When I’m at home, one of the last things I do before I leave to go on tour is to put a record on. It’s one of the first things I do when I get back again too. We listen to music every day as a band, but there’s nothing quite like sitting there with your turntable, playing a record in its entirety.
One of my favourite 45s is by Shirley Bassey. It’s ‘Big Spender’ on the A-side but the B-side is this song called ‘Dangerous Games’, which I’ve never really heard anybody talk about. It’s amazing, quite Bond, but I don’t think it was for a movie. I’ve always wanted to cover it, and I think it’s mad it’s just a B-side.
Where did I find that one, I wonder? Possibly in this bookshop-cum-record store in Chicago. It was one of the first times we toured the States and there was a shop by the venue. It’s mad what you find sometimes – I remember finding a seven-inch from our manager’s band from the ’80s, Vitamin Z, just in a random record shop in New Orleans.
There was a basket full of $1 45s and I just pulled this thing out. We were just like, ‘Fuck, there he is! On the cover!’ That’s the thing about vinyl though, you can just while away the hours digging through records. I still get really excited by it. Don’t get me wrong, I love downloads, but nothing quite beats stumbling across something you weren’t banking on finding.
2 The Smiths – ‘Hatful Of Hollow’
The guy who taught me how to drive lent me two Smiths LPs – the first record and ‘Hatful Of Hollow’. I’d been bought a Best Of on CD by an aunt before then, but I wasn’t quite ready for it. But he lent those two records to me one afternoon, and I put them on the record player in my mum and dad’s living room. It was something about the ceremony of taking it out of the sleeve, putting in on the turntable and feeling that you almost had to sit with it that got me into that band.
I sometimes think that if it hadn’t have been for that format, in a way, it might have taken me ages to discover them. The Smiths used to write messages in the grooves [etchings]; we started doing it too because of them. We used to put our friends’ names on the middle of the early records, some of the boys from back home. I think we actually wrote Nick’s [O’Malley, bass] name on one of them, before he was in the band!
I was maybe 17 when I got those Smiths records. We’d started the band around then, and this driving instructor would always say, ‘You should cover this song!’ He turned us onto a lot of stuff, and I always think of him when I think of that band now. He comes to shows every now and again. I’ve still got his two Smiths records up at my mum’s. He never got them back!”
This article originally appeared in the April 21 issue of NME