Most of Coombes' favourite records were made in the late 1960s and early 70s, and he's still unearthing buried treasure from rock's golden age. In the music room of his flat, where he spends much of his time in the company of pianos and guitars, he digs out an album called Fully Qualified Survivor by the 60s British folk singer Mike Chapman. "I bought this because it features [David Bowie's guitarist] Mick Ronson's first ever studio performance. He does a few great solos, and Bowie got Ronson to play on The Man Who Sold The World after hearing it."
The walls of the living room of the Brighton flat are decorated with classic albums, and there are a handful of Bowies up there, The Man Who Sold The World among them. "I would say it's my favourite record of all time. Sometimes after listening to it I really do feel that we, as a band, are lacking in everything. It's so direct: it's basic and economical, the instruments are never crowded, the melodies are amazing, the lyrics are great, and Bowie shows how you can play with a tough rock band and still have sophisticated ideas. Bowie is where it all started for me. My mum says she remembers me getting into his music when I was four or five."
Friday August 1, 2003
"When I was working in the kitchen of Harvester, I'd play [Hunky Dory] while I was frantically mopping the floors at the end of the night. And years back, when I was living in Brighton, I had a flat above a place where a lot of gay guys would cruise. I was stood with a ciggy on the balcony once, thinking of a line about "watching the cruisers below" and then realised it was this!"
Gaz Coombes, Uncut #130, March 2008