The Mighty Carlos is back on the pages of this month's Q Magazine to talk about his favourite "travelling tunes" (thanks for choosing my fave Dylan song, mate).
TRAIN ROUND THE BEND - THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: It's just about moving from the country to the city, which is a journey that I made. "Hey I'm just a city boy/And really not the country kind." I'm originally from Whitechurch in Hampshire. I really identify with that line and the idea that there are people from the country that don't seem to fit in there; you move to the city and there are more people like you. It was my science teacher at school who introduced me to The Velvet Underground. He was quite young, fresh out of teacher-training school. He dealt with unruliness by getting people colour in graph paper - no two colours were allowed to connect. I spent a lot of hours colouring in graph paper. I think he sensed that I wasn't like the rest of the people in the class. He gave me a life changing tape that had Venus In Furs on it, which I listened to endlessly in my bedroom.
ON A PLAIN - NIRVANA: Not the right kind of plane to fit the theme, but there's something about this that makes me think of a journey. I was a big Nirvana fan. I was a bit startled on the morning of my 28th birthday that I hadn't died. I kind of figured that I might be part of, y'know, rock stars-dying at 27 thing, like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison. I figured I might be cut from the same cloth. When I was a kid, I always wanted to write songs about what happened inside my head. That's what Cobain managed to do brilliantly here. "I got so high I scratched 'till I bled/I love myself better than you/ I know it's wrong, so what should I do?" It's narcissistic and self indulgent, while at the same time conveying a sense of sympathy. I could have completely misinterpreted it, but that's what it means to me.
HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED - BOB DYLAN: I like the way Bob Dylan uses biblical characters and street-talk at the same time here. "Oh God said to Abraham, Kill me a son/Abe says, Man, you must be puttin' me on." I wouldn't say that I'm religious, but the Bible is a good book. We all grow up with those stories and they become hard wired into our collective consciousness, which is why they inspire a lot of feeling. Actually, we recorded Subterranean Homesick Blues for an online session recently. Originally, we were going to do Lovefool by The Cardigans - we thought that would be ironic - but it turns out not to be a very good song, or at least, not as good as we thought. So we did Subterranean Homesick Blues instead. It's hard to sing Dylan songs without imitating his accent, but then you tend to go the other way and get a bit "oi". It's more difficult than you think.
EVERYBODY'S TALKIN' - NILSSON: I first got into this song via The Beautiful South. Some people might say they're not a very cool band, but I don't give a fuck about cool. It's about melody and lyrics. Since then, I've heard Nilsson's version. It's timeless. it's such a romantic notion , going to the city to escape. For me, hearing a good song is like finding a tenner in the street. It does lead me on a trail [to explore an artist further].
THE DAY WE CAUGHT THE TRAIN - OCEAN COLOUR SCENE: Again, people might think this is not very cool, that they're a bit Jamie Oliver, but when I was 18, this song was everywhere. What I like about it is the sense of romance journeying by train. I used to have a thing about going to the station in Whitechurch and looking at trains going to all these destinations around England. It makes me think about films like Brief Encounter and Bill Liar. Although, of course, the whole point of Billy Liar is that he doesn't catch the train.
TOUCH ME - THE DOORS: I discovered The Doors on a coach in France during an exchange trip. It was only the second time I'd been abroad. We had about three tapes, we smoked a lot of cigarettes and this was the song that we listened to more than any other. When I hear it now, it reminds me of that summer. It's one of the rare cases that led me on a journey of musical discovery. I went out and bought all their records.
ITCHYCOO PARK - SMALL FACES: Another song about the halcyon days of youth. What's more escapist than skipping school to go and hang around the park? "I feel inclined to blow my mind/Get hung up, feed the fucks with a bun/They all come out to groove about/be nice and have sun in the sun." At the moment I'm into songs about the journey that one's teenager rites of passage represent. Maybe it's something to do with me recently turning 30. It does look a bit suspicious, doesn't it?
MOVING - SUPERGRASS: This song reminds me of being on tour with Supergrass when I was in The Libertines. There were quite a few times when we nearly got kicked off - touching things we weren't supposed to touch, eating things we weren't allowed to eat, and all the rest of it. It was a bit like the kids and the grown-ups. But they're an interesting band with a real English predigree and I'm still friends with [drummer] Danny Goffrey. I don't want to kiss Mick Quinn's arse, but there's something about the way he plays the bassline here. It's like a perpetual motion machine or something. It just keeps grinding.
NUAGES - DJANGO REINHART: Nuages means "clouds" in French. I bought the sheet music because I wanted to learn to play it, but I could only manage the first four bars. I suppose this is symbolic of the journal of growing older. You have to be grown up to like songs by Belgian Gypsey guitarists with no words; to me, that suggests a little bit of maturity. I wish I had the attention span to master it, but learning a few of Django's jazz chords did help me. They were like a seed that you can grow your own plant from.
CHANGES - DAVID BOWIE: It's not my favorite Bowie song; that's Oh! You Pretty Things. But there's something very poetic about the lyrics dealing with a journey in the personal sense. It's something needs to be addressed. Like I said, I've just turned 30, so change is something that's on my mind. It's inevitable. I'm trying to embrace it. I thought it would bother me a lot more than it does. What will change? My outlook on frivolity. I want to become prolific. Stop watching crap telly. Do more stuff. The clock's ticking and I need to stop being such a lazy bastard.