I know people can read Brian's blog themselves on his site, but I thought this post was so key, that it's worth re-posting here.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tell your Mama, that I'm here to save somebody tonight...
"and if you knew just how smooth, I could stop it on a dime...you can meet me at the scene of the crime..." - Crime Scene Part One - The Afghan Whigs
Today, I'm writing the article... So you know and so I can't say I don't...this is where you can go to hear it from the horse's mouth. I'm gonna talk about what actually makes me put the pen to the paper... the bands and artists I could never do without. I may be letting you into my trick bag too much, but that's kinda the point... to pass on the good music... that was the point all along. So here we go...
In no order the ten bands I couldn't do what I do without...
1. Tom Waits
2. The Clash
3. Greg Duli (Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers)
4. The Bouncing Souls
5. Bruce Springsteen
7. Hot Water Music
8. Social Distortion
9. Bob Dylan
10. The Rolling Stones
Those are the foundations, the absolute necessary ingredients, there are others, but these are the ones that have impacted me the most... here's why...
1. Tom Waits is the guy that taught me to mix everything... put the blues in the soul, the punk in the doo wop, the folk in the novel. The first record I bought of his was Rain Dogs, when I heard Downtown Train I was about 17 and I couldn't find my fingers after that... every opening line I've ever written has been trying to come up with something as good as... "Outside another yellow moon has punched a hole in the night time, yes." And Tom inspired me to sing with carpet staples and gospel. Listen to "Anywhere I Lay My Head"
2. The Clash is obvious... I learned energy and forward momentum of songs from the Clash, the big burst right out of the gate, no filler. Step on the gas and go. I didn't learn the politics, it just never sat with me. I'll do my politics one person at a time, find the need, meet it. Melody, and vocal harmony... all right here... Listen to "Safe European Home"
3. Greg Duli in all forms taught me how to reinvent... soul, mainly. The Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers both did this. They showed me how to put a spin on the motown sound, and taught me you could update classics without being "new country" which is good. Though Brad Paisley's cool. Also Greg's lyrics were critical poetry... it was romance and the dark. Like Dante. Listen to - "Teenage Wristband" - The Twilight Singers
4. The Bouncing Souls - on more levels than one... lyrically, They taught me how to keep the past by your side and always look to the future. Old men in young bodies, that's what we are.
They were the same as me, grew up the same, loved the music... never took themselves too seriously, never forgot where they came from. My first love, the Bouncing Souls, in local music that is, which I never knew of before them. They showed me to get in the van, stay TRUE, believe in yourself, and drink lots of coffee... Greg, Bryan, Pete, and Mike... thanks guys.
Listen to - "K8 Is Great" - The Bouncing Souls.
5. Bruce Springsteen - always. But people don't get the meat of it... they think it's all Born in the USA and Thunder Road, and it is... but there's too much more... Bruce was my mother's...
she loved him, she taught me all about him... she played me "Backstreets" when I was a kid. That was me in my mind... "One soft infested summer... I hated him, and I hated you when you went away..." those were the words born on my tongue... My Mom and me are a team musically, we share things, she gave me Bruce, and I gave her American Steel, hope it's a good trade...
Now, here's the thing... people have over done this one to death, but I get it... it's like when people said Bruce was like Bob Dylan... it was everywhere... people need that comparison, well some do, but at the end of the day, it's a pretty good comparison... you can't really complain... and he is after all the Boss, which maybe I can be the "assistant manager" one day. But after all this let's not miss the point, Bruce is a great writer and that's why he's the best... he is, there isn't anyone better... but it's the secrets that sometimes speak louder than the hits... listen to "The Promise" - the 18 Tracks album version.
6. Chamberlain - I found the record "The Moon My Saddle" when I was 18. I was into punk all around, I had forgotten all things my mother taught me about folk, and blues, and gospel, and all that, until I randomly found, on the Doghouse 50 sampler, Chamberlain... I bought this record and it put me right back on course, I knew I had to blend everything. I knew I had to be playing like a punk band, and writing like a poet, or at least I would try my best... Chamberlian spoke straight poetry, the music, the words, blows me away every time I hear that record, 12 years later. It's life altering... Listen to "Try For Thunder."
7. Hot Water Music - without this band, there would be no anybody we love, they changed the world like Fugazi changed hardcore. They broke every rule, they could play, they could write, and they had solos and songs longer than 2 minutes. They were the FIRST bearded punks. They were the best. They EXPLODED with pure emotion. They mixed the hardcore with the melody and I never heard it like this before! Now, sure there was Rites of Spring, Sunny Day Real Estate, etc... but Hot Water Music inspired a whole generation of music fans... invented a genre, because they took what these other bands did before them and they perfected it. I will never forget the way my mind exploded the first time I heard them, funny enough, it was track two on that same Doghouse 50 sampler... good job guys. I heard "Better Sense" from the album Forever and Counting and never have I ever been hit so hard, I listened to that song about 50 times in a row. They defined me growing up. This band changed my life... 'till the wheels fall off.
Listen to - "Better Sense"
8. Social Distortion - now this band made me know what I wanted to do with my life. I loved folk and country and rock and roll, but I wanted a more explosive sound if I was gonna be in a band, but I hadn't found anything more than Nirvana, and that was weird to me... I didn't understand them at first... long hair, flannel? what? that sounded like what my mom made me wear 'cause it was cheap and my dad's hand me downs. Then I was staying over my friend Joe's house and we were watching 120 Minutes late at night, and I see this video for "Story of My Life" come on, and I knew right then, I'm getting tattooed and I'm gonna play rock and roll! It was everything I was looking for, it was melodic, there were stories, and they looked awesome!
It was Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Elvis sounding like The Ramones, The Clash, and The Sex Pistols, I WAS IN! I know no one ever thinks about looks right? Right. Dickies and t shirts... still wearing it to this day... listen to "Story of My Life."
9. Bob Dylan... this was the first sound I heard that made me understand that lyrics were more important that hit singles. I was 12, I listened to Guns and Roses, like everyone else in 1992. But I was driving with my mother doing a paper route in January at 7am on a Sunday in freezing cold New Jersey... "Just Like a Woman" came on the radio and I'm pretty sure that was the moment I found out that you could sing songs that could really move people beyond anything I ever knew. You could protest, you could cut down, you could lament, and you could laugh... all in songs... I never realized this before and this set me out on a quest to be a good lyric writer, now I'll never be Dylan, but he inspired me to try. Listen to "Boots of Spanish Leather" - try not to cry.
10. The Stones, change, but always stay yourself. Spit it all out, all the trouble, all the fear, just spit it out... The Rolling Stones might be more punk than everybody. except Fat Mike, but sans him, say what you want, but the rolling stones have put out some of the most raw and real music ever to be put to tape... they hold back nothing, they reinvent and then throw it all away. They build the house and burn it right back down, just to see what it'd look like. I'm not sure there ever was a band more pure in what it was doing. there's no catch, there's no fine print, it's only rock and roll... you know the rest. Listen to "Heart of Stone"
That's what I think, hope you found some new jams. I'm gonna go back to my Bruce shrine and polish Clarence's sax.