I was mulling over some of the records I might have
said — there’d be ‘The Best of Jimmy Reid’ or ‘Derek
Bell Plays With Himself. That’s the greatest title of
all time! On that he plays harpsichord, piano, the
harp and I think some oboe. It’s really Derek duetting
with himself! An eclectic sort of album with bits of
Folk, Classical, Hungarian dances on it. If It had a
dead serious title, maybe you wouldn’t pick it or see
‘Yes We Can’ by Lee Dorsey might be another; ‘Pet Sounds’ by the Beach Boys, too. Or ‘Rubber Soul’ by the Beatles. Again, there’s always some obscure record you like that no one else likes. It’s very difficult to pick out one particular record. When I’m going on tour I always have two or three compilation tapes I’ve made up myself.
There are albums, too, that are really close to my heart, ones I like for really personal reasons — for example ‘Motown Chart-Busters Vol.3’, the one with the silver cover, with ‘What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted?’ and ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’. That was the party record when I was fifteen. Gram Parsons’ first couple of records, or The Band — if I’m away on tour, feeling miserable or something, there’s something familiar about these.
Anyway, my favourite record this week is by The Mothers of Invention. It’s called ‘We’re Only in It for the Money’. I was never a big fan of Frank Zappa — I just have this one record. The cover of it is like a parody of ‘Sergeant Pepper’ and I don’t think it came out very long after that. The whole record is like a send-up of ‘flower power’. It’s very funny but also has some really good music. There are little bits that are more like pop music,rather than the psychedelic freak-out musical lyrics and I hope it’s on rerelease; I got it on a CD while I was in Australia.
There’s lots of weird stuff, stereo stuff, and snatches of conversation between the tracks, which are very short. A lot of the lyrics are satirizing the sort of things that people were getting of those bores who buy the Monty Python records to memorize the sketches.
At that time, I mean, there were lots of people singing sincerely about Peace and Love, but there were also lots of phoneys: people like Scott McKenzie, although I do think ‘San Francisco’ was a good song. I mean there were always people ready to sing about revolution, as long as that was fashionable, but then they’d sing about baseball, if that was what people wanted to hear. At least U2 do it with their heart.
The Mothers’ record still has relevance twenty years
later, its time has come around again. Look at
Jefferson Starship. I’m in the business ten years now
— ten years ago they were still trying to make
interesting records but look at them now! Zappa makes
fun of all those people looking for a cause so as they
can get their heads kicked in, which is funny! In that
sense, it’s an honest record.