12 Essential New York Records.

CBGB bowery OMFUG rock punk


I’m not someone who gets overly annoyed easily (but if you chew loudly or sniff constantly on public transport, I’ll probably want to smack you in the kisser.) However, after reading the apparent “essential” NYC records chosen by BBC 6Music, I got annoyed. In fact, it went beyond being annoyed. I am pissed off. A pissed off Punk who is absolutely infuriated by this list and I know that I am not alone in this.

If you want to share my rage, here is the list:

1. The Strokes – Is This It
2. Wu Tang Clan – Enter The 36 Chambers
3. Blondie – Parallel Lines
4. Talking Heads – 77
5. Nas – Illmatic
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell
7. Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends
8. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
9. Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe
10. The Rapture – Echoes
11. Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
12. LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver


I am a massive fan of Nas, Wu Tang, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes. The Strokes first record was my crutch for a long time, and I do agree with it being there- but not at the top. There is so much missing from this list- how can you even condense it down to 12 anyway? Maybe 20 wouldn’t even be enough.

So with my burning rage, I have to come up with my own list. I don’t want to claim that my list is correct or anything like that- it’s just an opinion. I could be wrong, or someone may feel like they agree with me. The severe lack of Punk in the list just makes me sad. I do agree, as I said with some of the records being there, but some are wrongfully missed.

Also, it isn’t in any order- I don’t like order, it makes me nervous.


It was either this or Leave Home. I think Leave Home is my favourite Ramones record, but their debut deserves to be there because of the huge impact it had. I remember hearing it for the first time when I was about 14/156. The age where everything and anything can influence you. I remember hearing it and feeling like I had been born in the wrong era. Every song gave me this incredible feeling, and every song just made me idolise them. I think it is obvious that I worship Joey Ramone. Oh man, Beat On The Brat is one of my favourite Ramones songs. I love the lyrics and I love the humour in their songs but there is a real sensitivity in Joey’s voice that is so unique and beautiful. It’’ just such an iconic record. It was made to influence and to be played loud.

Lou Reed-Transformer.

The most important NYC record of all time. ALL.TIME. Why the hell wasn’t it included?! It’s pretty insulting to Lou’s legacy that this record isn’t on there. It’s not only a great NYC record; it’s probably my favourite record of all time. As a gay person, this record gave me this sense of freedom that I hadn’t found in any other record when I first heard it. I didn’t come out until years after hearing this record, but it gave me this feeling of being alright with who I was. Besides, me being gay doesn’t define me. Never has, never will Transformer is just the coolest record ever made. I hate the word cool, we know that but fucking hell Lou Reed was THE coolest person to have ever lived and he just smacks it in our faces with this record. Sally Can’t Dance and Coney Island Baby are obviously worth mentioning. Pretty sure my list could just be Lou and Ramones records. Vicious and Andy’s Chest…man alive! “You hit me with a flower.” That’s GOT to move you in some way. I love the lyrics to Vicious, and I think this whole record shows Lou in a different way, you know? He just expressed himself in a way nobody else had dared to. I still don’t think anything can touch this record.

New York Dolls-New York Dolls.

The clue is in the bloody name really. Absolutely criminal and horrendous that this record isn’t on the list. My mum got me into the Dolls at a very young age. I don’t even think I was a teenager. I remember finding her copy of the record, and being in awe of the Dolls in drag. How beautiful they were! I was drawn of course, to Johnny Thunders (the greatest guitarist of all time.) Subway Train is such a beautiful song. Jet Boy has this incredible snarl to it. The whole record oozes attitude that is so unique to the Dolls. The lyrics to Trash and Personality Crisis are just great. This record is New York through and through. It’s got the charm and grit. It’s got the attitude and bite. It’s a record that I always find myself going to time and time again, and discovering more things to love about it. It’s just timeless.

Richard Hell + The Voidoids-Blank Generation.

Alright so Richard isn’t from New York- but this record was recorded at Electric Lady Studios so, it’s a NYC record. And he moved there pretty early on, so it’s fine. It’s acceptable.

I am a Richard Hell obsessive. I paid £30 once for a Richard Hell t-shirt from a shop on Brick Lane. Yeah it was too much money, but it’s Richard Hell.

Blank Generation would easily be in my list of best Punk records. It’s got this raw attitude to it, and I just love Richard’s voice. As a singer and as a writer, I just love him. His autobiography is one of the best of its kind I’ve read. He has most certainly lived a colourful life. Sure he’s done questionable things, the little bugger. But, he’s made some incredible music along the way.


Suicide are probably the best duo of all time. Frankie Teardrop is the best 10 minute song of all time. Dream Baby Dream is a masterpiece. The whole record is a work of art. If any record can capture the roughness of New York in the 70s, it’s this record. It is such a grand record and well ahead of its time. It still is. Nothing and no one has ever come close to this. For me, I think Suicide are massively underrated but they have influenced so many bands that I adore. It still hurts and it still sucks that Alan Vega is no longer here. I remember when he passed; I had the same reaction most had for Bowie. Suicide were never afraid to push their sound and to make music that was entirely different. It is a beautiful noise that brings such pleasure and joy to the ears. It is a gritty record from start to finish, and they keep that grittiness throughout every record they have ever made.

