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Ed Gamble: The albums that changed my life

(Image credit: Matt Crockett)

While you might know Ed Gamble best from one of his many appearances on comedy panel show Mock The Week, or his Live At The Apollo stints, a little known fact about the London-based comedian is that despite what he calls his "Coldplay face – just the face of a boring white man," he's a lifelong metal fan with a record collection that would turn even the most cvlt of collectors green with envy.

"Quite often I find that metal fans are surprised I like metal," Gamble tells Metal Hammer. "Even when I compered [Metal Hammer Awards Ceremony] Golden Gods, I got Tweets from people in the audience saying 'What are you doing here?' Like – I'm here, so surely that's enough proof! I was wearing a leather jacket and someone Tweeted me saying 'Are you wearing leather jacket to pretend you like rock music?' Hopefully it's more well-known now."

Eager for a rifle through his records, we caught up with Gamble ahead of his 44-date Blizzard stand-up tour, set to kick off next week in Norwich, to find out about the albums that have provided the soundtrack to his life. 

The first album I ever bought was...

Fear Factory - Obsolete

"I'm picking the first one I ever bought with my own money – I'm not going anywhere near the albums I asked my mother to buy when I was too young to know what real music was. So I've picked the cool choice; the first one I went to a shop and chose myself, and that is Fear Factory's Obsolete. It was in a shop where you could pick up records and listen to them at a listening station, so I used to spend about four hours in there on a Saturday just listening to stuff. I found the cover and the name really intriguing, because I was quite interested in pushing things to extremities and being more into stuff than my friends. I went and listened to it and I don't think I'd heard anything like it before – it completely blew me away. It's just so heavy, but so instantly grabs you. It doesn't shut anyone out, it's quite accessible, but it's just mad heavy and mad loud. I think the first two tracks on this album still hold up as two of the best opening tracks on any album."

The perfect album is...

Clutch - Blast Tyrant

"This isn't a hard question at all – it's Blast Tyrant by Clutch. It is wall-to-wall bangers. Every single track is absolutely amazing and it takes you on a journey – you can listen to the whole thing at once, but also you could pluck any track out of it and it makes sense by itself, which is what I think a perfect album is. There's plenty of incredible albums that you need to listen to beginning to end to get the full effect – I think you can do that with Blast Tyrant, but also you could put it on shuffle and it would make as much sense. Although Mercury is a fantastic opener."

The album I wish I'd made is...

System Of A Down - System Of A Down

"It's an interesting one, isn't it? Because I love metal, but I don't think I have any real wish or inclination to be a musician myself. It's hard enough starting out in comedy, but I think music is even more of a daunting prospect to make a career out of. But this is one of the early albums that I picked up, and it's an amazing album but it also sounds quite fun. An incredible record, still probably in my top 20 records of all time, I reckon. Every single song is great but it's got a sense of humour as well, and it still surprises me when I listen to it. I don't know whether they had fun making it, but I have a lot of fun listening to it."

The best album artwork ever is...

Baroness - Purple

"I could've picked any John Baizley-drawn artwork. Just the insane amount of detail he puts into stuff. I think I read somewhere that he puts hundreds of hours into everything – each painting or each album cover that he does. I can still look at it now and see new things that I've not seen before. I went all in on that album and bought all of the limited edition shit; all of the 7"s with alternate covers and stuff. I got stuck in New York because of the snowstorm last year – which I talk about in my show, actually – but it meant I got to go and see Eyehategod in New York, and I was stood next to John Baizley throughout the gig and I was very excited. The trouble is, I really freak out when I see [famous] people, so I can't say hello. Like when I did the Golden Gods – Clutch are my favourite band in the world and I got to bring them on to the stage. I was stood next to Neil Fallon backstage and I was like, 'I can't talk to him, because I will spoil it.' I stood next to him and that was enough for me, thank you!"

No one would ever believe I own a copy of...

