Riffs; The First and Latest Albums Bought by Paul Barker, vocalist with Ministry

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Queen

THEY HAD an aura of strangeness compared with The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, which were two of the main "straight" rock bands of the time. were fairly glam, unusual, and no one was really into them. And although there was plenty of variety, it seems that straight rock was the most popular. For me, it was nice to be different. (Yeah, we were the oddballs at school, we didn't go to any parties.) American bands like the Dolls made unbelievably simple music, unlike 's rich musical arrangements. I guess the way to pigeonhole the difference is to say that the Americans were simpler.

After the third album I stopped listening to - they became too quirky, light and cheesy, which I didn't understand then. They weren't bone-crushers anymore.

Gyorgy Legeti

Arditti String Quartets

He is a modern avant-garde composer, who is really into music for piano and string quartets.

Whenever Legeti is conducting, it's so beautiful, so awesome, just the way he makes the music do exactly what he wants. The avant-garde side of his music comes from elements such as hitting the body of a violin to make a sound. I don't listen to much classical music, but I love some of the contemporary composers.

I think it's being able to relate to it on a personal level, like the beauty of pop music, that makes it so much more immediate. But perhaps classical music works well for me because I grew up with my Aunt and Uncle, who had their own wonderfully eclectic taste - lots of Soviet military arrangements and African and Balkan music. I don't know where they developed their taste.

Legeti is not a direct influence, but it's a stylistic notion; to be unique, to have your own voice. To me, the idea of being a successful performing artist is to develop your own style and then work with it. Jumping on a bandwagon is the easiest thing of all to do.

But what I want is to be challenged, and to hear something new. Fortunately, I am confident in my own expression - for better or worse.

Ministry's new album, `Dark Side of the Spoon' is out now (Warner)

Interview by Jennifer Rodger

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