The Heartbreakers-L.A.M.F

I think this was recorded in London, but Johnny Thunders was a New Yorker, The Heartbreakers were a supergroup. I did want to pick a solo Johnny record, but I remembered how much I am obsessed with L.A.M.F (it stands for Like A Mother Fucker.) and how One Track Mind is such a great song. I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if Johnny was still here. Like I said earlier on, for me he’s the greatest guitarist of all time. His style was just impeccable and one of a kind. No one else could play like him. His style was way ahead of its time. He was ahead of his time.  He had this way of just magnetising you with every note. The record has been reissued so many times, but regardless of what version you have- it’s a genius record. It is proper Rock N Roll and has Punk foundations. Of all the records I own, I think this might be my most played. It’s one of those records I just really enjoy listening to over and over again.


Nas is one of the greatest rappers of all time, that’s obvious. There are so many Hip Hop records I could have chosen. I know that The Big Picture by Big L is one of the best. I bought it when it came out, and to this day it is still one of my favourite records. Like Nas, Big L was and still is above the rest. Illmatic portrays New York in a way that most don’t want to hear. Nas is not, and has never been afraid to show the harsher side of life. From losing friends to growing up in the projects in Queens- he really takes you there. He’s a poet, a storyteller. Halftime is one of the songs on Illmatic that really show this. He makes you see the world and his world the way he does with Illmatic. Is it his best record? For sure. It’s one of the best Hip Hop records of all time. Nas has constantly brought out remarkable records that have, and still do influence so many. It’s one of those records that you can’t imagine not ever happening. It is such an important record- irrespective of what kind of music you’re into; it is such a phenomenal record. What he did with this debut record most want from their whole career.

A Tribe Called Quest-People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

Tribe have always made consistently great records that are so experimental and diverse. They fused together all styles of music. There are so many records by them I could have chosen, but it felt right to go with their debut. It came out in a time where you had groups like NWA with their aggressive songs. Sure their songs may have been, but it is important to remember that NWA were telling us about the things that were happening in Compton- it is just as important and to an extent maybe more so. But this about New York right now. What I love about the first Tribe record is that it frees your mind, it gives you something that you won’t find anywhere else. Q-Tip and Phife are two great rappers, and I don’t think they have ever got enough credit it. Tribe’s records each have distinctive sounds. Push It Along is nearly 8 minutes long, Bonita Applebum is genius, I Left My Wallet In El Segundo is timeless and Luck of Lucien is just amazing. The samples on this record used range from Grace Jones to The Beatles to Lou Reed. It’s a record that quite simply, you need to own.

 Sonic Youth-Confusion Is Sex

I could have happily listed every single record by Sonic Youth. I’d have no idea where to start- so I went to the start. It’s such a heavy record; it’s a record that has influenced so many. It is powerful, it is loud and it has Jim Sclavunos on drums. What more do you need? (She’s In A) Bad Mood is such a brilliant way to start the record. Jim’s drumming is so brutal; they all just move you in a way that you wouldn’t expect. There is nothing calming about the sound on this record- they just rile you up in a way that is mind-blowing.

I think it is possible the record that shows us all just how amazing Kim Gordon is. I mean, we know that anyway but Confusion Is Sex has some awesome moments that just leave you inspired by Kim. Shaking Hell is my favourite on this record; it’s so aggressive and really brutal. The louder you play this, the better. The way she yells “Shake off your flesh!” is so hypnotising.

The Velvet Underground-Loaded

Maybe I should have gone with their first record. Maybe. But, Loaded is my favourite and I remember buying my copy of this in Brussels and feeling like I had won the lottery. My copy doesn’t play as well as it should but that’s because I am always playing it. I love listening to it and allowing Velvet Underground to take me some place really magical. Rock & Roll is such a fantastic song, and you can’t help but think you’re the person Lou has written about. Lonesome Cowboy Bill is out of this world- it’s not like anything else.

Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ is up there as being one of the greatest songs of all time. It’s one of Lou’s best, easily. I’ve written about this record so many times, and I’m sure I have never done it justice.

Television-Marquee Moon

I cannot make this list without mentioning Television, and this record. Many have regarded it as one of the best records ever made, and they aren’t wrong. It is such a wonderfully created record. From the vocals to the production- it is so effortlessly great and really does have a slick sound that you know is from New York. Every song on Marquee Moon is so distinctive. You hear one note, and you immediately know that it is them. The intro to the title song is one of the most iconic ones of all time. It’s an intro that just stays with you. You immediately go back to the first time you heard it as soon as it comes on. It’s just a magnificent record that definitely does deserve its status as being one of the greatest records ever made.

