It is perhaps inevitable that writer-actor-producer-director and stand-up comic David Cross will one day add yet another talent to his multi-hyphenate status. But one thing the Arrested Development star (who, along with Bob Odenkirk, created the groundbreaking comedy series Mr. Show With Bob And David) makes entirely clear is that the role of musician won’t be in his elongated list of credits.
“A number of comics do turn out to be frustrated musicians, and sometimes musicians, especially drummers, are frustrated comics," Cross notes. "As for myself, I'm just not musically adept. I tried learning banjo, but I just couldn’t get past that hump where it becomes muscle memory and intuitive. At school, I tried to learn guitar and I tried to learn drums, but I didn’t have the aptitude or the patience. I'm just not skilled in that way."
So he'll just have to settle for doing all the other things he does so well: creating and starring in the TV series The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, turning in memorable performances in indie flicks (It's A Disaster) and family-oriented franchises (Alvin And The Chipmunks) or practically re-animating the comedy album genre with a trilogy of brilliant releases (2002's Shut Up You Fucking Baby!, 2004's It's Not Funny and Bigger and Blackerer from 2010), all of them packed with fearless, savage satire and distinguished, contrastingly, by Cross' lilting, gleeful performance style.
A longtime music fan (he's appeared in music videos by everyone from Superchunk to the Beastie Boys), Cross characterizes any similarities between his own work and the records he listens to as "sort of invisible. There's probably some sort of shared sensibility there. I like a lot of different types of music, but I’m probably predisposed to that indie-punk, thrashy ethos. That’s the kind of thing I like live, but my actual music collection is more diverse."
Whether he continues to add actual albums to that library isn't much of a concern for Cross. Weighing in on the steady decline of the LP, he says simply, “Things change. I think it’s a waste of time to lament it and to worry about people lamenting it. I just roll my eyes at people who curl their fist up at change. I don't care about the physical manifestation of how you get your music, because it really is about the music.”
On the following pages, Cross runs down 10 records that he remembers as being significant in his life. “They’re not necessarily my favorites," he stresses. "In fact, probably only one of them would be on my top 10 list of favorite albums. But these records are important to me for various reasons. They stick out as being eventful."