For someone who, upon getting a new album, immediately flicks through the insert to check thank yous for evidence of influences, the opportunity to rummage around in the record shop baskets of some of my favourite bands and musicians is irresistible. So thanks to Ameoba Music in Los Angeles for their nosiness.
Some of the stars of their What's In My Bag? series are relatively predictable. Ty Segall chooses lots of psych plus The Byrds and Bauhaus, while Dave Grohl's selection is primarily punk 7"s featuring the likes of Nomeansno, Boredoms and Alice Donut, though he's good value for anecdotes about the Amoeba employee who used to be in a Dutch hardcore band.
Then there are the shoppers who throw in the odd curveball. Lee Ranaldo's first choice is the seminal No New York compilation (a replacement copy - others have been worn out or stolen) and he also picks up a DVD by Talking Heads (who particularly impressed him because "everyone in the band had a watch on"), but also describes an Ol' Dirty Bastard record in slightly Embarrassing Dad terms as "one of the sickest hip hop albums of all time". No Age plump for a Black Flag album (albeit an experimental instrumental one) and the Ramones DVD Raw ("the best band that's ever existed, ever"), but also The Bear (a film for which they've done a live soundtrack), a Lou Reed meditation CD and a record chosen because it's released on Twin Tone and because "there's a big fat guy in the band - that usually means they're good". J Mascis - as usual, sounding as though he's on heavy medication and being forced into speech on pain of death - enthuses as only he can about Eater, Discharge, a 13th Floor Elevators box set and a re-released Mission Of Burma album ("guess it's got some other extra crap with it"), but also shows off an LP by Michael Des Barres, apparently the second singer for The Power Station and once "a big villain on MacGyver".
Meanwhile, Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez, sometime member of Marilyn Manson's band as well as A Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails) reels off a list of 80s heavy metal icons - W.A.S.P., Venom, Queensryche, Stryper (who once attempted to sue him for comments made in jest) - but also, bizarrely, reveals a love for Stars Of The Lid and Oasis ("one of my favourite bands of all time" whom he rates above The Beatles and whose album title Don't Believe The Truth he has tattooed on his arm), and talks about having Weezer's Rivers Cuomo over to his house for Thanksgiving dinner.
The award for the most eclectic shopping basket selection has to go to either Stephen Malkmus and his Jicks (Joanna Bolme, Mike Clark, Jake Morris) or Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound. Collectively, the former gather together the Saxondale DVD, a book about a 1970s hippy commune in the Hollywood hills, a Zamrock album, some black metal on vinyl and albums by Langley Schools Music Project, Gun Club, Le Tigre, XTC and a "jazz bagpipist" (shudder). For his part, Cox's choices range from albums by Carl Perkins, the Everly Brothers and Cluster to the Cult Rockers book (which definitely sounds worthy of further investigation), a Dead Moon T-shirt, a Futurist compilation and a catalogue of automated musical instruments from 1974.
Ameoba features in this list of the best record stores around the world, as does Manchester's Piccadilly Records - pleasing to see my current prime source of music receiving the recognition it richly deserves.