Monday, February 01, 2021

Harmonies in his head

Many of us suspected that the death of Pete Shelley in 2018 would spell the end of the Buzzcocks. Not so, it seems. In a Baker's Dozen piece for the Quietus, Steve Diggle - the yang to Shelley's yin - reveals that not only did he receive the frontman's blessing to carry on but also that he's continued writing new material in lockdown.

Diggle's selection of records that shaped him as a musician is a veritable who's who of rock from the 1950s to the 1970s: rock 'n' rollers Little Richard ("very animalistic", "very punk in a way") and Chuck Berry ("the stylised one"); the best of British in the form of The Beatles, The Who, David Bowie, The Kinks and Rolling Stones (whose "funky, groovy" song 'Fingerprint File' inspired 'Why Can't I Touch It'); American heavyweights Bob Dylan, MC5 ("the Godfathers of punk rock really, along with The Stooges") and The Velvet Underground ("a bit of a blueprint ... for us"); Motown superstars Stevie Wonder and The Supremes (Diggle memorably describes the opening of 'Stoned Love' as "like an orgasm"); and punk contemporaries The Clash, of whom he was both a friend and a fan, and whose 'Complete Control' he claims is "like putting your fingers in a plug socket". That would serve as a fair description of his own band's songs.

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