The Strokes-Is This It

There are a number of records I could have picked. I could have gone with Foxy Brown, Mos Def, Interpol, Talking Heads, Big L- so many. Why did I stick with The Strokes when I could have picked someone else? Because this record holds a lot of importance to me. It’s got me through hell and back. It still does. I adore Julian. I love his words, his voice and just him. It’s a record I constantly go back to. I can play it and I immediately go back to my first time hearing it. I was 15 years old, being bullied at school. I’d play it every day. And every single day I would imagine I was hanging out with Julian in New York City eating pizza, going to record stores and going to shows. This record was my escape, and it still is. It captures New York and it captures what music means to me. So from a totally personal point of view, this record is New York. This record is important. Again, it is one that is still a massive influence to bands. They are all great musicians, and there will never be anything else quite like it- just like all the records I have mentioned.


Like I said, there are so many records that could have been named. This is just my personal take. Maybe it is wrong, maybe it is right. It’s just a point of view, like the 6Music one is. But I just find it hard to accept that so many great and influential records were missed off.




Punk hasn’t and will not ever die. There will never ever be a style of Music that is as influential and as great as Punk. There will never ever be a band as great and as influential as the Ramones. You can keep your Beatles, and your Led Zeppelins. I’m aware it means something to others, but to me they meant nothing. Their songs and sounds didn’t speak to me. Ramones however, they did more than just speak to me. They were the backbone to a genre of Music that I simply can’t do without, and could never imagine not listening to.

Sure you get people who claim that Punk is just noise. But they probably listened to one song and that was it. Until recently  I pretty much turned my nose up at the Sex Pistols. I thought I didn’t get it, but I sat and listened to them for a view hours and loved how obnoxious young Johnny Rotten sounded. In my heart of hearts though, it is New York that is the REAL home of Punk and I fail to see how anyone could question that.

At only 62 years old, Tommy Ramone, the last original member of the Ramones has died. He was probably the finest drummer my ears have ever been exposed to. He kept up the fast and furious pace of the signature Ramones sound. He made it look so effortless, he made you want to pick up some drumsticks and drum your itty bitty heart out.

I’ve got a copy of Leave Home on vinyl, and when I play it when I visit my family I find myself staring at the cover. Taking in their poses and how all they did was done with purpose. No doubt it was done with a lot of blood, sweat and arguments but nothing good comes easy. If you aren’t willing to struggle, then just give up. Ramones taught me to not give up. I’ve read Mickey Leigh’s book about his brother Joey (I Slept With Joey Ramone) many times to know that for me, Joey is my hero. Tommy added something to the Ramones that the others didn’t, and they knew it. He added a form of stability that kept them together. When he left the band in 78, he went on to produce a few more of their records so the real sound of the Ramones was always there. He was a brilliant drummer and producer.

If it wasn’t for the Ramones, most of the bands that I listen to and love wouldn’t have formed. They wouldn’t have wanted to make their own scene, their own noise. Ramones made it easier for me to feel alright in the skin I’m in. It’s perfectly fine to not think like others, it’s alright to have your own interests and to hang out by yourself. It’s normal to get angry at what you see happening in the world. It’s alright to just be how you are. The minute you change for someone, you stop being yourself.

62 is no age, and cancer is a bastard.

Although there are no more original members of the Ramones around, we will always have the music. That will never go, and all they stood for is around in your favourite band. When your favourite singer towers over the mic stand, that’s Joey Ramone coming through. When your favourite drummer goes nuts and just blows your mind with how fast they play, that’s their Tommy Ramone inside of them. When you see your favourite bassist yelling out “1-2-3-4” and the music kicks in, that’s their Dee Dee Ramone coming out. And when your favourite guitarist stands playing with a wealth of fury yet looking effortlessly cool, that’s their inner Johnny Ramone shining.

Ramones placed something in their fans that they will always carry round with them, and that’s why Punk won’t ever die. It just goes some place else.

JOEY RAMONE. 12 Years.

“I enjoyed my life when I had nothing… and kinda like the idea of just being happy with me.”

I’ve had this in mind most of the day. The rest of my thoughts aren’t as interesting, or as important. I’ve spent the day listening to and thinking about the Ramones. How time drags. How everything drags when it is bad. I’ve always idolised the Ramones; mainly Joey. I bought (fake) leather jackets because I saw how it made them look untouchable. I wanted to feel like that. When I wear it, I don’t. It’s going to take more than a jacket to make me feel like that. I look at old press photos of them all; they were a gang, a family. A force that could not be stopped and to even want to stop them would have been utterly foolish.

Punk went beyond being a genre of music. Ramones went beyond being just a band. I have a few of their records (vinyl) and when I play it, with the crackling in the background the excitement of discovering them for the first time hits me. They became instantly timeless didn’t they. They had something that is beyond words and will never be seen in any other band. You see, everyone is always “BEATLES OR ROLLING STONES.” No. Forget that. I’d choose neither (if I had to, I’d pick Rolling Stones because they weren’t overproduced and manufactured toss.) Ramones had EVERYTHING a band should have. They had raw energy, songs that felt like you were being throttled but they conveyed so much sensitivity in certain songs such as I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend and their cover of the Ronettes song Baby I Love You.

