With echoes of Bob Dylan, Oasis and Don McLean in his soulful voice, Brit sensation Bugg recorded his sophomore effort in Malibu with producing guru Rick Rubin.
via USA TODAY
Matt Groening, take a bow: Jake Bugg, 19, says a musical lightning bolt struck him at age 12 while watching an episode of The Simpsons at his working class home in the north of England. “I heard this Don McLean song, Vincent (Starry Starry Night), and I just couldn’t understand why I liked it and that intrigued me,” Bugg says in a thick Nottinghamshire accent. “That’s the wonderful thing about music, sometimes you can’t work it out. From then on, I knew this was the only thing I wanted to do.”
Loving the road: Currently zipping around the globe in support of his critically praised debut album, Jake Bugg, the singing guitarist says that while hitting the road “can be knackering, how on earth can you complain? You get to see the world.” He is stunned that his first collection of songs about growing up “in this totally specific part of England, you know, hanging out with me mates and things like that, has connected with so many people around the world. It amazes me.”
Don’t call him Bobby Jr.: Critics like to compare some of Bugg’s music, particularly the more sparse, acoustically driven songs such as the single Lightning Bolt, to the work of Bob Dylan. Bugg shrugs it off. “Don’t get me wrong, Dylan’s great, but he’s not the only person out there inspiring me,” he says, quickly adding McLean, Donovan and Oasis to the mix. “(Noel and Liam Gallagher’s) music came out when I was born, but it’s had a big impact on me,” says Bugg, acknowledging that he, like Oasis, considers the Beatles a formative force. Asked what current music he likes, Bugg goes silent. “Not a lot, though I’d like to find something,” he says, searching for an answer. “I like the new Black Sabbath album. And if you think about it, if I hear something cool and it’s from 1925, it may not be new music but it’s new to me.”
The Malibu life: When not gigging, Bugg is holed up with mega-producer Rick Rubin in his Shangri-La recording studio in Malibu, where Dylan and the Band once did their thing. The second Bugg album won’t be a surf music disc, but it will “naturally reflect my surroundings there,” he says, laughing. “I mean, I’m not smoking and drinking out on the street this time.” He calls the hideaway an “inspiring spot,” and Rubin a “chilled-out guy” whose talents cause Bugg to park his natural defensiveness about his work. “Rick communicates simply and effectively,” he says. “He’ll say something like, ‘Why don’t you repeat that line on the chorus?’ And I’ll go, why didn’t I think of that?”
Bugg and One Direction: The British press has made hay of Bugg’s withering comments in interviews about his pop star countrymen (he called the group “terrible” in one interview). Bugg is quick to douse the flames. “Look, it’s nothing against them personally, I’m sure they’re really nice folks, but that style is not for me,” he says. “They’re five good lads, and someone writes the songs and they sing them. That’s just not for me. Maybe I’m cynical, but I appreciate anyone who writes and plays their own music.”
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