Midnite Mixtape Massacre - Baz Francis - Magic Eight Ball Print E-mail
Written by Baz Francis   
Sunday, 16 December 2012 04:00



2013 will see the release of the debut album from Magic Eight Ball, and what better way to celebrate than to dig deep into the mind of singer/songwriter Baz Francis. You want to know what sounds shape the Power Pop world that he has secretly been creating behind the glitter encrusted doors of his Egham mansion? Look no further music lovers, as Baz has some sweet classics for you to sing along to. So without further ado let's hand over to the man with a plan for his lucky 13.


1.) 'Bohemian Rhapsody' - Queen (from the album 'A Night At The Opera')


Still after all these years and all the times I've heard it, The Rhapsody remains to epitomise the perfect tainted love ballad, the finest slice of hard rock, and the most wonderful mini-opera all rolled into the perfect song composed by my favourite songwriter of them all, Freddie Mercury.


2.) 'Come Get To This' - Marvin Gaye (from the album 'Let's Get It On')


Before I got rock I got Marv, and what a first musical love to have, one who has sometimes seemed far removed from what I have been doing musically myself but has always without fail continued to teach me how I might be able to grow as someone attempting to capture that same magic.


3.) 'A Design For Life' - Manic Street Preachers (from the album 'Everything Must Go')


Upon hearing this song, everything changed for me as I went from being a clueless teenager aspiring to a hopeless dream of one day becoming a professional footballer, to becoming someone whose life was literally taken over by music and an all-consuming desire to one day write and perform music of this power.


4.) 'Serve The Servants' - Nirvana (from the album 'In Utero')bazmix300


The sound of a band casually disgarding the cash-cow that made them huge with a stripped approach and goofy wit that didn't seem to belittle their previous or current work, but create thoroughly engaging and endearing music with the simplest of formulae.


5.) 'My Sexual Life' - Everclear (from the album 'Sparkle And Fade')


From arguably my favourite ever album, this is pretty much the definitive album closer too, and the lyrical theme explored within of the dramas of the heart in a small town world has always been the subject I have felt best qualified to discuss in my own songs.


6.) 'Pink' - Aerosmith (from the album 'Nine Lives')


The chorus's closing lyrics are a credo I have lived by since a teenager, and the pure raunch, fun and sweetness that Aerosmith combine so perfectly on this song have long been key reference points for my songwriting.


7.) 'Black Widow' - Alice Cooper (from the album 'Welcome To My Nightmare')


1970s Coop is basically everything I love about rock n' roll, music in general, horror, theatre and humour all rolled into one, and 'Black Widow' exemplifies how dark early metal, rock opera, and hellacious arena rock can fuse so effortlessly when done by the master of all three.


8.) 'Please Don't Go' - Stevie Wonder (from the album 'Fulfillingness' First Finale')


His is a musical talent bordering on other-worldly, and how this song melds undertones of funk and rock n' roll redefines what soul actually is in the process.


9.) 'If You Want My Love' (Alternate Version) - Cheap Trick (from the album 'Sex, America, Cheap Trick')


This version of the Cheap Trick classic is the mix that best highlights my favourite ever lyric (I even had "lonely is only a place" tattooed on my arm) and the finest ever recorded vocal in my opinion ("it's a hole in my heart, in my heart") courtesy of the delightful Robin Zander, whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few years back.


10.) 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' - The Darkness (from the album 'Permission To Land')


The Darkness were the last new band that just simply demanded that I love them; they made turning the radio on fun again and caused me to up my game and push harder towards the level of showmanship that I had always intended to inject into my performances, in part bringing forward the formation of Magic Eight Ball as the correct medium through which I could do this.


11.) 'Time To Let You Go' - Enuff Z'Nuff (from the album 'Strength')


I have so many stories from the road with both present and former members of Enuff Z'Nuff (having opened for them on 19 occasions now), but before all that they had changed the course of my musical path by introducing me to musical genius such as this, my first EZ'N love, and subsequently I have made some dear friends for life inside and around that band. It will always be one of my most treasured memories singing this song with its very composer, Donnie Vie.


12.) 'The Ballad Of El Goodo' - Big Star (from the album '#1 Record')


My own personal John-Peel-discovers-The-Ramones moment when I was literally stopped in my tracks after hearing this for the first time in my car, and such was the emotional impact of what I was hearing that in the coming days I wrote my own song 'Big Star' in tribute to the band responsible for this poignant moment in time for me.


13.) 'Soundtrack Of My Summer' - Mike Viola (from the album 'Electro De Perfecto')


Watching Mike Viola play songs from his latest record acoustically over the summer was the most awestruck I have been by a performer in awhile, and that night he lead me to reassess how I approach my craft in a way that was nothing short of revelatory.



[Photo kudos to Glyn Griffiths]