Joey Ramone will always be the greatest frontman of all time. His shyness and towering frame made him seem like a gentle giant. His distinctive voice and the way he thrashed the mic stand as he sung made you wish you could be like him. I will always wish I could be like him, and Patti Smith. There’s nothing I can really say about Joey that hasn’t been said by so many before. He was truly one of a kind.

Ramones-End Of The Century.

Ramones - End Of The Century (1980)

When I look into your big brown eyes, and I feel like I’m in paradise. I want you by my side.”

My love for the Ramones isn’t just love. It’s an obsession. A way of life. If I was male, I’d want to be as tall as Joey Ramone. I’d have the hair too. Instead I am short, chubby and I have the same wild hair. I make do with what I have; I have to. It’s alright. I wear my Ramones hoodie with pride, but at the same time loath the thought that someone may assume I know nothing about them and are just wearing it to look “cool.” Please note that the term “cool” is bloody awful and nobody is cool. It’s a redundant word to make people into all they aren’t. Ramones are probably my favourite band ever. Closely followed by The Jesus And Mary Chain. This is all my uncle’s doing, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I always thought I could never pick a favourite record by Ramones because they have done so many. I think it’s around 14 or 15. I’ve always had a place firmly reserved for End Of The Century. I think if it wasn’t produced by (my favourite producer of all time) Phil Spector, my love for the record may not be as deep as this. Merging Punk and the Wall Of Sound together showed the genius of both Phil Spector and the Ramones. I’ve read many stories about the difficulties that occurred when recording End Of The Century. From Phil apparently holding the band hostage (with a gun) to recording the record in several studios; it is still one of the best records ever made.

My personal highlight of the record will always be their cover of the Ronettes song, Baby I Love You. I love this song more than I can put into words, and to hear my favourite band cover it in a way that still keeps hold of the vulnerability in the song is just incredible. Joey’s voice on this song is just stunning. To the point where you find yourself singing along with him and yelling “I LOVE YOU TOO JOEY” at the end of the song. Is that just me? I think it could be. It’s alright.

I know that it is a record that many fans of the band may not like, but for me it isn’t about the songs. It is about the fact that Phil Spector (in all his madness but genius) and the Ramones made a record together. Through all the madness and whatever else happened, a record came from it. It may or may not be “true” to the sound of the Ramones but no band ever stays the same. You cannot ever expect a band to keep making the same record over and over. What would be the point?

I own a few Ramones records on vinyl, but not many on CD. For me, I enjoy them more hearing the crackling in the background on vinyl. Sure you can hear the production more clear on a CD but I want the background noise. Ramones were raw. Regardless of who produced the records, they always stayed true to that. That easily makes them the best band ever. There will never be another band like them. Just like there will never be a producer like Phil Spector. So to have a record like End Of The Century, regardless on your view of it, was a truly great thing to happen to music.

Top 10 Male Singers (of all time..sort of.)

I frequently have internal battles with myself about my favourite songs and records of all time. I place them into categories to make it easier, such as Favourite Debut Record of All Time to BEST SONG EVER PART 1 OF 100. Stuff like that you know? But earlier, I managed to come up with a solid list of my favourite male singers of all time. I basically narrowed it down to singers that were around before I was born because if I did recent ones, I’d firmly place Brandon Welchez from Crocodiles as my number 1. Maybe I’ll do a list for that.

So, I’m going to attempt to list my favourite male singers of all time (that existed before I was born..I was born in ’86. The golden era of Hip Hop.) Of course I may change my mind at some point, but hopefully I won’t fret and lose sleep over this. I’m a born worrier; but I keep it well hidden. Obviously I’ve just admitted to it, so it’s not a secret. Oh well.

10. David Johansen (New York Dolls.) I hate that I’ve had to put this in order because I want to jumble it all around. However, the love I have for David Johansen goes beyond him being my number 10. What I love about him is his flamboyant style and distinctive drawl. I remember my mum playing their first record round the house when I was younger. I didn’t know it was the Dolls but I was hooked on Jet Boy. I probably used to sing it, and get the words mixed up. Nothing has changed. Into my teenage years, I saw a copy of their debut record at my uncle’s. I was drawn to the cover, and I always stand by it being my favourite album cover ever. The sheer beauty of it just drew me in straight away. Utterly gorgeous. So, what is it about David Johansen that makes me adore him? I think he’s one of the best front-men of all time. His charisma and charm just leaves you in awe. The way he moves makes you want to emulate him in a dramatic fashion. He’s one of a kind, and undoubtedly inspired so many to express themselves in a way no one else dared to do so.

9. Townes Van Zandt. My love for Townes started only a few years ago, and it wasn’t his voice that got me hooked. Before I even heard his voice, I read his lyrics. His lyrics were that of a troubled soul. You couldn’t help but connect with him, yet at the same time feel uncomfortable that you connected with his words. Then when you heard his voice, you TRULY got all the pain. Some singers become actors and don’t believe in what they do. Some just want the money. With the likes of Townes, you could tell that music was everything to him. His life was dependant on making music. It didn’t really matter how the listener felt; he just needed to get it all out. We all need an outlet, music is one of the most powerful ones. Townes possessed a unique voice that no matter what, just sounded so vulnerable. He didn’t have to put on an act; everything about him was truthful. At times some of his songs became too painful to listen to, but at best- you just knew someone else understood some of the perils of every day life.

