5-9-12 David Zimelis’ List
C&W Singer / Songwriter Hank Snow born 1914, Depeche Mode vocalist Dave Gahan born 1962; I’m Movin’ On.
A while back, I asked several of my friends to send me their list of favorite records. This is from my friend David Zimelis; we met at a Stan Freberg event, so I met David Zimelis and Stan Freberg at the same time. David has been the drummer in my band for about 8 years now.
by David Zimelis
1. “Something/Anything” by Todd Rundgren. First heard at Pine Forest Camp, Summer 1972. The first one of his albums I’d heard. I loved his sound and his Pop sensibility. I still like his stuff and I’ve seen him in concert 30 times since then.
2. “Kimono My House” by Sparks. This was an album I heard really soon after coming out to college from my sheltered life in NY. This really twisted my head around. I had never heard anything like it before. Again, I’m still a fan and they just get more and more inventive.
3. “The Specials” – The Specials. This is one of those albums that I can tell you exactly where I was when I first heard it (in the living room of the house I rented with Janice and Kate – ’79, maybe?). I’d never heard Ska before and I loved it. I still love a good, energetic Ska tune.
4. “The Allman Brothers At Fillmore East” – The Allman Brothers. I joined a band in High School (The Tomato Band) that had two drummers (Heaven!), so naturally they played lots of Allman Bros. and Grateful Dead. I really took to those early Allman Brothers albums, but I LOVE “Fillmore East”.
5. “The Ballad of Todd Rundgren” – Todd Rundgren. His second album (the one before “Something/Anything”), but I first heard it later on in ’72. It was the first album I’d heard that made me aware of record production. I’d had the album for over a year when I was listening to “Be Nice To Me” on headphones and I heard some percussion that was way back in the mix for the first time. It was a revelation!
6. “Stan Freberg Presents ‘The United States of America Volume 1: The Early Years'” – Stan Freberg. My folks had this record and I heard it constantly growing up. Many phrases from it joined the Zimelis Family lexicon over the years. One of the great joys of my life came many years later. I was working at Trader Joe’s and Mr. Freberg became one of my regular customers and we became friendly. During my last week of employment there, he signed my copy. (You can see a picture of it in one of my picture albums.)
7. “Izibani Zomgqashiyo” – The Mahotella Queens. I heard this for the first time thanks to my friend Robit Hairman. He was interviewed by Roger Steffens on KCRW and he played this. I had never heard any African music before (except for “Grazing In The Grass” by Hugh Masakela and “Pata Pata” by Miram Makeba). I really loved the sound… I’d probably love the words, too, if I knew what they were singing about. Hearing this record also prepared me for King Sunny Ade, Toure Kunda and Robit’s own record (which I got to do a drum overdub on).
8. “Neuromantic” – Yukihiro Takahashi. I saw the video for “Something In The Air” one night late on TV (“Night Flight”, maybe?) and really was taken with the sound. I liked synth stuff, but this one had a much more Asian sensibility to it that I found very appealing.
9. “Kite” – Kirsty MacColl. I’d heard a few songs of hers before this came out in ’89 but this album knocked me out. Her lyrics were smart, witty and slightly snarky. Her overdubbed harmonies were angelic. I was hooked for good. Her tragic death in 2000 hit me hard. To this day, I still feel great sadness for all the music of hers we’ll never hear.
10. (Tie) “The History of The Bonzos” – The Bonzo Dog Band / “How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All” – The Firesign Theatre / “Fillmore East – June 1970” – The Mothers of Invention / “Just Another Band From L.A.” – The Mothers of Invention. Comedy albums? Yeah, sort of. But, up until I heard these gems, I always thought of comedy albums were by the likes of Bob Newhart, Shelly Berman or Bill Cosby. These four took it to a whole ‘nother level for me. All of them (save for “How Can You Be…”) were centered around music, which made it all the better.
14. “Mistakes” – Gruppo Sportivo. One night in ’78 or ’79, I was in Licorice Pizza on Sunset, going through the Import 45s and came across a single by a group called “Gruppo Sportivo” and the two songs were called “P.S. 78” and “Blah Blah Magazines”. My interest was piqued from that strange combination. I bought it and never looked back. These two can be found on “Mistakes”, a collection of songs from GS’s first two Dutch albums. Thirty years later, Hans Vandenburg and Co. are still going strong (in Holland, mostly), but I still love their mixture of perky retro rock and downtrodden lyrics.
15. “Dire Straits” – Dire Straits. I bought this shortly after it was released. This was the first time I ever bought an album strictly because of the cover (“Sultans of Swing” hadn’t hit the radio yet.) and I was taken with their low-key sound and Mark Knopfler’s guitar wizardry. Of course, “Sultans…” is a wonderful song which I still love deeply. The only way they could have improved this LP was to add “Eastbound Train” which was the B-side of a European pressing of “Sultans…”. A killer live cut!