Welcome to 5-10-15-20, where we talk to artists about the music they loved at five-year interval points in their lives. Maybe we'll get a detailed roadmap of how their tastes and passions helped make them who they are. Maybe we'll just learn that they really liked hearing the "Dinomutt Dog Wonder" theme song over and over when they were kids. Either way, it'll be fun.
For this edition, we checked in with former Ride singer and guitarist Andy Bell, 41 years old. The new reissue of Ride's shoegaze classic Nowhere recently earned our Best New Reissue designation. Since that band's breakup in 1996, Bell led Hurricane No. 1 and played bass with Oasis, and he's now a guitarist of Liam Gallagher's post-Oasis project Beady Eye.
age 5, The Beatles: "Tell Me Why"
I remember running around the school playground singing Beatles songs, especially "Tell Me Why". I had three of my dad's Beatles albums in the house: With the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, and Beatles for Sale, and that was my musical world. You can see why a generation grew up with them; if you were the right age, it mirrored your musical development exactly. "Tell Me Why" would just make me feel like a little superhero.
age 10, Blondie: Parallel Lines
This was the first album I bought. I remember hearing Blondie on the radio and just being mesmerized by Debbie Harry. I was too young to really fancy her, although I definitely fancied her when I got older. I used to subscribe to this kids' music magazine called Look-In, which had posters of Debbie Harry that I used to put all over my bedroom wall.
In a way, they were like the mop tops-- on the Parallel Lines cover, they stand there with black suits and white shirts and black ties. Clem Burke, especially, looks like a Beatle.
age 15, The Smiths: Hatful of Hollow
I first heard the Smiths around 13 and I was 17 when they broke up. So they bridged that gap in my teenage years when I felt really awkward. Morrissey's lyrics captured all that awkwardness. And then I was a keen guitar player, so Johnny Marr was my first teacher, really.
And Hatful of Hollow was an absolute classic for me. They nail some of the great songs they didn't get right on the first album, like "What Difference Does It Make?", and it's also got "Back to the Old House". One of the first concerts I'd seen was the Smiths during their Meat Is Murder tour.
The show was quite overwhelming. I saw them in about a 2000-capacity venue, the Oxford Apollo. This was the era when they used to come out and have gladioluses thrown at them.Morrissey had massive bunches of flowers in his back pockets, and he'd thrash around the room with them. It was very visual and also really loud. Johnny was really cool, wearing shades like the kind of guitar hero I wanted to be. That was the gig where I was like, "Right, this is what I'm going to do with my life."
age 20, The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses
I have to pick two because I can't really choose between the Stone Roses' debut and My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything. It was a big year for music, and that's without factoring in the Ride debut, which I'm too modest to pick.
Stone Roses was another seismic shift in my musical taste. As soon as it came out, I was absolutely sold on them. I picked up the "Made of Stone" 7" from my local record store and then turned it over and really got into the B-side, "Going Down", a really cool littleByrds-y tune. They played in Oxford quite soon after that so I went to see them and then got to following them around the country to Reading and London.
My Bloody Valentine: Isn't Anything
Isn't Anything was the moment when My Bloody Valentine changed from being an indie band into some kind of a Sonic Youth-type thing. The noise part of them was not such a massive part of the sound until this album kicked it off.
Looking back, I would say that if you go somewhere down the middle between those two albums, you get what Ride was all about.
age 25, Oasis: Definitely Maybe
It was like an atom bomb-- in a good way-- in the social group that I was in. You had myself and Ride, Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, a lot of bands knocking around who were sort of mate-y. And then suddenly along comes Oasis, and the music was just everything that all of us had been waiting for. You can't really overstate their impact. We were all talking about this stuff, and then suddenly it came true: an amazing rock'n'roll band who could get to the top of the charts.
We thought it was going to be one of our bands. While Ride did have a definite progressive success over those couple of years before that, we weren't getting to that Beatles level. But there was a feeling that, if the right band came along, they could do it. And here's this really young, streetwise, good-looking, arrogant band with a load of the best songs of the last 20 or 30 years. You just can't plan that kind of thing. It's once in a lifetime.