8. Nick Cave. Some singers you remember falling in love with, because it just stays with you for the rest of time. Nick Cave is a prime example of that. My gran used to look after me when I was younger, before I went to primary school. Before chewed up and spat out my soul. Or you know, before I ate paint and sobbed before swimming lessons. My uncle used to live with her in this house, and I always remembered going to his room when he was at work and staring at a poster of Nick Cave on one of the walls in his room. I’d stare at it in utter awe. I don’t know what my toddler mind was thinking, but it was fixated on this person. I felt like I was looking at something untouchable. I guess I knew of Nick Cave’s genius before I even heard his voice or read his lyrics. Fast forward to about 10 years old and I’m hearing Into My Arms and Henry Lee on MTV. Something was happening in my mind. I knew exactly what it was. I knew what I wanted to be. A writer. I wanted to write words like this; but the thing is, no one can write like Nick Cave. The man is a genius. Sure enough his vocals may not be to everyone’s taste, but his lyrics…I fail to find a song that anyone couldn’t relate to. Everything about him just makes you want to expand your mind and explore other worlds.

7. Leonard Cohen. One of the greatest writers of all time regardless of genre. Leonard Cohen and Morrissey were the two song-writers that truly made me care about words. Poets such as Poe and Rimbaud got me hooked on words too. But these two singers just made me see everything in the world in a different way. The darkness and love and romance of everything around us was made clearer by them. Leonard Cohen for me just creates a different world. A world that is free of everything but full of questions. I think that’s a good way to live. It’s hard to live that way, but it gets you through. I always place Leonard Cohen as a poet before anything else, but his voice is so powerful. Some may seek singers that hit high notes and have a stupid range. I don’t want that. I want you to sing in a way that makes me feel like you are telling a story to my soul. Leonard Cohen does this, and so much more. I’ve many reasons as to why I adore him, that’s just one of them. I don’t think I could put the rest into words to be honest.

6. Otis Redding. I’ve found a pattern in the singers I love; they all basically sing songs about loss and pain. I’m a cheerful soul. Of all the Soul singers in the world that have existed, it was Otis Redding that I truly found a life-long love for. Everything about his voice makes you wish you were around when he was starting out. Imagine being one of the first to have heard his voice all those decades ago. His sad songs could break the hardest of hearts, but his joyful songs could bring tears of happiness to your eyes. He had the power to make you feel every single word he sang. He died far too young, everyone knows that. And I also think most know that Otis, although he had a short career, he was truly one of the best. I’ve got a bit of an issue with the term “Soul” music because all music should come from there and you should feel music right in your soul, but regardless- Otis oozed more soul than most.

5. Joey Ramone. No idea how to get into writing about Joey because let’s face it- he possessed the greatest voice in Punk. The way he towered over the mic stand. Pulling it to and fro like a man under a spell made you want to start something of your own. Easily one of the most distinctive voices of all time. His voice was like no other. His stage presence has obviously been an inspiration to many over the years. From how he stood to how he dressed. He wasn’t just part of a band, he was part of a movement that fuelled the souls of so many lost people. Myself included, and also justifies why I was born in the wrong era. To be in New York in the 70s would have been perfect. What do we have now? Of course we do have wonderful things, but imagine being part of one of the most powerful movements in music (and possibly society.) One of my most prized possession are my Ramones records. I rarely play them as I don’t want to ruin them; but when I do, I can truly hear all they stood for. Joey was the voice for so many, and you know what, he still is.

4. Lou Reed. I’m going to try keep this as short as possible because I truly have no issues with writing a massive essay about my love for Lou Reed. However all I want to say and could say about him has been said before. Again, this is another genius my uncle got me into. He got me into Velvet Underground then after he saw my love for them he told me to listen to Transformer. Is Transformer one of the best records made? Damn right it is. Wagon Wheel is one of my favourites for sure. I just love Lou’s style of writing. He’s a genuine story-teller who takes you into the underworld of all around you. You think all you see is all that exists, then you listen to a Lou Reed song and it’s like you fall into a different world. Something quite dark, wonderful and weird. You never want out of it. I think, once you listen to Lou- that’s it for life. Once you give yourself over to his words, you feel part of something that no one or nothing could tear you from. You even forgive him for that Lulu record because Transformer exists.

3. Scott Walker. I guess like most I have already mentioned, Scott Walker is an acquired taste. His debut record is by far one of the greatest records ever made. My Death is probably my favourite Scott Walker song, you know, with me being a ray of sunshine and all that. But in all seriousness, my love for Scott Walker came from of course, The Walker Brothers. His solo work is just a work of art. Every record is a masterpiece. You really cannot deny that he’s a genius. The way his mind works, the way he writes, the way he sings- he’s just out of this world. He’s an enigma, for sure. I cannot wait for his new record to come out in December. Every record of his sounds entirely different from the last; but they always remain timeless and as important as each other. To have a career that reads like that is rare, and something that should be treasured.

2. Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart.) A strange soul who made even stranger music. Safe As Milk changed a LOT for me. I think it honestly changed how I listened to music, and the ways it affected me. It opened up my mind. What did Trout Mask Replica do? Well, it freaked me out in the most pleasurable way for sure. I think it is one of the weirdest records I’ve ever heard.  I loved the way his mind worked. From his songs to his paintings- everything about him just oozed freedom and creativity. The two go hand in hand, but not many can make them work as perfect as Don Van Vliet did. He was a rare spirit that made you feel so free. When you listen to Safe As Milk, whether the first time around or if you’re a new fan, everything about it just gives you something you are never going to get again. I guess you can only get it from a Beefheart record. Certain musicians give you certain feelings, I think what Beefheart gave you is something that goes beyond words you know. I’ve tried so many times to pick a favourite song by Captain Beefheart, but instead I’ve narrowed it down to a moment. It’s when he says, “A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast ‘n bulbous, got me?” at the start of Pachuco Cadaver. No idea what it means, but it’s wonderfully strange.

Okay so for Number 1 I just couldn’t decide. Bob Dylan or Morrissey. I can’t choose. There’s no way I can do that. So, joint first place are Bobby and Morrissey. So I’m going to keep it brief.

1. Bob Dylan. Where do you begin when attempting to write about your love for someone so inspiring? I have my mum to thank for my obsession with this man. I’m proud of my Dylan tattoo on the back of my neck. It’s of a song that guided me through hell and back. Through hell some more, and back again. His words provide guidance through life- the good and the bad. It is like he is reassuring you every step of the way. My mum used to sing Forever Young to me when I was a baby before I went to sleep. His music is perfect for long train journeys or just walking around on your own. He makes you feel okay with whatever is going on. You stare out to all you see with his words echoing delicately in your ear, and you’re to restart/carry on. I hold Blonde on Blonde very dear to my heart, and I think it is possibly my favourite Dylan record. But with so many, I think it is hard to choose a solid favourite yet it seems to always be the one I go to for various reasons.

1.Morrissey. I’ve always declared Morrissey as being the one true love of my life. Mainly because his words/songs have been there when I thought I had nothing else. Speedway has been the song that sums up my life for the most part, as does Alma Matters. Everyday Is Like Sunday fully describes where I unfortunately live. I could honestly write an essay about every Morrissey song and still feel I had more to say. His words are a safety net and a force of hope to guide you through. He manages to release every unwanted and wanted feeling you have ever had, and will have had. Dismiss him as a moody sod all you want; but maybe you are scared to see yourself in his words. Seeing him live..every single time feels like a healing process. For some reason, every time before I have seen him- something shit has gone on in my life, and I’ve seen him and it all feels okay. His music goes beyond just being music, and I know every Morrissey fan feels like that. He’s not someone you just stick on as background music. He’s the soundtrack to all you do. He’s someone I don’t think I could actually sit and listen to with. It’s a very personal experience, mainly because I relate to a vast majority of his lyrics. I just adore everything about him, he’s the reason as to why lyrics are so important to me. I wear my Morrissey tattoo on my arm with unconditional love and pride. He changed my life and saved my life; that’s why he’s my number 1.

“To lose my train of thought and fall into your arms’ tracks. And watch beneath the eyelids every passing dot.”

Music that makes me feel like my insides are being ripped out and that makes me feel like my ears are bleeding is pretty much my favourite. I don’t mean I want to hear some fool scream like a person possessed so I can’t understand what on earth they are saying; I mean music that is so loud and passionate it makes you believe. It’s brutal force drives you to make something of your own. Whether it be making your own noise or writing the most emotional and moving poem possible.

Music can make you feel better about being the only person in your world. Music can drown out the rats and make you see what matters. Music can provide what a person can’t. If I can love music like this, I can love a person right? Anyone can. Fear and loathing in my body. My mind is aging fast and my body has no clue. I’ve too much patience, and too much time. A wealth of ideas that are useless. And a heart that’s unsure of its purpose. I find answers in songs that release frustration, longing, desire, confusion and love. I realised I wasn’t alone when I first heard Morrissey. I realised it was okay to enjoy “dark” things thanks to The Jesus And Mary Chain. I found out how to be vulnerable from Patti Smith. I learnt how to keep hold of fear but not let it rule me thanks to Garbage. I learnt how to be gentle from Beach House. I found freedom in Warpaint. Music makes me who I am. I know I should be the one who makes me who I am, but it isn’t always the case.

