Pow Magazine

Discography Biography #3: Nick Saloman

It’s 2019, and it’s time for the newest installment of Discography Biography- POW’s monthly look into the mind, and the record collection of a various musician. For those who aren’t familiar with how it works, here’s a quick rundown:

As any music lover knows, there’s a huge difference between “desert island discs”, favorite records, most influential records, etc. The ones that interest me the most are the ones that are the most personal- the albums that define who you are, the ones that could be called the soundtrack of your life. Every month here on POW, I’ll be talking to a different musician about the top 3 albums that make up what I’ve affectionately titled their “Discography Biography”.

This month I spoke to Nick Saloman of the legendary Bevis Frond. Fire Records described Nick and the band: “If there is any artist who could be considered as having followed a tangential path from Hendrix to Big Star to Spacemen 3, that would be The Bevis Frond…and that’s not hyperbole, the evidence is to be found in countless albums over 30 years of thrilling musical innovation that few have matched. Filtered through The Groundhogs, The Who, Neil Young, Captain Beefheart and Kevin Ayers, this is an iconoclastic collision of distinctly British psychedelia, space-rock, grunge, slow-burning soulful laments, even grizzled folk and more than occasional moments of sublime pop genius. Yet, he remains the best kept secret in Rock ‘n’ Roll – isn’t it about time you discovered one of England’s finest songwriters and insightful lyricists….Saloman has released no less than twenty-two albums under The Bevis Frond name with many collaborations and releases under various pseudonyms.” The Bevis Frond just released a brand new, 20 track album, We’re Your Friends, Man, which sounds just as fresh as Miasma did in 1986.

I grew up hearing The Bevis Frond on my dad’s cassette tapes- my parents saw them in Sacramento in 1999 and my dad used to wear the t-shirt he got from that show constantly. So getting a chance to talk to Nick was a huge honor. Read on to find out the 3 albums which he chose as his own personal Discography Biography.

So, which album is your first pick?

“The Beatles- A Hard Days Night

The Beatles, A Hard Days Night

When did you first discover it?

“When it came out in 1964. I was 11 years old and really into pop music. I’d started
playing guitar when I was 7 in a childish attempt to emulate Hank Marvin of The
Shadows, but when The Beatles appeared I was an immediate fan. My Mum took me
to see the film at The London Pavilion off Piccadilly Circus and I was knocked out by
how exciting and visually different it was.”

How long did it take to become so important to you?

“Pretty much immediately”

Why does it mean so much to you? Is it the music, the lyrics, the time in your life you discovered it, etc?

“When I got the album what really interested me was that The Beatles had written all the songs. They were already considered to be great songwriters, but this was the first album for which they wrote everything. At 11 I was just beginning to think about writing my own stuff, and this album really set me on my way. Even though The Beatles were about 10 years older than me, I still identified with them, and this is
what made me think that I could write songs that might mean something.”

Are there any particular songs that are your favorites?

“Yes, I really like If I Fell, I’ll Be Back & Anytime At All ”

Have your feelings changed about it over time?

“Not at all. Though it’s not my favourite Beatles album, (that would have to be Revolver) it’s still the most influential.”

Okay, so let’s move on, let’s go to your second pick…

“The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced

When did you first discover it?

“1966. I remember seeing Hendrix on the UK TV show ‘Ready Steady Go’. I think that was his first UK TV appearance. He did ‘Hey Joe’ and ‘Stone Free’ and I was just blown away. I was 13 and my guitar playing was coming along quite nicely. I’d become a big fan of the UK beat scene and bands like The Who, The Kinks, The Hollies, The Stones etc etc, but Hendrix just blew them out of the water. I bought his singles, and got Are You Experienced as soon as it came out.”

How long did it take to become so important to you?

“It was important to me before I even had it!!”

Why does it mean so much to you?

“A bit of everything really, but most importantly the guitar playing. I had never heard anything like it before. I mean Pete Townshend used feedback, but Hendrix actually played feedback. I couldn’t believe how good he was. And now over 50 years later, he’s still the greatest guitarist that ever lived. Not only was he a master technician, and able to play really savage and wild guitar, but he could also be an incredibly lyrical player doing beautiful, lilting phrases. Lots of people have copied him. Frank Marino & Randy Hansen have it off almost note perfect, but they still sound nothing like him. A genuine one-off musician. Incomparable.”

Are there any particular songs that’re your favorites?

“I’d say ‘Love Or Confusion’, ‘Red House’ & ‘May This Be Love’”

Have your feelings about it changed over time?

“No…it’s a masterpiece.”

Okay, let’s move on to your last album pick.

“David Ackles- Subway To The Country

When did you first discover it?

David Ackles’ Subway To The Country

“In 1969, when it came out. I’d seen David Ackles on UK TV in 68 if I recall correctly. I think it was something like ‘Colour Me Pop’. He was playing in a church backed by the band Rhinoceros. I was staying at my Dad’s place at the time (my folks had split up when I was five), and my Dad was not a great pop music fan to say the least. He was in the Airforce and definitely thought my Mum was way too lax with me, allowing me to grow my hair and play guitar etc etc. Well, anyway, Ackles came on and he was doing a song off his first album called ‘His Name Is Andrew’, and my Dad just went insane. He never usually swore, but he shrieked ‘what is this shit!!!??’. Well, of course it just made me love Ackles all the more. So I bought the first album, and I eagerly awaited his second, which was ‘Subway To The Country’.”

How long did it take to become so important?

“A few listens I guess”

Why does it mean so much to you?

“I would definitely say this one was down to the lyrics. By now I was 16 and playing in bands. I was also writing songs. Then I heard ‘Subway To The Country’ and it just made me rethink the whole way I wrote songs. Up till then, I’d really concentrated on the tunes and basically filled them out with a few lyrics. But Ackles was a poet. I know Dylan and Joni Mitchell were masters of the lyric, but it was David Ackles that actually opened my eyes to how you could be totally brutal and yet poetic at the same time.”

Are there any particular tracks that are your favorites?

“‘Mainline Saloon’ & ‘Candy Man’. Beautiful, disturbing and savage all at once.”

Is there anything about it that you’d change?


Have your feelings changed about it over time?

“No, not really.”

Nick Saloman

Overall, how have these three albums affected you musically? How about personally?

“Well, I think I’ve explained that. All three were incredibly important to me as a young musician. I wouldn’t say they’d all be in my favourite albums of all time list (well actually they are, so ignore that), but as far as influence goes, they’re right up there.”

It’s hard picking just three. Are there any honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut?


Okay, so someone who didn’t know you at all, like if we just told them what your top 3 choices were, do you think it’d give them a pretty good insight into who you are, and who you are musically too?

“I guess they’d indicate that I’m quite old. I wouldn’t think they’d give much of an insight into who I am, but they’d probably explain a few things to people who know my music.”

Thank you so much again Nick! Hope everything goes great for you this week with everything you have going on for the album release. Talk to you soon.

“My pleasure, Sheena, hope this is useable.”

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