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Political Spin: Councillor Jim Todd

Political Spin: Councillor Jim Todd

What was the first record that you ever bought?
This is really weird, serendipitous, because I’m going to see Alice Cooper on Saturday night at the Hydro, with The Cult backing him. Alice Cooper’s Killer is the first album I bought.

Do you remember the first time you heard Alice Cooper?
Yeah. My sister is 10 years older than me and she was a hippy in the 60s. I grew up on a diet of the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Hollies, really good stuff. Then I drifted more to the heavier side. I’ve been to thousands of concerts in my life. Live music is just the best, isn’t it?

Have you missed it over the last two years?
Really missed it. We’re really spoiled here in Kilmarnock, because before Covid there was around five or six venues which regularly had live music on. And Glasgow, just 20 miles up the road with, per head, the most live venues of any city that I know.

What songs will always get you on the dance floor? Are you much of a dancer?
Oh yeah! I got a new hip a month ago and what a difference that’s made. I was in agony for two years. Now, I’m standing straight, no pain at all. The song that got my foot tapping above them all was Led Zep’s Rock and Roll. The very first beat, the very first drum, and you know what song it is. You’re up onto the floor. You can’t stand still when that song is on. I can’t wait to get out and ride my bike and get back on the dance floor. When that vibe hits and you’re in the right mood, there’s nothing better.

Do you have a go-to karaoke song?
Not so much. I always go for the obscure ones, if you get me on the karaoke, so I go for obscure Alice Cooper or Tom Waits.

You can probably get away with Tom Waits without being a good singer.
The lyrics and the arrangements of the songs are just incredible. I’ve got a few favourites, but Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis is one – the way he tells a story is just incredible. I saw him in Edinburgh a few years ago, on the Glitter and Doom tour. I was two rows from the front, I was in heaven.

What would be the first dance at your wedding, if you were to get married again?
There’s a brilliant Neil Young song that I love. Actually, two songs. One called Long May You Run and that’s about his old car and it’s just a brilliant song, great melody. And the other one is Over and Over, off the Ragged Glory album, and the intro has just the best intro you’ve ever heard – and it’s a love song.

What song would you want played at your funeral?
My favourite song of all time. Fleetwood Mac – Need Your Love So Bad. The tone Peter Green gets out of that gold top [guitar] is just incredible. Incredible. And there’s another one, the Black Crowes, a song called Descending. It’s just a brilliant song with a lot of slide guitar.

What about songs that are guaranteed to make you cry?
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – who I’ve also seen live – have a song called Love Letter. It’s a beautiful song. And Bruce Springsteeen – I’m ex-Royal Navy and so this really struck a chord, excuse the pun. [Springsteen’s] bodyguard for a long time was Terry Mark McGovern, and he was a Navy diver. He became the Boss’s bodyguard but also a very good friend. When Terry died, the Boss wrote a song called Terry’s Song. And it’s all about brothers, the words make you cry and it’s just a beautiful, beautiful song.

What music do you associate with your childhood?
In my opinion, 1965 to 1975 were the best ten years of rock. The amount of brilliant albums that came out in that ten years was just incredible, music that I still play to this day. I was never a fan of punk music. I just didn’t get it. I totally got the energy and I got the rebellion against the status quo, I understood that, but it passed me by because it did nothing for me.

Is there any record that you absolutely hate that often gets stuck in your head?
Not really. Sometimes you get ditties on the television and something sticks in your head. Madonna, for example, is a brilliant artist but I didn’t really like much of her music. Material Girl, the way the beat goes, she was really onto something there. Katy Perry had a song called Feels, that was a catchy song. I don’t want to sound like a music snob, but I believe that a song has to have quality, where every note played has value.

What’s your favourite band you’ve seen live?
Honestly, I couldn’t choose. Jethro Tull, Led Zep, Bad Company, Joe Walsh, Rory Gallagher, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Alice Cooper – there’s so many.

Read the most recent article written by Louise Wilson - Political Spin: Graham Simpson

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