My dad and mom got divorced when i was five. And the lady that he remarried turned out be a Dj. So upon moving all her other crap into the house, she brought her records. And three or four of them were Electric Light Orchestra albums.
The way the house was set up, the record player was in the same room as the TV, so if I wanted to listen to music I had to listen to it on headphones. So suddenly I’m listening to this big, wonderful-sounding music.
I was getting into the songwriting and the production at the same time, but mostly it was the escapist qualities of the production that I was intrigued by, and maybe I just didn’t want to be where I was. I was confused by it but it was kind of magical. And repeated listening were good. I would always hear new things. It was that idea that intrigued me the most, that idea of being able to listen to something over and over again.
The first album that come into the house was one called ‘Face The Music‘ and there is an instrumental called ‘Waterfall‘ which has tons of strings and is really pretty and the words are kind of ambiguous. If there was ever a song that had the ability to transport one from where they are to the magical world of headphone land it was that one.
One I started to delve a little deeper I was just blown away that Jeff Lynne was this modest individual from a modest background (Jeff had a working class Birmingham upbringing – Ed) who seemed to have grandiose plans in term of music and production and I admired that he had pulled off what he had pulled off. He had written and arranged pretty much all the music throughout the history of the band. And it seemed like such an undertaking.
After that, it was an ongoing quest to emulate that or to try and experience that with other bands. Most of the reason I got into playing music was that I wanted to fill the void I heard in my own head. Trying to concert the sort of perfect music that has all these qualities I consider essential to guilty pleasure listening, then that’s what I wanted to do.
With Grandaddy, we’ve performed a few hack jobs. We used to cover ‘Turn To Stone’ and we did this really horrible version of ‘Shangri-La’. But it’s really just in a live format. I’ve never sat down and tried to recreate the feeling or production of any Electric Light Orchestra song – though I’m not above it.
They’ve made a mark on me – it’s deeply etched. There are tons of other types of music that I listen to, but I think the foundation of it is the fault of Electric Light Orchestra.