Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

13. LoveForever Changes

[There is a long silence as Sergeant stares at the cover of his signed copy.] Fucking hell… brilliant. What can you say about Love? They are one of the best bands that has ever existed, it’s that simple. I read somewhere that they helped the Doors get on Elektra too. The Doors overtook them, but at the beginning Love were the bigger band.

Les gave Mick Head Da Capo, when he was 14 or whatever. And I think the rest is history! Mick Head used to come round to where we rehearsed. He was friends with Yorkie [bass player in Space]. Yorkie’s mum [Gladys Palmer] owned the basement where we and The Teardrop Explodes rehearsed. When Arthur Lee played Liverpool, Mick’s band backed him and I was DJing so I took all my records down to get signed. Of course, Mick’s not just into Love, he’s got his own thing, a very Liverpool thing in his own right.

It’s a “peculiar” record isn’t it? Strange, even though you don’t always notice it.

I must say, this record reminds me of Jake Thackray, when in his lyrics, the first line of a new verse will be the end of the lyric from the previous verse. Arthur Lee does the same sort of thing. Then there’s that guitar line in ‘A House Is Not a Motel’, when that guitar comes in, that’s what we were trying to do with ‘My Kingdom’, on Ocean Rain. That was my idea, back then, anyway. Then there are these moments where you can see they have limited tracks in the studio, because the guitar just stops dead. They’ve run out of guitar tracks and they just stick some tambourine on instead! I love all those little techno nerd bits. Like Caravan’s ‘Winter Wine’ where there is a bit where they’ve got a Farfisa organ and you can hear him [Dave Sinclair] click on the pedal. You know those Vox wah wah pedals, you have to click them on. I love that sort of detail, you feel like you’re there in the studio. You also wonder why they end tracks the way they do on Forever Changes. It’s probably an edit with Love. It was brutal, recording back then, you were limited in what you could do. You’d only have one track, and you’d have to have someone changing the volume when a certain bit came up. It made for loads of happy accidents.

This reminds me of one time when me and Ian Broudie met Brian Ferry on Top Of The Pops. Broudie knew Ferry a bit and was chatting on to him. I was just standing there behind Broudie with me mouth open, starstruck. Ferry was saying, “Oh, I hate coming here now, it’s all changed, back then everyone would be recording around the desk, doing their little bits.” He was talking about when SSL desks came in and they were all automated, those desks remember where the levels are set. Nowadays some things are just too perfect. And listening to that Love album, someone back then would have pushed that reverb a little bit too high and changed a whole part and made it sound brilliant. Hey, you know on ‘Matthew and Son’, when he [Cat Stevens] sings “Matthew and Son”? The third time he sings the chorus line, there’s this big fuck off reverb! Things like that make pop music special. I don’t know whether it was an accident and someone flipped a switch. On the first Roxy album, too, there’s something similar, I think it’s on ‘Ladytron’. As it goes on, just listen to the drums, they’re very roomy. There are a lot of mics in the room, so not closed mics. As it goes on everything drops out, almost. And so do the room mics so the drums go from being this very big vision of the drumming to a very small vision. It brings it right in, into focus, dead weird. To me that’s genius!

Anyway, I hope you put some reverb on this piece and send it over to Mickie Most!

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Michael Head, Colleen, , Belle and Sebastian

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