I found a home in Punk and Garage Rock. I found two types of music that just summed everything up. Punk let out the fury, Garage Rock saved my soul. I’ve done a tribute to my love for Garage Rock before, but it’s the turn of Punk. I know EVERYONE has their own opinion on it. No one is right, no is wrong. I prefer the American Punk scene because it means more to me. It had more heart; it wasn’t about the appearance. It was the music that spoke volumes. The voices behind it just created something so powerful, and life-changing. From Iggy to Ramones and all in-between there was a voice for all. Ramones are EASILY in my top 5 favourite bands of all time, so it truly pisses me off when I see people wearing a Ramones shirt and they cannot name a song by them- let alone a band member. If you don’t dig the band then don’t wear the shirt. Simple as.

For me, Punk was a sheer escape. If you saw where I grew up you’d fully understand why I needed to mentally escape as often as possible. I still do. More than ever. Music is truly my life, it’s all I know. Punk kept the fury alive, I’m waiting to turn it into something I can be proud of. However, I have yet to do something I am proud of. Maybe one day it’ll happen. Or on my deathbed I’ll say, “I made this amazing cup of tea once…” As I reminisce about this cup of tea, I croak it. Typically. Anyway.

Punk has my heart. It owns every part of me. It is everything and so much more. It went beyond being a genre of music. A state of mind, a way of life and a way of being. They say it is dead. Well, the true essence of it is and we’ll never see a movement like it ever again. That’s why I treasure it so much.

These are the Punk songs that mean more to me than I can put into words. These are the songs that provided a safety net but unleashed all I felt because my words weren’t good enough. They never will be, but that’s fine.

Joey Ramone- Happy bloody Birthday.

I idolise this man. I have done ever since I can remember. I fell in love with his perfect stage presence. His unconventional beauty. His lyrics. His music, his art, his wisdom- just him. You wanted to be just like him, you wanted to be friends with him. Some may use the word “cool” to describe him, but I find that word to be highly redundant. It’s such an empty word to describe a person. Joey deserves more than that, especially as today would’ve been his birthday.

I remember when I first heard the Ramones. My uncle was a Punk (and I firmly believe once it is in you, you are a Punk for life) and I used to be fascinated with his record collection. I still am. Most of what I love comes from his influence. I picked up a Ramones record and I was in awe of the artwork. They didn’t look like a band- they looked like a gang. You could tell by just looking at them that they had a “do or die” kind of approach. I personally believe that’s the best way to be. If you are not willing to bleed and ache for your art- then don’t do it. Never do something unless you are going to put your heart into it. That’s one of the many things Ramones taught me. I feel in debt to this band.

I had a Ramones hoodie. I let someone borrow it. I’m never getting it back. I pretty much lived in that hoodie. I just want it back. I need a new one. Sorry, about the outburst.

What I loved about Joey was how for most who didn’t know who he was, he probably seemed like a lanky daunting creature. His gangly frame completed with ripped jeans and a beaten leather jacket. Most probably would look at him and think “here comes trouble.” The only time he probably kicked up a fuss was on stage. Thrusting the mic stand about and yelling every word for you to scream back. I watch the old clips and just wish I was there. I have a couple of Ramones records on vinyl, and they are honestly one of the few treasured possessions I have. I don’t own anything expensive at all. If you’re going to mug me, I wouldn’t bother at all. I have no money and my bank card has snapped in half. I’m a walking mess and a disgrace to myself. I like to think my leather (not real leather) shields me from being approached by the likes of bible bashers and charity workers. I don’t want to be told I’m going to Hell nor do I have the money to send to someone else. I’ve been living off cup-a-soup. Feel free to send me YOUR money.

Joey was a gentle giant. Hiding behind his hair, was he really that shy? I think that was part of the appeal. From him, I learnt that being shy isn’t a bad thing so long as you have a way of letting it all out. Find a form of art to just let it all out.

Joey made me, and still makes me feel less hideous about my messy hair and my clothes that are falling apart. It doesn’t matter about the outside. Keep your insides pure and honest- and do what you have to do in order to keep yourself alive.

Joey, wherever you are, I hope you are having the best birthday ever. Thank you for being an inspiration and role model for someone like me. Much love xxxx

Joey Ramone. 11 Years.

I’ve idolised the Ramones ever since I can remember. I remember my Uncle playing them to me when I was 5 years old or something crazy. I was instantly drawn in towards Joey. I loved the way he was on stage. I loved the way he sometimes thrashed the mic stand about. He stood on the stage with purpose and cause. He was such a charismatic force that just left you in awe. When he died 11 years ago today, I was in bits. The feeling of losing one of your heroes is awful you know. It will happen to us all eventually. The Ramones own a piece of my heart that I can’t imagine giving a person. They were much-needed, and always will be. We’ll never have another band like them. We’ll never have a front-man like Joey Ramone. His long, messy hair. His ripped jeans. His beaten leather jacket. Someone once said to me, “You look like a lost member of the Ramones.” I enjoyed that a lot.

The Ramones were more than just a Punk band. Irreplaceable and forever loved. Each member that has passed, is forever missed.

So here’s to you Joey. Thank you. For everything.

“I’m dealing in rock’n’roll. I’m, like, I’m not a bona fide human being.”

