Tuesday, November 20, 2007


[Insert here: some meaningful reference to the flashback scene in the movie SLC Punk! where the two main characters are in their mid-teens listening to Rush . . .]

Back when I started making noise/music/whatever of my own, post-punk was the underground genre. And even if 1977 was supposed to be some kind of pop music Year Zero and folks were supposed to be all DIY about everything, an inevitable question in a band interview or point of pride or conversation would be: "what are your influences?"

Of course I was hardly ever in such a situation as to be interviewed or even informally asked such a question. I would just do the uncool thing and wear those influences on my sleeve. Or more likely, on the lapel of one of my thrift store jackets. Cheap, out of sync and out of touch, I'd have some kinda obscure pin (Joy Division) and some obscure but hardly cool at the time pin (Swell Maps).

As I said, I was then (now & always) a hick from the sticks.

What I couldn't buy or inherit perhaps from a cooler friend with more disposable income, I might manufacture. An empty carton of orange juice became an Orange Juice pin. And crude Cray-Pas drawings on otherwise bland t-shirts created commemorations of a Young Marble Giants instrumental or a 12" EP Jah Wobble did with two guys from Can.

Points of fashion aside, influences were really very foggy notions. Was one really saying that one was a fan of a group? Could one claim Sly and the Family Stone as an influence if one played/wrote bluegrass music? More subtly, could anyone claim any band as an influence just in the vain hope of sounding like said musical hero? Can an influence be something one doesn't really like except for one song, one sound, one piece of a song that one can't forget?

All that said, let's dive into the deep end of this murky stagnant pool with a list of groups, artists or genres I'll claim one way or another:

Easy listening

Dan Fogelberg
(Dan & Karlheinz S.)

Joni Mitchell

Television Personalities

Elvis Costello


Mission of Burma

Dif Juz

the Broadman Hymnal (more about it)

John Cage

Glenn Branca

Fred Frith

The Orthotonics

Marianne Faithful

Leonard Cohen


Scritti Politti

Cabaret Voltaire


Gang of Four

Debbie Reynolds

Jean Michel Jarre

George Beverly Shea

Rudy Ray Moore


Joy Division

The Durutti Column

Aztec Camera

The Association

The Fifth Dimension

some old black guy playing blues electric guitar and singing "Kansas City" over and over and over and over again at some festival in a Newport News VA park, Fall 1978





nondescript Top-40 and album rock radio stations

music of every Sci-Fi, Western and 70s cop show or movie I ever saw

Orange Juice

Josef K

Charlie Rich

Charlie Pride

The Velvet Underground

The Banana Splits

Little Richard

Richard Thompson

Richard Pryor

Brother Dave Gardner

Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous

Burt Bacharach
, Hal David & Dionne Warwick

Jonathan Winters

The Mekons

The Partridge Family

The Fall

Young Marble Giants

The Go-Betweens

The Raincoats

Essential Logic

X-Ray Spex

Mark, who turned me on to half of these folks

Those of you who turned me on to the rest

Brian Eno

Talking Heads

The Next of Kin

Half Japanese


Henry Kaiser


Public Image Ltd.

Siouxsie & the Banshees

Pink Floyd


Swell Maps

The Who


Pere Ubu

The Soft Boys


Roxy Music

and who knows how many more . . .

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