You might think that Steven Wilson, guitarist and frontman of the progressive-rock masters Porcupine Tree, and creator of dramatically challenging music in his solo career, would have a record collection that begins with King Crimson and ends with Pink Floyd.
And you'd be very wrong. Look closer at Wilson's extracurricular activities, and you'll see work that encompass everything from krautrock (IEM) to ambient music (Bass Communion) to death metal (production work for Opeth) – and that's just for starters. "My musical tastes are very diverse," he says. "I just never felt like listening to certain kinds of bands. There's too much great stuff out there."
Near and dear to Wilson's heart is straight-ahead radio pop. On a series of two-song CD releases called Cover Versions, he's paid homage to the likes of ABBA and Prince, among others, and his reverence to the pop form is unshakable to this day.
“There’s not a lot of rock fans that will take you seriously if you talk about these artists," he says. "But I love these bands and their records so much, and I have no guilt whatsoever about it. I’ve never been one of those people who say, ‘Oh, well, if you play this kind of music, you can only like these kinds of bands.' So many things influence me in one way or another. Some might be surprising, but that's OK."
On the following pages, Steven Wilson runs down his top 5 not-so-guilty pleasures. And speaking of pleasures, on 25 September Wilson releases the concert film Get All You Deserve on DVD and Blu-ray. You can read all about it right here.