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Love Letter To A Record: Bad Pony’s Mark Webber On Mark Ronson’s ‘Version’

Written by Mark Webber on March 13, 2018

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Bad Pony: Mark Ronson – Version

Where do I even begin with you? You’re simply a magnificent specimen. I can remember the very first time I laid ears on you… I was twenty years old and listening almost exclusively to punk rock, which meant guitars and drums only. There was no room for a brass section, and certainly no room for any instruments not performed by a person. The mere thought of a drum machine making its way into my life would be enough to make my eyes roll into the back of my head.

Then somehow the universe threw me a bone. I was cruising at home minding my own business, watching Channel [V] and ignoring the uni work that was piling up and I was committed to ignoring. And I hear this kick drum… well this kick drum and bass guitar. There was something about the beat, it was incredibly groovy and it made me want to move. ‘Valerie’, a song originally by the Zutons but being covered by Amy Winehouse with additional flavours being added by the Dap Kings. This was back before Spotify had rocked my world so I had to scrape together some cash and purchase a physical CD.

Holding you in my hands for the very first time I must say felt a bit strange. Your cover was all colourful and fun looking, there were all these names listed as personnel that I recognised but never thought I would be interested in hearing on a track. A large part of me was concerned that if my little punker pals found out that I’d been spinning an album with Lily Allen on it, I would lose the small amount of street cred that I had garnered by being somewhat well versed on the history of LA punk bands in the late 80s… I’m aware that I was a weird kid okay, leave me alone.

The first track blew me off my feet. I had no idea that I could sense so much energy and aggression in a song based around a horns section. The rolling snare intro raised my heartbeat to at least twice its resting rate, and what the hell was that sound? Was that a fucking harpsichord? Dude, harpsichords are cool.

Being introduced to you through such surprising means marked a big change for me in my listening. You are a hugely significant album for me in a way that most are not – it’s not via some strictly poetic, heartfelt connection with your lyrical content (although there are moments of this). The significance that you’ve had in my life has been much more practical – this marked a departure from my narrow music taste. Version, you put funk, hip-hop, soul, jazz and pop music on the menu for me and I had no idea these were flavours I would crave.

Since having my musical world blown open by one of the slickest albums of all time that oozes cool in every thumping kick beat has changed the trajectory of my life in a way that I’m not sure I could ever fully measure. Your influence made me want to learn how to use technology to write and record music, which made me purchase a bass guitar so I could lay down my own funky grooves, which led me to joining Bad Pony and being involved in the most fruitful and fulfilling groups (both in terms of music and friendships) that I have ever had the joy of calling myself a part of.

So I guess the important thing is that love begets more love right? I sound like I’m at the pulpit but in a very direct way my love for you, Version by Mark Ronson, has led to a smorgasbord of love in my life – my love for all kinds of music, my love for that incredible fun that I have with Bad Pony, and my love for those other four nerds I get to call my bandmates.

10/10 album, would date (you know… if that were a thing one could do).

– Mark Webber

Bad Pony are about to head over to wow crowds at SXSW. Their new single ‘Knife’ is out now and you can listen below.

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