They made a fun live record and then took off the bolo ties. I talked to Pelle Almqvist once about the live records they held dear. The singer thought about it for a half-sec, and knocked out five key titles.
1. James Brown Live at the Apollo
It’s him at the top of his game. Sometimes the instrumental parts lose me, if I’m not dancing, if I’m just listening at home. But when James is actually singing, wow. No one does it like that. I like the part of the show when he whips off his cape — that’s a neat trick.
2. Ramones It’s Alive
Pure Ramones. They basically invented modern rock ‘n’ roll - the way it’s presented now. Important band. Pretty much all today’s stuff is influenced by them. It’s the idea that if you take everything you don’t like out of a band, you’ll end up with the best stuff. They win by not giving much away. Just 1,2,3,4, BAM. I like “Havana Affair” the best. I’ve heard the other songs too often. People say it’s only their first four albums that are good, but I think they’re all good.
3. The Cramps Rockin’ and Reelin’ in Aukland, New Zealand
We always like titles like this. That’s where we got Tussles in Brussels from - live album titles that rhymed with the city in which they were made. I’ve never seen the Cramps live, but I would love to. I was really in that B-movie stuff as a kid, which kind of nudged me to the Cramps.
4. Frank Sinatra Sinatra at the Sands He’s great making it new each time. It’s that old quote: “Whenever I sing something I sing it different.” And he does, he pulls it off. Like Bob Dylan these days — you can barely recognize the songs, they’re so different. It wasn’t that drastic with Sinatra, but he did change things up a lot.
5. TIE: AC/DC If You Want Blood You’ve Got It + Rolling Stones Get Your Ya Yas Out
AC/DC almost played better live than they did in the studio. They were tighter on stage — which is bizarre and great. The Stones are cool on the Ya Yas album, too. But I can’t listen to it anymore. The sun hit my record player and disc got warped.