Thursday, May 17, 2007

Weapon Of Choice

At the end of every Rolling Stone issue, there is a list featuring some musician talking about his top five songs. This made me think the top 5 records that changed my life, and seeing as how it is a slow news day and I haven't talked about music in a while, I thought I would share my top 5 records that changed my life and why. So, here they are:

1) Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic
This was the first rock n' roll record I ever owned. My parents bought it for me when I was a kid, and it took my dad a lot of convincing to get my mom to agree with letting me have, mainly because of the song "Big Ten Inch Record", which I guess she thought I would assume it was about what it really is about but that I was too young to actually be aware of it, which I knew anyway so it was pointless. Still, this is the record that started it all.

2) Black Flag - Wasted...Again
Black Flag was the first punk band I ever heard. When I was about 11 when my uncle Dave bought this for me while I was in the hospital, waiting for my surgery. My mom's brothers were a huge influence on my musical tastes, and Dave was the one who got me into stuff like Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, Helmet, and the hardcore scene. This record totally changed the way I look at music. I no longer saw it as four-chord wonders and blistering solos. This is the record that made me realize that anger and frustration can be turned into a message for others who feel the same way, and it brought the first sense of a musical community to me through the punk rock and hardcore scene.

3) Pearl Jam - Ten
The record and the band that made me want to create music. The opening few seconds to the song "Once" captivated me. The moment I put that record in, and heard those first few chords before the drums hit, it was like the door to my mind just got kicked open and this flood of new and exciting and dangerous sensations flew in. This is the record, and "Once" is the song that made me pick up a guitar.

4) Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
The first songs I had ever heard by Tom Waits were all covers, and I didn't even know it. Luckily, my good buddy Kwid told me it was actually a Tom Waits song the Ramones were singing ("I Don't Wanna Grow Up") and not in fact a Ramones song. Once I bought one of his records, I was introduced to a whole new world of music. Tom Waits is an original, nobody sounds even remotely like him. This is the first record that taught me that music doesn't have to be hard, fast, and loud to be amazing and beautiful.

5) Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
The first Pink Floyd record I ever owned, courtesy once again by my uncle Dave and my dad. My dad was a hardcore Pink Floyd fan, but since I was young and stupid, I assumed I would not like them because my parents did, and of course now I listen to most of the stuff they do (I wasn't a very smart kid, was I?). This record is what got into classic rock, and more importantly, into my fascination with album artwork. Storm Thorgerson created a lot of graphic designers without knowing it. The first time I understood how art and music go hand in hand was because of this record and this band.

Once, upon a time, I could control myself

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