I joined the band five years later, in '99, and it came out of the blue. My life changed a lot between 1995 and 2000. Ride broke up and then I started a new band called Hurricane No. 1 that did a couple of albums, but without much success, really. I got a bit disillusioned with the whole thing and ended up moving to Sweden. I had left the music business officially when I got a call from the guys in Oasis wondering if I would come and audition for the bass player role. I did it with mixed feelings, but as soon as I got in the room with them and played, I just thought, "This has got to be. This is it. This is amazing." It was a great moment.
age 30, The La's: The La's
Noel and Liam got me into this record just when I joined Oasis. We were all in a dressing room somewhere, and there was a compilation tape that Noel had brought along playing. The song "Looking Glass" came on, and I just couldn't believe it. It was one of those things where you discover something too late and you become even more excited by it. For Beady Eye, the La's are a massive influence on what we do.
Pitchfork: Do you talk about music a lot with the rest of the guys in Oasis and now Beady Eye?
Sure, we don't really talk about much else. We're always finding these old obscure classics. When I first met Noel and Liam, Ride had just done a cover of the Creation song "How Does It Feel to Feel?", and apparently, at the time, Oasis were working on a cover of it as well. They were rehearsing it, but when we brought out our version, they decided to shelve theirs.
age 35, Danger Mouse: The Grey Album
That was one of the most exciting albums I heard for years. I like both artists, but this was just so inventive and so exciting and just so fresh-- and so funny as well. The idea of it being basically a pun that The Black Albumand The White Album would make The Grey Album. It seems too good to be true, but, when he actually did it, it was just mind-blowing.
Pitchfork: You say you like Jay-Z. But Noel Gallagher infamously had some critical comments about Jay headlining the Glastonbury Festival in 2008. Did you ever have arguments with him about that?
No. I think Noel likes Jay-Z anyway. I don't know what he was talking about when he made that comment. That's his opinion; that's not my opinion at all. But, in terms of actually liking Jay-Z's music, I'm pretty certain that Noel was a fan as much as anyone else. Jay-Z's an undeniable artist.
age 40, Tame Impala: Innerspeaker
Everyone I knew was texting me about this band and they were sure that I'd like them. And I did. I must be pretty predictable. They're the most exciting new band I've heard in a while. In some ways, they reminds me of early Ride, there's a similar attitude to guitar playing, vocals, songwriting, and production. But, in other ways, it's also like really modern psychedelia. I could have picked MGMT, but I think Tame Impala is more my cup of tea.
Marco's 5-10-15-20-25-30 :) (more or less that age)
5) well 5 is very young, I was listening to 45s vinyls from Italian music contests with children singing ("Lo Zecchino d'Oro"), Italian "musica leggera" and cartoons music, then my parents music from previous decades (very influenced by The Beatles, that's why we still like Oasis).
10) Michael Jackson, Bad
I think this was my first real album. When I was about 7 years old I've become a huge music fan, following the charts, it was '80s stuff (quite commercial) so today it's funny to see what we were listening (Duran Duran and similar ones). There were also some songs by Michael Jackson with Paul McCartney, it's where I started to discover The Beatles.
15) The Queen, Innuendo
I'm glad I wasn't listening to rubbish as many teenagers around this age. It would have been different if I had been born some years later. Thanks to some girls, school friends of mine, discovering their whole discography at Freddie Mercury's death, and then the step from The Queen to Oasis in 1994 was short. I think it's thanks to The Queen that I've become an Oasis and England fan, we could only love The Queen. They were our first real rock'n'roll band, and I wonder why Oasis never talked about them, maybe they don't like them (but Oasis always talked about all the bands, especially about those ones they didn't like :) - almost the same about Led Zeppelin, the Gallaghers didn't insult them, strange :), I know both Noel & Liam were very excited to meet them, and Noel even used to wear Zeppelin t-shirts).
Of course I was listening to other good albums that I'm not touching now (but I could still like), as Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, etc.
20) at about this age I pick two as Andy:
Oasis, Be Here Now (already put Morning Glory on the other post) and The Verve, Urban Hymns.
25) Led Zeppelin, IV - four symbols (though my favourite album by them is Houses of the Holy, already picked before)
And many more, listening to a lot of good music and going to many gigs around these years, Stereophonics, Paul Weller, Suede, Morricone, Ashcroft, Franz Ferdinand, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. (and discovering stuff from the past as The Smiths, The Style Council, The Kinks, etc.), then later well not as great as before but ok as Keane, Paolo Nutini, and so on.
30) Glasvegas and later now a band called Beady Eye.