Soundtrack to my life: Karl Kippenberger

GRANT SMITHIES
Last updated 05:00 03/08/2014
Karl Kippenberger
ANNA PEARSON/Fairfax NZ
MINDBLOWING: "[Devo's] Freedom Of Choice has been a great soundtrack through the years and still feels as vital to me as it did way back in 1980," Karl Kippenberger says.

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Karl Kippenberger is bass guitarist with Wellington hard rock band, Shihad, now based in Melbourne. 

"Devo's Freedom of Choice (Warner Bros, 1980) totally blew my 8-year-old brain! I found it so futuristic, angular and upbeat, but with singalong lyrics - though of course, their cynical de-volution bent went completely over my head.

"Not only did their music resonate with me as a kid, their red flowerpot hats and black leather suits led me to imagine that maybe they were nerdy, interstellar secret agents answering to a master computer.

"I remember sneaking my dad's Walkman to primary school. At play-lunch I used to have my mates line up and take turns listening to this record by sharing one side of my headphones. I felt like I was sharing something so unique that people really needed to hear it! Girl U Want and Whip It were the first songs to connect with me.

"Their novelty lyrics and loopy basslines hooked me in. But the two songs that have lasted the test of time for me are the title track and Gates Of Steel. I still have these songs on high rotate.

"Freedom Of Choice is definitely top-loaded, keeping my attention from Girl U Want to Gates Of Steel, after which it goes into weirdo-land then redeems itself with the final track, Planet Earth. Snowball and Ton O' Luv are worth a mention, too.

"In 1997, Shihad played the Livid Festival that Devo headlined, and we saw them slay bands half their age that day with their punky, in-your-face, confrontational performance.

"It reinforced why I love this band so much. Freedom Of Choice has been a great soundtrack through the years and still feels as vital to me as it did way back in 1980."

Shihad's ninth studio album FVEY (Five Eyes) Recorded at Auckland's York Street Studio and produced by Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman Out this Friday, August 8.

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