We’ve all seen the chain games on social media: 5 books, 7 black and white photos, post your pet, etc., but it was the “10 albums that influenced my life” that I particularly enjoyed especially the ones where people went into great detail about when and how these records affected them. The story was far more important than the cover photo.
There was one person’s series that I was gripped by and I couldn’t wait to see her post each morning. Laura started her love of music as a New Romantic, transforming into a Goth and now shares a love of Goth and Psychobilly, regularly going out to gigs and supporting the bands buying their merch and new releases. She so clearly loves music and these albums have had a profound effect on shaping her life. I’m really pleased that Laura has agreed to share her stories here on Tea and Cake for the Soul, and I’m hoping that this will become a regular feature where I can showcase other music lover’s stories too.
Read on for her fascinating story and see if any of these are in your list too.
1. Kings of the Wild Frontier – Adam & The Ants
So, this one’s where my love of music all started really. I heard Antmusic on the radio and that was it! A 13 year old, in love with the sound of their music; the guitar, those drums and Adam Ant’s vocals, it was so different to everything else that was on the radio at the time. I watched them on top of the pops; the pirate style clothes, the white stripe across the nose and that lip gloss! Of course, I had to have the ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ album, which I played non-stop. When the next album came out, I wasn’t so sure on the new ‘Prince Charming’ look – I wanted my pirate/highwayman back! I remember doing a project in my music lesson at school. I can still see it now, a big purple folder, with every little piece of information that I knew about Adam & The Ants, lovingly written up, with the cover and pages adorned with lots of pictures of the band (particularly Adam!) cut out from my Patches magazines. I also remember recording the ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ album onto a cassette tape and handing it in with my project to the teacher, as I thought that he might like to listen to it whilst he read my work…I so in love with everything Adam Ant, that I believe he would be too! I was so proud of that project, I wish I still had it now!
2. Duran Duran (self-titled album)
This was when I became Laura, when I started choosing my own clothes, doing my hair as I wanted it, rather than how my mum wanted it.
The time of teenage crushes on pop stars (who didn’t love Duran Duran, well John Taylor for me) and posters all over my bedroom walls. When I first started going to concerts and became a ‘New Romantic’.
3: The Hurting – Tears for Fears
1982, a teenager sitting in her poster covered bedroom, discovering David ‘kid’ Jenson and John Peel on the radio. Hearing a great song, but only knowing the band’s name, going off to a record shop in Walthamstow market to try and find that song, excitedly buying a 12’’ single, coming home to play it, only to find I had bought the wrong one, but deciding it was equally as amazing (Suffer the Children…I was looking for Pale Shelter!).
Listening to and recording their Peel sessions on my radio cassette, and playing it to death until the album came out…getting the album and expectantly pulling out the inner sleeve to see if it had the lyrics printed…so began my search for new bands/new songs, my love of vinyl and hunting out singles and albums in various 2nd hand record shops and market stalls. That was fun…. sadly, eBay has made it all too easy these days.
4. A Single – The Cure
Not an album, but where my love of The Cure started. A band that I will drop everything to go to and see live. I heard The Walk and The Lovecats on the radio, and I wanted to hear more – I then found this ‘single’ in my local record shop in Wood Green. It was so different to those ‘poppy’ singles I’d heard, but I loved the 4 tracks on it, much gloomier. It wasn’t until later that I was to learn that the 4 songs on it, were from earlier albums. I went on to buy those first 4 albums, and the next and the next…each album totally different to the previous one. I used to search Camden market and Kensington market for their old singles, and have now built up quite a collection. And with all their changes in style, I still love every album that The Cure has done…well…. maybe a couple of them not quite so much as the others!
5. Juju – Siouxsie & The Banshees
I picked this one because it’s my favourite Siouxsie and the Banshees album, but it could equally have been any one of them. This is as much about the music, as about the Goth image, and perhaps could also include other bands such as Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus and, of course, The Cure.
1984, end of the 5th year at school – I remember returning to the school ‘disco’ with my hair more ‘upright’, than it had been. My clothes became ‘blacker’, as did my eyeliner. The first-time meeting Richard, when a school friend had a spare ticket to a gig at the Klubfoot, and said to her boyfriend ‘ Let’s invite Laura, she’s got the same sort of hair as you!’ (Stomping at the Klubfoot 1). We became best friends, with the same love of music, taking another year for our relationship to become more than just friends.
