The Soundtrack to Your Life – Roland Link
Roland is the author of Stiff Little Fingers book `Kicking Up a Racket`.
First Record You Can Remember – ‘Jailhouse Rock’ – Elvis Presley.
My mom was always into early rock ‘n’ roll. She wasn’t a collector of records (we didn’t have a record player), but whenever Elvis was on the radio that volume knob got a bashing and the carpet received a pounding.
First Record You Bought – ‘Two Little Boys’ – Rolf Harris’ version.
It was the first record I owned; great stuff. I didn’t buy it, a kid I knew had a few records and said to some mates and me, ‘Which one do you want?’ Of course I grabbed the Rolf gem. Problem was with no record player I couldn’t play it unless I took it to a mate’s house. Up until the age of about 13/14 all the records I owned were either swapped, borrowed or purloined. It’s amazing how many records you can accumulate that way!
Record That Reminds You Of School – ‘Going Underground’ – The Jam.
Our school was, I suspect like most secondary moderns in Britain at the time, Jam mad. It seemed everybody had a Lonsdale t-shirt, bowling shoes (which fell apart after about three weeks, obviously because they were bowling shoes and not walking about the streets shoes!) and a box jacket. For some reason this song, over all the others, just takes me back.
Record You Fell In Love To – ‘Grease – The Original Soundtrack to the Motion Picture’ (LP)
Walking around Northwick Manor Junior School playground with Lynne Pearce I was cock of the walk that glorious summer. We even held hands. Lynne was a big fan of the film and soundtrack; her older sisters had bought the LP and taken her to see the film.
I liked to think of us as the John Travolta and Olivia Neutron-Bomb of the school, OK I was decked out in sensible shoes, shorts and a grey school jumper, but a boy can dream.
Alas that first taste of love wasn’t destined to last. On the very last day, before we moved on to our respective senior schools, we pledged our undying love. However, after six weeks apart for the summer holidays my next contact with the lovely Lynne was to be ignored on the bus. It appeared I’d become yesterday’s papers.
Fast forward many years and the present Mrs. Link was wooed to the sounds of Social Distortion leader Mike Ness’ solo LP, ‘Cheating At Solitaire’; his version of ‘Long Black Veil’ being ‘our’ tune. Odd really considering it’s about a guy that gets hung for a crime he didn’t commit because the only alibi he could have provided would have been to admit he’d spent the evening in the arms of his best friend’s wife.
Heartbreak Tune – ‘Old Shep’ – Elvis Presley.
Blubbering along with my sister and mother to Elvis’ lament to his dead sheepdog.
Record That Evokes The Greatest Summer Of Your Life – ‘Under The Boardwalk’ – The Drifters
This song seemed to be frequently blasting out of the little transistor radio that we had on Ynyslas sands (mid Wales) many years ago. Appropriately enough there was also a fairly impressive boardwalk to the beach.
Blazing hot sun, cold sea, some very impressively built young ladies, especially in the eyes of this frustrated teenager. I remember being asked to rub suntan cream into the back of one of the lovelies (The line ‘Caressing her warm brown skin’, from Wreckless Eric’s ‘Whole Wide World’ has just popped into my head) Ah happy days!
In reality the weather was probably nice for a couple of days, a week tops, and then I expect it started to rain again. Still nothing like nostalgia.
Record That Inspired You To Form A Band – ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’/’Ramones’ (LP).
The first band that I formed with friends was called Mistaken Identity. We consisted of a Status Quo fanatic on guitar, an SLF fan on bass, a Motown devotee on drums and Worcester’s number one Ramones fan on vocals.
Sime, the singer, even managed to talk his art teacher into letting him silk screen himself a Ramones t-shirt in lesson time; something that impressed me hugely – A) because he blagged it in the first place and B) because I’d no idea how he made it.
Even though the four of us all had our favorite bands, which as 14/15 years old we’d constantly bicker about, we all LOVED the Ramones. Along with self penned classics such as ‘Pot Noodles’, ‘Orwell’ and ‘Quest For A Jest’ we played lots of Ramones songs and also, I recall, a cover of GBH’s ‘Big Women’.
