This fortnight we’re absolutely delighted to have Steve Pinkerton, frontman for super 2000s band The Anyones share with us his top ten records. Nowadays you will find Steve fronting the ever-awesome Ronson Hangup (along with a cast of fine gentlemen!) and also playing the drums for Melbourne legends Dallas Crane. Steve has delivered us some great tunes over the years – look for “Rubin” and the undeniably glorious pop of “Pocket“, both from The Anyones’ self-titled record. In more recent times check out the rollicking “Shades Of Stones” from the Ronson Hangup’s self-titled debut. And whilst on the subject, where is that second Ronson LP?! …Surely can’t be too far away! It promises to be a classic. – LT
Steve: My approach to My Top Ten Albums was to list the albums that had the greatest emotional impact on me in my formative years – I may rate other albums higher but these albums had the powerful combined effect on me of environment, circumstance and time.
ALICE COOPER Welcome To My Nightmare (1975)
Some of you who associate Alice Cooper with the era of the single “Poison” and beyond may be asking “what the fuck Steve?” (not to mention Alice’s occasional right wing outbursts – although next to Ted Nugent he’s positively Trotsky) but let me tell youse…from ’69 – ’77 Alice Cooper was the perfect mixture of irreverence, horror movie and sensational rock/pop. My older sister Jane introduced me to this – and it certainly had an impact. Originally signed by Frank Zappa to a 3 album deal, by 1974 Alice had essentially gone solo with a sensational backing band (shared with Lou Reed) that included the amazing Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars and producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Lou Reed). Welcome to My Nightmare was a concept album that was also made into a finely crafted theatrical performance. I loved the production, the story line, the guitars, the drums and the songs that ranged from the melancholy (“Only Women Bleed”) to great pop/rock (e.g. “Cold Ethyl” and “Department of Youth”) – oh and a touch of necrophilia.
AC/DC High Voltage (1975)
My brother’s birthday present – we gave this album a good flogging and were suitably amazed by Angus’s skills on “Baby Please Don’t Go”, romanced by Bon on “Love Song” and inspired by Phil’s drum roll on “Show Business” (which was one of the first things I learnt to play on drums). My strong memory is playing “She’s Got Balls” over and over just to annoy my Mum (surprisingly she had difficulty hearing Mozart’s influence). My brother was also responsible for introducing me to Slade and ELO.
ELTON JOHN Greatest Hits (1974)
Yep dark, gritty, subversive – ok maybe not – my Dad gave me this album on cassette and I fondly remember a beach holiday on Sydney’s central coast where I was rarely seen without my mono tape deck, weighing circa 2 kilos, and single ear piece with this album on high rotation (well it probably took 10 minutes to rewind the tape so perhaps medium rotation). What can I say, wall to wall melodies and lush recordings. It was number 1 in both the US and UK for weeks selling about 17 million. Favourite tracks included “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Bennie and the Jets” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.
KISS Alive! (1975)
There are groundbreaking albums like Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde, The Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds – and then, ahem, there’s Kiss Alive! A gift, this album was really the record that precipitated my love for rock/pop music – I would definitely love to be able to say it was Frank Zappa’s Mothermania but alas. My Dad surprisingly brought this back for us (unsolicited) after a trip to the USA and the first thing I remember was being obsessed with the front cover (outfits, makeup, rock poses, etc). A “live” album, there has always been great debate over how much is actually “live” (some say it’s only Peter Criss’s drum tracks) but this was always irrelevant to me – and regardless, I always enjoyed Elton John’s “Bennie and The Jets” with its deliberate and heavy-handed crowd noise overdub. I particularly loved the tracks “Strutter”, “Black Diamond” and “C’mon and Love Me”. Kiss were big fans of Slade and named the album after Slade’s Slade Alive. Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper) subsequently produced the album Destroyer so you can see there’s a theme to my formative years. Inspired by the New York Dolls (Peter Criss grew up with NYD’s drummer Jerry Nolan), Kiss took the cartoonish theme to a new level – a child’s dream.
