Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

2. Pere UbuThe Modern Dance

This is my original copy on the Blank label but it’s so knackered now I can’t play it. I got Kelley Stoltz to get me another original from California. I’ve got all the reissues, too. I’m pathetic like that. Anyway we all saw these at Eric’s and they were fantastic! I think they were supported by Suicide or someone like that. I do remember it was a crazy, amazing, double bill. At the time you didn’t realise just how iconic these kinds of bands would become. And you also thought, “ah they’ll be on again in a couple of weeks.” It wasn’t such a big deal if you missed it or didn’t have enough money. Gigs were 75p back then. We were getting in Eric’s for nothing anyway at that point, we were “local heroes!” After that gig we were all mad into them. Copey’s got all the early singles. I remember being dead jealous of him having all the seven inches and everything. If you remember, Pere Ubu had been going in some form or another since the early seventies. Their world felt like a sort of dream world, because it wasn’t all available. You’d have to send off for things from the back of the NME, all these imports, so it was tough to get things, but it meant more. Now you can download whatever and forget you’ve listened to it. That’s why I like vinyl; because you don’t get impatient with what you’re listening to, you’re not flicking through things all the time.

Anyway we were all influenced, for sure. You know that slightly discordant sound they have? I took that. They also had this professor-type bloke who played this homemade synthesizer / noise module thing, it looked like it was made out of plywood. It made all these weird scraping and hissing noises. And we weren’t sure what it was, it was like random grit thrown into their sound. We all loved that, the random grit. None of them looked like they fitted in with each other; the drummer was just this long haired geezer. The bass player looked like he was in the Mafia with a big collar out over his suit lapels. And then you’ve got David Thomas out front, who looks like he’d walked out of Eraserhead. I’m sure David Lynch took something from him for Henry!

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: The The, Mike Watt,
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