Top Ten influences on The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing’s Double Negative album
Before The Men… start their UK tour on Monday in support of their superb ‘Double Negative’ album, reviewed here, they found time to pick their Top Ten Songs by Bands who inspired, influenced and shaped the music they make on the album.
Drummer Jez Miller seems to love a bit of hardcore punk, Marc Burrows is an indie-rock connoisseur, Andrew O’Neil is ‘very, very Metal’ indeed and Andy Heintz a goth-rock-horror fan of wordplay and theatrics. Some fabulous choices…
Dead Kennedys – California Uber-Alles (Chosen by Jez)
I remember the first time John Peel played California Uber-Alles on his late night radio show. The drum intro pounded, the guitars brought a sense of menace and ferocity and then the vocal started, dripping sarcasm and attitude, bursting with references that were strange and alien to me. Bam! I was hooked. I spent months trying to track this record down on import, but it wasn’t until it got a UK release by Fast Records, that I managed to get my mitts on a copy. I loved everything about it, the b-side, the sleeve art, everything.
The DKs were so different to anything the UK bands had to offer at that time. Faster and harder, with a sense of theatre and humour that spoke of both Alice Cooper and the Stooges. In a scene where bands like the Exploited revelled in their own limitations and idiocy, the Kennedys were literate and intelligent, often hilarious in their take downs of, well pretty much anything and everything.
The ghost of the Dead Kennedys is never too far from any TMTWNBBFN album, but probably never more evident than on Occam’s Razor. I had taken my guitar to rehearsal, Andy brought out his handwritten lyrics and the chords literally fell out of my fingers. Throw in an atonal drop down section where every guitar note clashes with the previous one and there you have it. Thanks for the inspiration!
Sepultura – Amen (Chosen by Andrew)
From the album Chaos AD. The chugging hardcore-influenced riffs that form the basis of Sepultura’s 1994 masterpiece album are beautifully and uniquely balanced on several songs by guitarist Andreas Kisser’s use of a droning E string while playing octave riffs higher up the neck. It’s an approach that comes from his classical training, and it adds a texture to heavy metal playing that transcends the usual thrash / NWOBHM riffs that now dominate so much of metal. I used this on our track Hidden, without even realised I was doing it… Amen has an ethereal quality that makes it less immediate but leaves a lasting impression. Brutal heavy metal with a deep soul. I hope we’ve captured some of that.
The Dresden Dolls – Girl Anachronism (Chosen by Andy Heintz)
I love Amanda Palmer’s staccato machine gun vocal delivery on this song by Dresden Dolls… there are definitely hints of it in Occam’s Razor
Millions of Dead Cops – Kill The Light (Chosen by Jez)
This blistering album came out in 1982 and at that point was easily the fastest record I’d ever heard. After the first Dead Kennedys single hit the UK in 1979, it opened the doors for the new US hardcore bands, with important releases like the Let Them Eat Jellybeans compilation and this debut from MDC.
My favourite track is probably Kill The Light, but there’s not a bad track on the album. John Wayne Was Nazi with its vicious takedown of an all-American hero, I Remember with its tales of brutal cops as corrupt private army, Born To Die with its “No war, no KKK, no fascist USA” refrain, this was a call to arms, dangerous and exciting, a potent blend of rock’n’roll attitude and punk polemic. And as I said earlier – fast!
Smashing Pumpkins – Siva (Chosen by Marc)
There’s a chemistry and magic to the early Pumpkins material that is unfakeable, the way D’arcy Wretski’s bass (usually played by obsessed perfectionist Billy Corgan on the record using Wretski’s parts) holds the balance between the depth and texture of the guitars and Jimmy Chamberlin’s splenetic, octopoid drumming. The bass creates the mesmeric groove the whole thing rests on. When Andrew first played me the riff to Hidden I instantly knew that was the route I wanted to go down, to counter the drone in Andrew’s part with something that rolled moved and dripped like syrup. It’s a similar approach to the bass on This House Is Not Haunted. Siva is my favourite example of Smashing Pumpkins doing this, and just in case your writing off Wretski for not playing on the record, check out her kicking ass on this water-tight live version. Chamberlin’s drums here are also astonishing.
The Birthday Party – Cry (Chosen by Andy Heintz)
The Birthday Party were one of my all time favourite bands… I can’t pick a favourite track by them… but this one was crawling around the back of my mind when I recorded the vocals for There She Glows
Slayer – Necrophobic (Chosen by Andrew)
From Reign In Blood. One part hardcore punk, one part supercharged Judas Priest, Necrophobic is as intense as Slayer ever got. It’s so fast it’s even name-checked by an embryonic Shane Embury and Bill Steer of Napalm Death in a 1989 BBC Arena documentary as the fastest song ever. I played this song in rehearsal and then we immediately wrote God Is In The Bottom Line. Jez, our laid-back rock n’ roll drummer, massively stepped up to the challenge!
Sick Of It All – Step down (Chosen by Andrew)
From Scratch The Surface. This album has a lot more of my vocals than the previous one, and I’ve been developing the heavier end of my range through touring a show about the History Of Heavy Metal. There’s less death metal and more hardcore here, cos there’s more to say. Aiming for Dennis from Refused, I ended up sounding more like Lou Koller from Sick Of It All, and seeing as how he’s the Best Frontman Of All Time, that’s a compromise I’ll very happily take.
Joy Division – Isolation (Chosen by Marc)
When we started writing Double Negative it immediately stuck me how tight and controlled the new stuff felt. It felt very post-punk to me, though others in the band would probably argue it’s more rooted in hardcore. I wanted a bass sound and feel that could cut through sharply, make itself felt and occupy a sonic space all of its own, while feeling very controlled and precise. Which is exactly what Peter Hook does, especially in his Joy Division days. Isolation is Hook perfecting this style, the bass drives the song occasionally from the front seat and occasionally remote controls from the back, all with this terrific, growling buzz. When I was working out my parts to Obscene Fucking Machine and Baby Farmer, it was Isolation I had in my head.
Ian Dury and the Blockheads – Plaistow Patricia (Chosen by Andy Heintz)
The lyrical genius of Ian Dury. His voice harks back to music hall and old London, he has a razor sharp wit and can be brutally barbed and satirical. What’s not to love?
And here is the new (lyric) video for Baby Farming from the Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothings album ‘Double Negative’ where, hopefully, you can hear some of their influences coalescing…..
Thanks to the band – chaps who are dedicated fans of, as well as makers of great music.
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing on I-Ttunes
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing on Spotify
As told to Ged Babey