Record For A Night On The Tiles – ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ – Little Richard
For me it’s got it all. Enough said.
Record Guaranteed To Get You Dancing – ‘Teenage Kicks’ – The Undertones
When I hear that drum intro I’m off. Can’t help myself. Perfect pop song.
Karaoke’s not a sport I participate in, but I’m more than happy to sit and watch other people get up and ‘entertain’ me. I love the male/female duo love songs and the big power ballads, with all their soaring notes, (‘I Will Always Love You’, ‘Up Where We Belong’ etc) that people throw themselves into with absolute gusto.
Most Prized Record In Your Collection
I gave up collecting first pressings, Russian imports, one sided demos with alternative catalogue numbers etc, etc years ago. I’ve got a few records that are rare, but they’re not there because of that, they’re there because I like to listen to them.
I used to be quite anal about keeping stuff perfect, don’t bend book covers etc and then one day I just thought bollox to it.
I like the line that John Peel came out with which went something like, ‘I don’t mind having a few hisses and pops and some dust on my records, because life’s got a few hisses and pops and dust on it.’
Most Embarrassing Record In Your Collection – ‘Making Your Mind Up’ – Bucks Fizz
I’ve got a weakness for some cheesy pop, what can I say. While I’m at it you might as well know I also own Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids In America’. There I’ve said it now and feel much better!
Most Reviled Song Ever – ‘No Milk Today’ Herman’s Hermits.
Even thinking about this song annoys me. I HATE it. It’ll probably be going round in my head now for ages.
‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’ – They Might Be Giants.
I’ve been known to leave late night drinking establishments when this song has come on. Again I just can’t stand it!
Record Guaranteed To Clear The Party – ‘This Is The End’ The Doors.
Actually, for me most Doors songs would signal that a party should be cleared, or better still a path to the sound system should be cleared so something else can be put on.
Most Surprising Discovery – ‘When You Are Old’ Gretchen Peters
I think this is the saddest, most beautiful song ever. I heard it for the first time on the radio while I was driving and nearly crashed the car, it was so great.
‘Car Wheels On A Gravel Road’ (LP) – Lucinda Williams
I heard a great Lucinda Williams song on the radio, bought ‘Car Wheels …’ of hers’ for about £1.50 on Ebay (obviously it didn’t have the song I’d heard on it, that would have been far too sensible) and it turned out to be really good.
Favourite Record Cover – ‘Ramones’- Ramones
For me it’s a truly icon image. Everything about this LP is fantastic – the songs are perfect, the time that it came out was right and the sleeve just finishes it off – Lanky Joey, Handsome Dee Dee, Sullen Johnny and Tommy and his shades. The opening salvo!
‘Social Distortion’ – Social Distortion (Third LP)
I like the low brow, Americana art. I’m a fan of the whole Vince Ray thing. Again this is a brilliant album and the cover just complements it.
‘London Calling’s’ not bad either.
I also like Status Quo’s ‘If You Can’t Stand The Heat’ (if has to be the original gatefold LP sleeve for it to work). Very clever.
When we were kids one of my best friends (the guy mentioned earlier) was a massive Quo fan so I’ve always had a soft spot for the denim clad boys!
Record You Would Like Played At Your Funeral
I want to be cremated when the time comes. I’ve left instruction for The Clash’s ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’ to play me in and Elvis Presley’s version of ‘Burning Love’ to play me out. ‘Lord Almighty, I feel my temperature rising’….. ‘Hunk a hunk of burning love’, seems appropriate.
What’s On The Hifi Right Now?
‘Barry Myers Presents Scratchy Sounds – Ska, Dub, Roots & Reggae Nuggets’ (LP)
It’s a double compilation CD with some great stuff on it, well worth purchasing for The Rulers ‘Copasetic’ alone.
And the latest `news` from Roland…
A new memorabilia book on Stiff Little Fingers’ original career – ‘What You See … Is What You Get – Stiff Little Fingers 1977-1983’ is in the pipeline. Watch this space for details.
A limited number of ‘Kicking Up A Racket – The Story of Stiff Little Fingers 1977-1983’ are still available from www.kickinguparacket.com