THE ROLLING STONES It’s Only Rock And Roll (1974)
As schoolkids my friends and I were obsessed with the Rolling Stones and their albums, bootlegs, movies, etc. Not necessarily my favourite Stones album – I still love it because it reminds me of my school buddies and Year 12. It was the last album featuring Mick Taylor and was the first produced by Jagger/Richards as the Glimmer Twins. There are two highlights for me – the tracks “It’s Only Rock and Roll” and “Time Waits for No One”, which features a lead break by Mick Taylor that rivals his effort on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. The lead break is so familiar to me I think I could sing every note from memory – yet surprisingly it’s a song that the Stones have never played live (possibly because Mick left the band shortly after). Dave Larkin recently revealed to me that he is also a big fan of this track so we give it an occasional butchering at Dallas Crane rehearsal. Just after we had finished Year 12 my best mate Bern and I snuck in (me underage) to the Chevron Hotel on St Kilda Rd to watch John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, which featured members Mick Taylor and John McVie (Fleetwood Mac). We stood directly in front of Mick Taylor in awe – and in total fear of being kicked out. After the show we waited for them to appear and asked for a photo – and they couldn’t have been happier to oblige. The photo featuring a beaming Mick, John, John and Bern is still on my wall. Bern had just received his driver’s licence so we jumped in his mum’s car and chased their minibus down St Kilda Rd –John McVie decided to show off to their entourage and climbed out his window to shake my hand at 80kmh. I still remember Mick Taylor et al in fits of laughter.
LINDA RONSTADT Simple Dreams (1977)
This album was essentially forced upon me by stealth by my older sister Jane who flogged it to death at full volume. At that stage I was struggling between the LA sound and British New Wave – and my music collection was favouring the latter. Linda Ronstadt’s subsequent albums also reflected these British influences with songs written by Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. The songs on Simple Dreams range from tracks written by Buddy Holly (“It’s So Easy”) and The Rolling Stones (“Tumbling Dice”) to my favourite tracks written by Warren Zevon which include “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” and “Carmelita”. “Carmelita” resonated with me because it’s indicative of the other 70s 3-minute tragi-romance songs that I was drawn to such as Bad Company’s “Shooting Star”, Rod Stewart’s “Georgie”, Hot Chocolate’s “Emma” (later covered by Urge Overkill) and even John English’s “Hollywood 7” (although admittedly these were a tad more heavy-handed). This certainly inspired the track “Rubin” on The Anyones’ second album.
THE BEATLES Revolver (1966)
I won’t bother going into another vivisection of this album – suffice to say that as kids we were always surrounded by music (particularly classical music) thanks to my mother – but vocal harmony wasn’t her focus. So when I discovered The Beatles, and in particular Revolver (and Rubber Soul) it opened an amazing new world. I’ve been a sucker for a harmony ever since.
THE JAM Sound Affects (1980)
My first band out of school was comprised of my brother Mal and I, Nick Murphy (i.e. the genesis of The Anyones) and also Bern (mentioned above in the Mick Taylor experience) and we were essentially a garage 60’s inspired rock band – The Jam were a significant influence. Sound Affects was an easy transition from Revolver as the track “Start” was almost a ‘lift’ from “Taxman” – but it never bothered me. “That’s Entertainment”, “Boy About Town”, “But I’m Different Now” and “Pretty Green” were other faves. It reminds me of our first gig where some aggrieved patron promptly slashed the tyres of many of the patrons – wasn’t me… promise.
THE SMITHS Hatful Of Hollow (1984)
This album was the soundtrack to my university days, new friendships and tedious first year philosophy conversations. We knew it all – and thought we ruled the world. Morrissey and Marr perfectly framed the experience. In short, brilliant lyrics, melodies and lots of guitars. I was lucky enough to support Morrissey in The Anyones (and he’s been pestering me to be his ‘bestie’ ever since…).
LED ZEPPELIN Physical Graffiti (1975)
In the 90s I did some backpacking around the Philippines with Nick (The Anyones) and this album was my travel companion (via Walkman). It’s an intimate musical experience when the conditions are rough, the budget tight, the scenery stunning – and mobile phones/internet non-existent. A double album, I was seduced by the dry, powerful production (some tracks recorded on the Rolling Stones Mobile studio) – and, of course, the drumming.