“My Favorite Album” is a new weekly column, which will see us ask a musician exactly what the title suggests — to name their favorite album of all time. This week, it's Tim Mosher of Broken Glass and Junkyard, who returns to the stage this week with his '90s band Suckerpunch.
Although I have spent many many years obsessing on various albums by The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Clash (to name a few), the album I always come back to is Never Mind the Bollocks … Here’s The Sex Pistols.
I think like most U.S. kids my age, I knew of the Pistols long before I’d ever actually heard them (radio then wouldn’t touch the Pistols … still doesn’t really). I have memories of their landing in America being on the CBS Evening News, when that was still a very big deal. It wasn’t until a couple years later that a friend's big brother, who was one of the early punks in my hometown, lent me a copy of Bollocks.
Suffice it to say that hearing the intro of “Holidays in the Sun” for the first time was a game changer. I’d never heard a guitar sound like that, and the energy of the band just jumped off the record. Couple that with a singer (Johnny Rotten) who sang like no one I’d ever heard before. It turned out that every song on Bollocks was just as disarmingly catchy and as ferocious as the next. I was stunned — this was the sound my teenage angst-riddled head had been waiting for.
I could go into an in-depth take on every song on this record but I’m guessing everyone who reads this has heard Bollocks before, so I’ll skip that. The reason I chose it as my favorite is partly because it still holds up so well.
I didn’t get all of the nuance when I was younger, of course, but looking back, I really admire how sharp and often funny Rotten’s lyrics were (not to mention his rewriting the rules for what a singer could sound like). Bollocks is also a showcase for one of the great rock & roll bands of all time. The swing that [Paul] Cook and [Steve] Jones have on that record is the secret ingredient, to me (in addition to what I still consider to be the best guitar sound ever put on vinyl).
This record broke the mold on all fronts: sonically, the cover art, the look of the band and the language used. And to me all of that works. Why? For all of their game-changing aspects, The Sex Pistols seemed rooted in the original idea of what rock & roll was supposed to be. Yes, there was the influence of Iggy, The Dolls and The Ramones, as well as Rotten’s artier tastes, but they also had equal parts Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent thrown into the mix as well, with all of the fun, brevity and cool haircuts that those originators had in spades. The combination of what was so, so new on one hand but also somehow familiar on the other is genius.
All that being said, you don’t need to know all of the social and musical history this record represents to find it thrilling and exciting to this day.
Suckerpunch play with Fur Dixon, The Gitas and Brainspoon at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Viper Room.