Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

4. The ResidentsFingerprince

I’ve been playing The Residents again recently. I heard them first on John Peel in 1977 or so. It was a track off the first album, Meet the Residents, ‘Boots’. [Sergeant attempts a strangulated Residents voice] “These boots are made for walking!” I just fell for them. I’m a real fanboy. I’ve even got the signatures here [Sergeant delves into the record sleeve and pulls out a signed card]. “For Will, a Resident!”

Ach; I don’t know. What goes on in your mind to make you like the things you like? For most people who’d hear The Residents, they’d probably go, ‘what the fuck is this racket?’ Whereas for me I think, ‘wow I think this is cool and really interesting.’ I’d been making tapes using my dad’s old electric shaver for about six months around this time, just recording the shaver buzzing. I had this guitar that had no strings on it. I didn’t even know how to play it or tune it. I just ended up with this bloody guitar. So I used to get this shaver and swing it near the pick up and I’d record this ‘neeaaaaggghhrrrr’ sound coming in and out. Mad.

I think I ordered this album from Penny Lane Records. I really love that cover photo, and the mystery of it, that nobody knew who they were and they obviously weren’t interested in being famous. It was avant-garde music that not everybody was going to get. I love the cottage industry aspect of their work too, the fact that they did the covers themselves and there was a catalogue, and I would send off for stuff from them, mail order. One Christmas the postman brought a free seven inch of ‘Santa Dog’. It’s a really thick cover, it’s almost impossible to get the record out, quality! When you’re 20 and you get that through the post, you think, ‘that’s it, they’re my band now. I love them ‘cos they appreciate me.’ So I started collecting all their stuff. Me and Damon [Reece] and Jake [Brockman] once did a thing called Bomb. I based it on the weird figures on the back cover.

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