Random Rules: Nick Hodgson of Kaiser Chiefs
The shuffler: Nick Hodgson, drummer for popular neo-pub-rock band Kaiser Chiefs, whose 2005 debut album Employment featured the hit single "I Predict A Riot." The UK outfit's second album, Yours Truly, Angry Mob, has just been released on both sides of the Atlantic.
Paul McCartney, "Teddy Boy"
Nick Hodgson: I'm not familiar with this song at all. [Laughs.] Surely everyone's got thousands of songs that they don't know on their iPod. You put albums on, or someone else puts albums on for you. Whitey [Andrew White], the guitarist for the Kaiser Chiefs, put a load of Paul McCartney albums on mine, and I haven't listened to them yet. This one's from an album called McCartney.
The A.V. Club: Well, that's a good album, at least.
NH: I've never even heard it, but that's good. It means there's music out there that's good and I haven't heard it.
Nirvana, "Heart Shaped Box"
NH: I'm glad this came up, because I was listening to Nevermind yesterday, and I was just really, really pleased. I used to listen to it all the time, but I hadn't heard it for about five years. I put it on and got so excited. This is proper. Well done.
AVC: Do you remember where you were in your life when Nirvana first hit?
NH: My brother had Nevermind, and I didn't know who they were. I was probably about 12. He played it in the car, and I just really liked listening to it.
AVC: Do you prefer Nevermind or In Utero?
NH: Nevermind. I know you're supposed to be really cool and prefer Bleach, but [Laughs.] It's like Whitey said the other day, "My favorite Nirvana song is 'Smells Like Teen Spirit,' and my favorite Nirvana album is Nevermind." You've got to be bold to say that.
Magazine, "Shot By Both Sides"
NH: I do like that. I've got the album Real Life, but I only really listen to this song.
AVC: Do you consider yourself well-versed in punk history?
NH: Yes, but not Magazine specifically. I mean, I know that it's the guy from The Buzzcocks [Howard Devoto], and I know The Buzzcocks had a song called "Lipstick," which had the same riff as "Shot By Both Sides." How interesting.
The Bonzo Dog Band, "I'm Bored"
NH: Oh, they're brilliant. Everyone should buy their albums. They're fabulous. But I don't know this song, so I'm going to skip it.
Kaiser Chiefs, "Oh My God"
NH: I'll skip that one too.
AVC: Wait, let's talk about this. Because it often happens with this feature, that musicians have their own songs come up.
NH: Really? I think the reason we have our own stuff is so we can listen to it when we first get it. I mean, I honestly haven't listened to Employment for a good two years.
Blondie, "Fade Away And Radiate"
NH: Yeah, from Parallel Lines. Not my favorite song. In fact, it's probably my least favorite song on the album.
AVC: So you don't just put your favorite songs on your iPod?
NH: Nah, I just dump it all on.
AVC: Do you wish sometimes you had less space, and were forced to be choosy?
NH: Less space? I haven't got that many songs, really, on mine. I got one when it first came out. Got it for Christmas. I remember being at my gram's, or at someone's house for New Year's, and describing to everyone what it did. Now everybody's got one.
NH: From Life On Other Planets. I'm a fan of Supergrass, yeah.
AVC: Oftentimes people in bands from the UK have a hard time acknowledging that they like other bands from the UK.
NH: Uh, yeah, I don't know what the reason for that would be. It depends, doesn't it? If they're contemporaries. I don't consider Supergrass to be contemporaries. I grew up listening to them.AVC: Do you listen to your contemporaries?
NH: Not really, no. I listen to some stuff. Like Maxïmo Park and Bloc Party. Not a great deal.
Josef K, "The Angle"
NH: When we made our demo of "Oh My God," we sent it to someone who later rang up and said, "Sounds like Josef K. Were you inspired by Josef K?" And I went, "No, never heard him." They turned out to be a band. [Laughs.] A lot of people love it, but I don't particularly.
Elton John, "Bennie And The Jets"
NH: This is my favorite song on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, I suppose.
AVC: Do you find that you can still connect with a song like that, which has been played on the radio so much?
NH: I've never really heard it often. Maybe it's an American thing. You don't really hear it often at home.
AVC: No classic-rock radio in the UK?
NH: No. Actually, you do on digital. There's not much radio in the UK, really. In America, you're in a car, factory, wherever, and you turn the dial on the radio, and can hear about a million stations. Hardly any in England.
The Police, "Don't Stand So Close To Me '86"
NH: The remix.
AVC: Oh no. That's terrible.
NH: From the greatest-hits.
Pink Floyd, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"
NH: Twelve minutes of this. I'm a Syd Barrett fan, and early Pink Floyd, and then about two things from the rest of their career. I don't like them, really. I mean, I like the psychedelic stuff. I listen to the first albums, and even on those, they go off and off and off. Songs that are 20 minutes long. I don't like long songs.
AVC: Could you drum on a song for 20 minutes?
NH: Yeah, I could, actually. We do that sometimes in rehearsals. It's brilliant. I love it. But it actually is self-indulgent. I mean, no one likes this sort of music more than the people playing it. Except maybe people on drugs.
The Beatles, "Mean Mr. Mustard"
NH: There we go. "Mean Mr. Mustard."
AVC: Full circle, from Paul McCartney to The Beatles. What's your favorite Beatles album?
NH: I got asked this yesterday. I said Revolver, but only because it came to my head and it's a brilliant one. But they're all pretty brilliant. There's variations, but they're all brilliant, and it just depends on if they're very brilliant, or just a bit brilliant. It changes. [Long pause.] Let's just go with Revolver. [Laughs.]