1986, I stayed looking like a broom throughout six form, until I had to start work in Aug 86. My hair wasn’t practical anymore for a job in a bank, so it had to be tamed. That’s when I took inspiration from Siouxsie Sioux, and my hair became less upright but much more crimped. I could go to work looking quite normal, but when I was off down the pub, going to the Catacombs nightclub or a gig, out came my crimpers, my purple eyeshadow, black eyeliner, red lipstick, black clothes, buckled boots. I hated having to look normal; being a part-time goth, but it had to be done if I wanted money to go to clubs and gigs. Sometimes now, I wish I still had my old crimpers!
6. Dreamtime – The Cult
I first heard this album at a friend’s house, and immediately went out and bought it, and was very happy to find that it included a free album ‘Live at the Lyceum’. I loved the songs and the image, so I got tickets with Richard to see them in Dec 84 when they played the Lyceum again. We were just friends at this point and for some reason, we stood upstairs, I thought he was very boring wanting to stand upstairs, as I wanted to be downstairs, at the front of the stage, where all the action was. On the way home, we admitted to each other that we’d both wanted to be downstairs! Richard was being the gentleman, thinking I would prefer upstairs. If only we’d had talked at the beginning of the night! So, after that, at every gig, we were right down the front, where you will probably still find us now!
7. Southern Death Cult (self-titled album)
After the previous album, this has to be next…. a reminder that if you find a band that you like, always listen to their previous songs/albums, you may be very surprised with what you find…very different, but absolutely brilliant! I loved the rawness of this album; the sound of the guitar and Ian Astbury’s vocals. It led me to listen to other similar bands such as Bow Wow Wow, which in turn led me to one of my other favourite earlier album finds – Dirk wears White Sox by Adam & the Antz.
8. Off The Bone – The Cramps
This was the first Cramps album I bought…the first band that managed to link my Goth to Richard’s Psychobilly. Richard came from a rockabilly background, moving into psychobilly, and I started as a New Romantic, turning into a Goth. We both loved (and still do) our own different styles of music, but The Cramps managed to bridge our two music tastes together, in fact, they fell into quite a few different genres. From them, we grew to appreciate each other’s music preferences more, with Richard liking quite a bit of Goth and me becoming a real psychobilly fan. However, some rockabilly…I’m not still quite there!
9. Glaswegian Kiss – Big Boy Tomato
This album wasn’t around at the time, but the songs on it were.
We started going to see lots of different bands, that we found through the gig listings in Sounds, NME & Melody Maker. Sometimes we just went to a gig because we liked the sound of a bands name. One of these was Big Boy Tomato (BBT). They became a massive part of our lives from the first time that we saw them at a bank holiday ‘all-dayer’ at the George Robey, I think it was 1988, but could have been 1987?
We saw them as much as we could after that, eventually ending up selling their t-shirts and merch at gigs, travelling around the UK, Holland, Germany, and France with them. We ran their ‘fan club’ in the days before the internet made it all too easy, we even paid to sit in the foyer of the Mean Fiddler, to sell their t-shirts when they’d forgotten to put us on the guest list…now that’s dedication for you!
The gigs we went to were mainly based around BBT for about the next 7-8 years, seeing band members come and go, and lovely old songs dropped from the set, to be replaced with awesome new ones…this band should have been so much bigger than they were. Love these guys to bits and so happy that they have finally had this album released and are doing well gigging again.
10. Ladies & Gentlemen Attention Please – Nigel Lewis and the Zorchmen
It was Richard’s love of this man, that took us off to our first Bedlam Breakout festival on March 7th 2009….Bedlam 7. We had been out of the Psychobilly scene for years, not realising that many of the bands were still playing until we finally bought ourselves a computer. Our first gig back in the ‘psychobilly’ scene was Nigel Lewis playing at the Ace Cafe, with the Coffin Nails supporting him as his backing band. We then saw him again at The Underworld with the Johnson Family, before finally going to Bedlam, a gig that has changed my life for the better: Since that first Bedlam, we have always felt so welcomed and now have so many wonderful new friends, far too many to mention you all, but you know who you are. I was always the shy girl, more a listener than a talker, but you guys have given me so much confidence; too much according to Richard, he says he sometimes can’t shut me up now!
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I’ve got lots more Music Features & Interviews coming soon including one from the aforementioned Richard who has just as much a strong passion for music as his wife Laura. Next month’s guest in for 10 Albums That Influenced My Life will be Nick Kemp. In the meantime you might like to read:
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