Beauty And The Beast OST

"Well, I don't think people would believe that I owned a copy of Purple, so this is one I struggled with because of that. I mean, I've got some I've got some shit. I've got the Beauty And The Beast soundtrack on picture disc, so let's let's say that. I don't think things should be mutually exclusive – of course, because of the internet it's the end of the genre – but I think people might be surprised to hear that I do own the picture disc of the Beauty And The Beast soundtrack. I got it because it's fucking banging – I put Be Our Guest toe to toe with any metal song. They're difficult to listen to, picture discs, but again – I don't know it John Baizley had a hand in it uncredited – but great artwork."

The album that should not be is...

Steel Panther's back catalogue

"I felt weird about this question because I don't like slagging off anyone who's also trying to do stuff. But because I feel like it's in my wheelhouse to talk about the comedy element of music, I'm going to say anything by Steel Panther, because I just don't think it's funny. I don't think they understand comedy, because it's gross-out humour – which can be done very well – but it's gross-out humour with absolutely no charm or twinkle in the eye. They've completely misunderstood what a joke is. The riffs are fine, but not enough to outshine the fact that they are awful humorists. Also, I don't think it's a parody. People say it's a parody, but it's not, because I think when they're saying that overtly horrible sexual misogynist stuff – they're not making fun of that attitude, they're just having that attitude."

The album I want played at my funeral is...

40 Watt Sun - Wider Than The Sky

"Well, I want people to be very sad at my funeral. When people say 'I want my funeral to be a party, happy people remembering my life': absolutely not. I want people wailing, so I want something really sad. Some proper funeral doom – you know, that sort of really slow, emotionally wrought doom. I had a few choices, but the one I settled on is an album from 2016 by 40 Watt Sun called Wider Than The Sky. It's a guy called Patrick Walker who's in a band called Warning as well, and it is, honestly, devastating. His vocals are so warm but just petrifyingly sad. It's an hour-and-a-bit long and I want that whole thing played as my coffin inches painfully slowly towards the crematorium."

A kid asks you what metal is and you hand them a copy of...

Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power 

"Problematic issues with Phil Anselmo aside, musically, Pantera were my favourite, favourite band growing up. Straight after buying that Fear Factory album I got way more into the heavier stuff, discovered Pantera and was like 'Yes. This is the band that I'm going to go all-in on,' and that album just completely blew me away. I couldn't believe there could be something that heavy and that catchy all at the same time. And I think that album particularly sums up a whole generation of bands that came after them. Even the cover – I could have picked that for album artwork. Never as a cover been so simple and summed up the sound on it so well."

The best album of 2018 was...

Conjurer - Mire

"I just can't believe that's a debut full-length album. It's the sort of level of craft that you'd expect when bands release their eighth album and everyone goes 'Oh, they've really refined their sound.' That's what this album sounds like to me. Some of the songs are lengthy, they explore different areas, the dynamics of it incredible. They're just so accomplished so early on and it's fucking bastard heavy as well. I went to see them live and they're mind-blowing live as well – and they're so young."

The album I'm most looking forward to in 2019 is...

Venom Prison - TBC

"There's loads – the obvious are things like Tool and Slipknot, who've definitely confirmed they're releasing albums next year. Red Fang and Torche are all ones I wrote down, but let's say Venom Prison because they're British and cool and I like them. I slept on the first album a bit. I'd seen them a few years ago at Temples Festival in Bristol and thought they were really good – especially because they were just so angry and loud. They played 15 minutes shorter than they were supposed to, but they'd just done the job. They tore the place apart and then just obviously went 'Yeah, that'll do'. No one seemed to mind. But I've listened to that album a lot now and I think it's incredible. I'm not really a death metal aficionado but they do something with it that really appeals to me. I'm really excited to see where they go next and how big a British death band can get. It's so brutal, I love it."

Ed Gamble’s UK tour starts on 24th January. For tickets and info please head over to Ed's official website.

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.