Five Records That Changed My Life, Part 14: Martin “Ace” Kent

Guitarist Martin “Ace” Kent co-founded fabulous British rock band Skunk Anansie in 1994. Ace is still active with the band that quickly grew into one of Britain’s biggest rock acts in the 90s. Their most recent release was 2019’s fab live album “25LIVE@25”. Roppongi Rocks boss Stefan Nilsson, who saw Skunk Anansie open for KISS in London’s Finsbury Park in 1997, caught up with Ace to find out what records helped form him as a person and musician.

Motörhead “Ace of Spades” (1980)

“This was the life changing moment that made me decide that the path of rock’n’roll was the one I would embark upon for the rest of my life! It was also my first concert at the age of 12, around the same time that Motörhead broke the world sound record for the loudest show. They just blew me away into orbit, wanting to learn to play an instrument and maraud the world like a Viking on guitar with a band of crazy comrades! Lemmy always spoke to me as a man of the people, with the down and dirty approach of a band with monster songs and excessive volume. It was the ultimate display of vulgar power on a disc! Every song is a winner and it is the New Wave of British Heavy Metal anthem album of all time!”

Black Sabbath “Vol. 4” (1972)

“With its iconic album cover and double 12-inch sleeve, this album already had me hooked before I even got it onto the deck. Tony Iommi is probably my biggest influence ever as a guitar player, when I was teaching myself to rack out the riffs. They were simple, huge, fuzz-licious and totally awe-inspiring to crank up loud and headbang to! This LP has some of the most iconic Sabbath tunes on it and still sounds incredible to this day. All killer, no filler and the masters of our rock destinies! This one definitely added to the badges and patches on my old denim jacket!”

Led Zeppelin “Led Zeppelin II” (1969)

“How can anybody in their right mind deny that this album is one of the most mega huge amazing records of all time? It still shakes and rocks the house 50 years later… As a kid, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ ruled the heavy-metal dance floors and the riff has become ingrained in my psyche and pulses through my fingers even to this day. I loved everything about Led Zeppelin, the hugeness of the riffs, the rock god status of the band, the characters of the members, the logos, the artwork and the beautiful and emotional moments of the really soft songs. They really did have it all, and I’m still proud that they are one of the biggest and best British exports of rock to the world!”

Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” (1977)

“Well, if you’re going to talk about life changing records, this record changed the lives of many people, not to mention the musical landscape of the world. I was slightly too young to be able to fully absorb this record when it came out, or go to shows, but my big brother had a copy which he had to hide from our parents. We listened to it when they were out of the house! In fact, it was the first record I ever heard swearing on! All the songs on it are so spectacular, hard-hitting and fuelled with raw youth energy, they still give me a buzz to this day! When punk came along, it changed everything for us at school. All of a sudden, everybody had their own look and opinions… It’s the kind of record that just makes you want to jump and shout and question authority! Also, we managed to get on a tour with them when they reformed. That’s just nuts!”

Public Enemy “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” (1988)

“One day I walked into a record shop and said to the girl on the counter ‘Look, I need something new. It’s got to be really heavy and have attitude, but not be heavy metal, as I have so many rock records.’ The girl said to me ‘Check this out, it’s the new album from Public Enemy’ and put on ‘She Watch Channel Zero?!’. This is where Chuck D and Flavor Flav hit on the rock rap trip for the first time and sampled Slayer. I was completely floored by it and just couldn’t believe what I was listening to. I still think it’s one of the most poignant and hard-hitting records of all time and still stands up on its own, lyrically and sonically, to this day. There are loads of great classic hits on there and I still listen to it now. But I’ll always remember when I got it home, put it on the deck, cranked it up and was just in awe of it!”