mixed with tracks like ‘Indirect Inquiries’ which is just brutal, vicious, screaming, like smacking the shit out of metalwork in the studio. It’s got so many elements to it, it really stands the test of time. Play that now and it’s like "what the fuck?!" Colin Newman and Graham Lewis were quite unusual. The bands I like tend to be instrumental or have frontmen that are quite maverick but ones that aren’t afraid to stick their head above the parapet, to take a risk.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: The The, Johnny Marr, James Dean Bradfield, Robert Hampson
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