Under the Influence: Warpaint's Jenny Lee Lindberg

From Aphex to Siouxsie, Warpaint’s bass player goes rummaging through the record bag and tells a potted history of her musical education

Feature by Dave Kerr | 16 Mar 2015

1. PiL – Theme (from Public Image: First Edition, 1978)
We all lived in this house in Los Angeles when we first started the band. It was Shannyn [Sossamon], Emily [Kokal], Theresa [Wayman] and myself. David Orlando, who became our drummer years later, lived in the garage. I’d go over to practise and he’d play me records. I didn’t realise how much I loved Jah Wobble’s bass playing; he’s also on my list of all-time greats. That was over 10 years ago and I’d already developed a style of playing by that point but I’d been told by a few people that I kind of reminded them of him – well, they called me Jen Wobble. I didn’t grow up listening to PiL or anything and wasn’t entirely familiar with his style before we lived in that space. I get the comparison now. When I was in high school I was a fan of the Pistols’ hits, but that was more to do with teenage rebellion. The Pistols were great, but PiL have the edge.

2. Tears for Fears – Pale Shelter (from The Hurting, 1983)
This is a throwback to my youth. I heard it at the time, thought it was nice enough, but then I was reintroduced to Tears for Fears a lot later on. We had the big chains like Tower Records and Sam Goodie in Reno, then there was Recycled Records which sold vinyl, that’s still there. We’d cruise on over to the mall and I’d have a wish list of records I wanted for my birthday or Christmas. When I was younger than that my mom would buy me tape singles and I’d listen to the radio a lot. When I was little I was all about the radio. I remember this song from those days.

3. Sea and Cake – Bird and Flag (from The Fawn, 1997)
This is another one our former drummer Davy introduced me to; he’s a DJ and has the most amazing collection. He pointed me towards Sea and Cake back when I was 19. To this day, that song never gets old, ever. I can and have listened to this over and over again on repeat. It’s just the prettiest song, and this is such a good record overall.  Sea and Cake have been around for a long time and have a lot of albums; they’re kinda mellow but there’s some – I don’t want to say prog – but at times they can be a little mathy and kind of jazzy. Just beautiful. I haven’t seen them live. I only found out a couple of years ago while we were on tour that the drummer John McEntire also plays for Tortoise. I love ‘em both! Exciting trivia!

"I understand why some people can hear a little Siouxsie in what we do"

4. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Umbrella (from Tinderbox, 1986)
One of my favourite voices of all time, guy or girl. I have a lot of respect for Siouxsie and she’s given me a lot of inspiration over the years. My sister and I used to listen to her a lot and just dance around. It’s all about the tone, there’s something about that band that’s pretty rare – something dark but also slightly poppy and accessible about their records. This is a song that my husband and I bonded over – we’d definitely heard it individually before, but one day we were just playing the album and that song stopped us in our tracks… played it on repeat for the whole night. I understand why some people can hear a little Siouxsie in what we do. I mean, when we started the band, everybody had grown up differently and we were coming from completely different musical backgrounds. Everybody brings in what they like, and although we may have similar tastes we’re all still coming from somewhere different. Hopefully we’re never considered strictly derivative of any one thing.

5. Sylvester – I Need Somebody to Love Tonight (from Stars, 1979)
That’s just a jam. Always, whenever I DJ, this goes on. Devendra Banhart played this for me and turned me onto it. It’s sort of disco… but not quite in the prime of disco; his era was the late 70s and early 80s. Sylvester’s not around anymore, sadly he died of complications from HIV/AIDS in 1988. He left a lot of great records – most famously You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – but there’s only a few of his songs I really love. This is his best in my opinion. It’s really funky, super dance-y, nice n’ long, and it just grooves.

6. Carly Simon – Why (from Soup for One OST, 1982)
I love it. Bernard Edwards is one of my favourite bass players; that bass-line is super funky, there can’t be a better one. And of course this is written and produced by Nile Rodgers. It’s basically a Chic track with Carly Simon on vocals. I think she’s pretty amazing, but I’m not a huge fan. I’d always associated her with being kind of country, and a little soft pop – which is pretty – and had no idea she was capable of making music like this. It’s a totally different vocal style, on a whole new level. This song is incredible.

7. Art of Noise – Moments in Love (from Into Battle with the Art of Noise, 1983)
Could listen to this on repeat forever and ever. It’s slightly nostalgic and melancholic but still really groovy. It doesn’t take me back to a specific memory but it does remind me of being a kid – there’s a warm fuzzy feeling that hits me when I hear this song. When I was growing up it was all about singles because that’s how my mom listened to music – she’d never buy the whole record. I guess that’s how I grew up. I’m just starting to get more into DJing and singles are pretty key to that. As of late, I’m listening to Sirius satellite radio, and there’s this channel called 1st Wave that plays rarer new wave and dance songs – not just the hits. I’ve been using that to collect songs for my sets – the stuff that gets overlooked. Stuff like this.

8. Kraftwerk – Computer Love (from Computer Love, 1981)
Loved this when I was a kid and love it more so now. My husband went to see them at their residency at the Tate Modern, but I missed out big time. They weren’t too huge in the states, but somehow, even growing up in Reno, Nevada, I got to hear them a little bit. This track is another that I’ve gotten to know more in recent years – one of those songs that was playing when I was getting to know my husband, on in the background while we were hanging out.

9. Aphex Twin – On [from On EP, 1993]
Beautiful, it’s not played often enough. One of the places I’ve lived with Emily was this amazing house in Malibu, for like a year. There was a huge yard, big salt water pool – we had our own rehearsal space in one of the pool houses and I lived in a trailer at the end of the property while she and John [Frusciante] lived in the main house. We used to put on Aphex at night. There was a big old deck and these speakers outside, and we would just dance in our underwear on the deck for hours. This was one of the songs we’d listen to over and over, all night.

10. Depeche Mode – Everything Counts (from 101, 1989)
Live at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. That song has been on heavy rotation since before I’ve been in the band – the girls love this song as well. Almost every song on here I’ve either introduced to or shared with them, other than Aphex – Emily played me that for the first time. I’ve never seen Depeche Mode live, although I’ve seen Dave Gahan play a benefit gig with John and Josh [Klinghoffer] for MAPS – which is a music programme for addicts. As close to Depeche Mode as I ever got. Still rockin, he’s still got the moves. This version beats the original – it just comes alive with masses of people singing at the end. 

Warpaint play Albert Hall, Manchester on 22 Mar and O2 ABC, Glasgow on 24 Mar http://warpaintwarpaint.com