Scott Kannberg has - to all intents and purposes - lived his life through music.
A member of Pavement, helped re-define the lexicon of indie rock before pursuing fresh endeavours with Preston School Of Industry.
Now utilising the Spiral Stairs moniker, the American artist recently returned with new album 'Doris & The Daggers'.
Clash reviewer Noveen Bajpai was transfixed, praising its "straight forward, no bells and whistles approach" to "deliciously satisfying beer rock".
Clash sat down with Scott Kannberg to discuss his Foundations - the albums that shaped his path through music.
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Fleetwood Mac - 'Then Play On'
I first heard this record late one night over at a San Fran friend’s house in the early 2000's and haven't been the same since. I was way late to the Fleetwood Mac. Of course I heard the late 70's Stevie Nicks/Mac. It was all over the radio and in our culture, but at that time I liked Kiss, Devo, and The Clash.
'Then Play On' is Peter Green’s last record with the group and you can hear it. My fave song is Danny Kirwan’s 'Although The Sun Is Shining'. After my divorce, I would stay up really late in my Seattle house listening to this record (on a record player, so you'd have to turn it over) and just lose myself in its starkness and honesty. Something I guess I was going through as well.
A big influence on my last record ‘The Real Feel’. At least the sound of it, if not some of the lyrics. 'Bare Trees', 'Kiln House', and 'Future Games' are all amazing mid-period Mac too!
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Roxy Music - 'Manifesto'
Also got into Roxy a little late in the game. Of course I loved 'Love Is The Drug' and some of the 'Avalon' stuff, but again I was too into punk rock at the time to get it. First time I really thought “Whoa, who is this band?” was when I was in a record shop in Oakland, California one day in the mid-90s and heard a record being played that sounded like a weird Devo or Pere Ubu outtake. I asked the clerk who it was and he said it was a Roxy music bootleg. And Eno was going off on the synth.
I bought it and went down a serious worm hole for Roxy ever since. I mean, come on... my daughter is named ROXY!
I love all their records, don't think there's any filler. But my fave is 'Manifesto'. Just something about the craft and sound that appeals. It's got a little of the early records fighting with the 'Avalon' style. So cool.
If anyone ever sees a Manzanera Firebird (guitar) for sale, let me know!
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Devo - 'Are We Not Men, We Are Devo'
I was a typical kid growing up in Stockton. Played sports, skateboarded, got OK grades, just sort of fit in. Popular on the radio at the time of course was all the classic rock being shoved down our throats by FM radio. It was 'Stairway To Heaven' 24 fucking hours a day. But, I was lucky to have a few records in my parents' collection growing up and hearing some great rock and roll on the AM radio to at least have a base in what was seemed OK music.
I liked things that sounded a little different. I liked Kiss, The Cars, Cheap Trick... you know, mid-70's weirdo music that got played on the radio. We'd all watch American Bandstand on Saturday mornings to catch to see if any of these new bands were played.
One of these new bands were Devo and in 1977/78 they played 'Satisfaction' on the show and completely blew my mind. I don't think I’ve been the same since. With their outfits and complete weirdness, I was hooked. Went and bought the record the next day and I remember the clerk wondering 'what the fuck is up with this band?'.
The album is perfect. So crazy and new. I was 11 or 12. First show I ever saw a couple years later was Devo.
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Echo and The Bunnymen - 'Heaven Up Here'
Devo got me eventually into new wave and then The Clash and The Sex Pistols and punk rock which took us all in another direction... thank fucking Christ! I loved all the new wave and post-punk. Not sure exactly how I got into The Bunnymen originally. Probably hearing 'Never Stop' on the radio or reading about them in some fanzine. I remember hearing they sounded like The Doors, which I still have a soft spot for.
I bought 'Never Stop' and 'Crocodiles' and was hooked on the mystery and the starkness and moodiness of the sound. And the record covers were so cool.
'Heaven Up Here' is the perfect Bunnymen record, though. All the songs seem like they are in the key of D and just flow and weave perfect together. Took me to another place. And The Bunnymen also introduced me to a bunch of other bands that formed my influences: Television, The Velvets, Beatles, and the list goes on. I was such a fan that I used to follow them around back in the mid 80's. Had my camo gear on, wore my hair like Mac and then Will.
My favourite band of all time, I'm afraid. My good friend Kelley Stoltz is playing guitar in The Bunnymen now, I'm so jealous it wasn't me.
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The Clean - 'Compilation'
R.E.M. and college rock took over my life in the early 80's. So many directions to go and so much great music to explore. I worked in a record shop in Stockton and was the indie/import buyer so I got to hear a lot of cool stuff. Not until I formed Pavement with Stephen Malkmus did I hear The Clean, though. SM was a radio DJ at his college back East and when he'd come home for vacations, we'd jam, and one of the times he played me this comp by The Clean.
From Dunedin, New Zealand, The Clean were a fucking revelation to me. Sounding so foreign and weird, like The Kinks and Suicide all in one. This comp has it all. Great pop songs played with such ease and confidence. Basically the early Pavement sound was a copy of this.
'Anything Could Happen' is probably my favourite song of all time to this day.
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'Doris & The Daggers' is out now.