It is obvious that Phil Spector is THE greatest record producer of all time. Wall Of Sound has influenced, and still does influenced so many. The way the drums are produced to echo so loudly and so grand is just beautiful. He has produced some of the best records of all time. Anyone who can start a movement in music like that is a genius. Aside from Punk, girl groups from the 1960s well and truly own my heart. I love the production in everything. How the vocals sound so perfect and clear.

I know that Mr.Spector isn’t exactly the posterchild for clean living- but his personal life has nothing to do with you or I. He has produced so many records from the likes of The Ronnettes to the Ramones. His songs are still being covered to this very day. What he created also influenced one of the greatest records of all time; Back To Black by Amy Winehouse. I don’t go out of my way to purposely find new muisc. A lot of the time, I listen to stuff that was made decades before I was born. It’s frustrating because nothing will ever be as amazing as that again. Music now will never have that power. It’s a shame, and it always makes me believe I was born in the wrong era. Imagine hearing songs by The Crystals or The Girlfriends for the very first time- as it was happening.

So, this week’s mix is going to be my favourite tracks that Phil Spector produced. Songs that still cover me in goose bumps when I listen them now. Songs that I will search for eternity to find on vinyl because I know they will sound so much better; and will have that vulnerable feel to it that sounds so much more intense and painful accompanied with the crackling background noise.

These are the songs that define Phil Spector’s career and the era of the Wall Of Sound. Enjoy :


I love most genres of music, but there is one genre in particular that owns a larger piece of my heart. This one genre taught me to speak up and not be afraid of doing so. There comes a point in your life where holding your tongue and being quiet drains you. You just have to let it all out. Be careful with your words, but don’t look back; and don’t take any of it back. This genre was of course, Punk. To me, Punk is more than a genre of music- it’s a way of life, an attitude, a state of mind; it’s everything.

Today would’ve been the 60th birthday of the bassist and founding member of the Ramones, Dee Dee Ramone.

As most would agree, the Ramones were blueprint of Punk rock. They had this attitude that was just inspiring and a way of playing that made you want to start a band. This band made you want to roam the street kicking a can out of boredom and frustration. Ramones said all you couldn’t say. Beat On The Brat, is it about an annoying kid in a pram? Or is it about those that follow trends and it bugs you? Take your own meaning dear reader; I doubt the Ramones would be for harming kids though. I’ll go with the latter.

What I loved so much, and still do, about the Ramones is that they loved music. They didn’t make music because it was something to do. They did it because they anted to, and done properly-could take them somewhere. The frustrations of being jobless is dire, it is truly the most soul destroying feeling in the world. Some people are made to feel worthless by people, others feel it by being unemployed. Ramones provided an escape to feeling like this. They made it okay to be frustrated and pissed off at the world. If you aren’t angry, then you don’t care for what is going on.

I can’t remember how old I was when I first heard the Ramones. I know I was really young, my uncle was a Punk and I was always fascinated by his music collection. I still am, and I remember seeing an album of the Ramones and just being in total awe of how they were on the cover. I looked at it and thought, “I want to be like that.” I wanted to have this attitude/vibe. Obviously I don’t posses it; I’m just some nerdy music lover who knows ridiculous bits of information about certain songs and artists (not in a “I know their favourite colour” kind of way.) I loved how they dressed. I remember once someone said to me, “You look like a cross between all of the Ramones.” Some would take offense, I fucking loved it. I think it’s my jacket, it’s got special powers. It hasn’t really; I just like to think it does. It’s my favourite item of clothing- I must say it is fake leather though; I’m not ashamed of that. When my mum came back from Edinburgh a few yars ago, she brought me back some old records- two of them were by the Ramones, probably one of the most treasured things I own. They just sound so raw on vinyl.

The band may not have had a remarkable amount of commercial success, but they were an influence to so many; and still are. They may not have always seen eye to eye and probably argued more times than believed- but they created amazing, intense music. Their short songs ripped right through you and gave you this indescribable energy that no other band could give you. I get pissed off when I see people wearing Ramones t-shirts and evidently not knowing what the band were about, and what they did for music. Certain high street clothes shop use photos of the band on t-shirts without knowing the importance of the band, causing people to buy the shirt and not knowing who is on it. They just treat the Ramones like a brand- which they aren’t and weren’t.

I will always believe I was born in the wrong era. I should’ve been born in the 60s so I could’ve fully experienced the Psychedelic movement and the Punk scene, that’s when music was well and truly exciting. No band has every caused so much excitement and energy as much as the Ramones did. I could write you thousands and thousands of words about how and why the Ramones are important- but those who truly love them, know exactly why they are. They know why the Ramones were such a vital force in music. They said all you wanted. They made it okay to feel certain things and more importantly- they made you feel okay with being who you are.

I know I usually go on about lyrics, but with the Ramones- it’s just everything. The frustration in Joey’s voice, the shortness of the songs, the ruckus in the music and the angst in their lyrics. They had it all, nobody else has done it like they did and nobody else ever will. They made you want to get up and do something; learn from it.