My Life In Music… Ian Glasper

No. 1: ADAM AND THE ANTS Dirk Wears White Sox LP: This is quite simply the best album of all time, and I’ve probably played it at least once a week ever since the day I first bought it! Every time I put it on, I’m still staggered by the band’s vision. Half of their genius is knowing what not to play; the space and tension they create in the songs is incredible. The songs are massively heavy without being remotely metal, just from the sheer weight of anticipation they build. I always sound hysterical when I talk about this album, but I’d never heard anything so original before, nor have I since, and I doubt I ever will. Of course, I have a soft spot for the Ants as they were the first band I ever saw live, at the Birmingham Odeon in 1981.

No. 2: DEAD KENNEDYS Plastic Surgery Disasters LP In my opinion, the DKs were the best punk band to come out of the USA. As a bassist I loved Klaus Flouride’s thick gnarly bass tone, and I was always a sucker for those surfy noises East Bay Ray could torture out of his guitar, but let’s face it, it was all about Jello’s vocals and lyrics. Dripping with sneering sarcasm and subversive humour, he opened my teenage mind to all manner of perverse cover-ups and corruption. Immortal tunes and intelligent lyrics that challenged what you thought you knew – in other words, perfect punk rock.

No. 3: DISCHARGE Decontrol 7” Discharge’s Decontrol 7” quite literally changed my life when I heard it. I was already getting into Killing Joke, and Adam And The Ants, and the like, but I was totally unprepared for such a ferocious outpouring of angst. It was the most intense thing I’d ever heard, more a primal exorcism of rage than music. Cal screaming ‘We’ve been shit on for far too long!’ over and over again, as if his life depended upon it… I still get goose bumps when I hear it now. From the moment I heard this, the yard stick with which I measured music changed.

No. 4: VOIVOD Killing Technology LP I loved thrash metal from the minute it landed; the energy and vibe was very similar to punk and hardcore, even if the lyrics were a tad dumb in places. Voivod however stimulated me massively mentally, and again their bassist Blacky was a huge influence on my own playing. Their first LP, War And Pain, blew me away, mainly because of Piggy’s unique playing style, and the way he played his solos without a second guitarist to back him up was just so powerful. Rrrroooaaarrr was a lot of fun, but a bit of a mess, and then Killing Technology just rewrote the rule book as far as I was concerned. A totally jaw-dropping release that hasn’t lost a shred of its original power.

No. 5: RUDIMENTARY PENI Death Church LP Another band that was totally original that once heard have haunted me ever since. I was drawn in by Nick Blinko’s mind-blowing artwork, but that was just the tip of a very dark, twisted iceberg, because the music crawled all over you like a plague of insects, and the lyrics veered from politically charged to totally surreal. Never saw them live, and almost certainly never will, which is a sad realisation I doubt I’ll ever quite come to terms with. Perversely they were meant to be a bit crap onstage anyway, and when you think about it, how exactly are you meant to capture something this otherworldly in a dingy back room of a pub? So perhaps I’m better off not seeing them, and they can exist in my head just as I imagine them.

No. 6: SUBHUMANS The Day The Country Died LP The Subhumans are not only the most consistently good live punk band ever – I’ve NEVER seen them do a bad gig – but they’re also the single biggest influence on my own bass playing over the last thirty years. They’ve written some of the best tunes in anarcho punk, Dick Lucas is one of the most likeable front men in the scene, and they’ve survived – prospered – to this day without compromising their artistic integrity, by simply doing what they do with a minimum of fuss and fanfare.

No. 7: CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Animosity LP My love of ‘crossover’ started right here! I got into thrash metal through hardcore bands like DRI, Agnostic Front (those double bass drums on Eliminator!), Excel and Beyond Possession, but there’s something about Animosity that’s just so fucking intense – Mike’s voice and bass playing are dripping hot and red raw, Reed’s all over his kit like a rash, and Woody’s riffs sound like a cross between Black Sabbath and Septic Death. Top it all off with that Pushead art, and you have a bona fide classic!

No. 8: SLAYER Reign in Blood LP I thought Hell Awaits was fun, but nothing really prepared me for this! I first heard it when Gizz Butt played me an advance cassette of it when we stayed over at his place, when Decadence Within supported Desecrators in Peterborough, and I can remember us all huddling around this little C60 like it was the Holy Grail, ha,ha! I still think the mid-section of Angel Of Death has the best riffs in all of thrash metal (closely followed by the main riff of Megadeth’s Holy Wars…), but there isn’t a bad song on here, and the malicious energy they generate is almost palpable. Saw them in Brum on this tour too, back when they were a genuine force to be reckoned with, and they fucking destroyed the place. Cheesy upside-down crosses made out of light bulbs ‘n’ all.

No. 9: CRASS Nagasaki Nightmare 7” A lot of releases by Crass, from the band themselves and by bands on their label, were hugely influential on my train of thought as a teenager, making me question everything the media was feeding us, making me question how I viewed society and the system and all the other forces insidiously brought to bear upon me etc. But Big A, Little A, the B-side of this single, was probably the one Crass song I loved and played the most. I literally wore this record out, I played it so much, and knew every single word – and there was a lot of them. It took many years for the A-side to grow on me though… but grow it did.

No. 10: THE EXPLOITED Troops of Tomorrow LP It might seem weird to have Crass and The Exploited next to each other in my top ten, but I always loved both ‘camps’, the ‘anarcho punks’ and the ‘chaos punks’, or whatever you want to call them – it was all punk to me, and if I liked what I heard, I liked what I heard. So I’d be listening to Flux or Conflict one minute, and Anti-Pasti or The Defects the next. But if you want an example of ‘chaos punk’ that has stood the test of time, look no further than this – every song is a yobbo anthem, and the guitar tone was made in Scotland from girders!

After doing time in many bands, from Stampin’ Ground to Flux Of Pink Indians, Ian Glasper currently plays bass for Warwound, who have a split EP with War//Plague from Minneapolis out in February on Doctor Strange Records (7” vinyl) and MCR/Japan (CDEP). The author of four books on UK punk, he is now working on a history of UK thrash metal, which will be published by Cherry Red in April 2018.

Photograph by Phillipa Day

Features, Music

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