In this series we ask musicians about the one album that changed their life, the album that turned that slow burn of curiosity into an uncontrollable fire, the album that straight up turned them on. This week we interview three musicians, Casey Gibson of Filligar, Jason Rueger of Country Mice and Vito Aiuto of The Welcome Wagon.
Gibson: “My favorite album by my favorite band. Morrison’s last album with the Doors before his untimely death. I got into “L.A. Woman” right before moving out to LA and listened to it on repeat for an entire year after discovering it. My girlfriend at the time had it on vinyl and I’m sure I drove her crazy because I wanted only to listen to that record when I was at her house.”
“As a keyboard player, Ray Manzarek has been one of my greatest influences in developing my own style. The playing on this album is Ray at his best: the pounding polyrhythms on “The Changeling;” the rolling tack piano on “L.A. Woman;” and–of course–that gorgeous, melodic, in-and-out weaving on the Rhodes on “Riders on the Storm.” He’s got such an ear for rhythm. This album is their bluesiest, in no small part due to Manzarek’s left hand.”<
“As with any great record, I find myself going back and forth on whether I prefer side one or two. Both have such great flow from track to track, both with such perfect bookends. On side one, Morrison sounds his fullest and most confident on “Changeling” and “Been Down So Long,” but it’s his introverted longing on “Cars Hiss By My Window” that is most captivating. He pulls you in, “…so out of reach…”, then juxtaposes it with his trademark narcissism in the following “L.A. Woman.” Side two follows suit. Mr. Mojo Risin’ was at his peak.”
“Most of all, though–and here’s the important thing–the record embodies everything I love about LA. The carefree “Love Her Madly,” the up-and-down hills of “L.A. Woman,” the seedy “The WASP,” and the visceral sunset colors of “Riders on the Storm.” It continues to inspire me to write music about the things I love. That, above anything else, is why this record is truly genius.”
Filligar is on tour now with Taddy Porter and have a new LP coming out this year.
Filligar – “Trepador”
Rueger: “Good for walking, thinking, deciding, decoding, cooking, imagining, remembering. This is an album where the notes from the guitar bear equal weight to the words that are sung. This music creates a time and place in my mind, something familiar and far away. Bert has this beautiful way of pulling things out from deep down, whether you want it not. I was lucky enough to see him live Dec 2010 at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Neil Young, another major influence, was in attendance, but even his cameo with Pegi couldn’t shake Bert’s performance from my mind. You could hear a pin drop while he played, the audience was in tune, in a spell, and knew this was something special. Little did we know he would pass less than a year later.”
Country Mice – “Anne Marie (live)”
Album of Influence: Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam)Aiuto: “In junior high I had a friend who turned me on to rap, which I caught via late night listening to R & B stations emanating from Detroit (The Electrifying Mojo!), as well as 3rd and 4th generation dubbed tapes of Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and early Run D.M.C on my General Electric Walkman knock-off. It was, and is, wonderful stuff. But after hearing, “Bring the Noise” on the Less Than Zero soundtrack, I was stunned: it was exceedingly intense, cacophonous, angry (it made my Sex Pistols tape seem fraudulent in its rage), melodic, seemingly unconcerned with the reception it might be getting, yet at the same time completely irresistible. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before (which, didn’t Chuck D. know it: “Radio/Suckers never play me”). I worked hard at tracking down a copy of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (no small feat in rural Michigan in 1988), and once I had it home it just kind of consumed me.” “It was obviously impossibly hard for me, a naive white teenager in the Midwestern sticks, to relate in a direct way to the lyrical content of the record: not only did it speak militantly to issues of racial inequality and political injustice that I had, at best, a passing and shallow knowledge of, but the very cultural grammar they were using was somewhat impenetrable to me, not to mention the conversations they were having with, and about, people I had never heard of (Harry Allen? Louis Farrakhan?) But in some ways, none of that mattered. Not only did the record serve as an education of sorts, an impetus driving me to understand what was being talked about on the record, but even from the first moment I dropped the needle on to the record (yeah, I had it on vinyl), the visceral depth of Chuck D.’s voice, the menacing and rhythmic playfulness of Flavor Flav, and the sonic landscape roaring around both of them like a cyclone were so convincing as to make any question about cultural accessibility and relevance become completely irrelevant. It just sounded so cool, so powerful. I wasn’t always sure what they were talking about, but I was completely sure they meant it, in a way that I had never really heard an artist mean anything up to that point in my life.”“I’m not sure I’ve yet to hear anything else compare to that kind of earnestness; and yeah, maybe I think that because I first heard it when I was 14, at which point even Iron Maiden and Depeche Mode might sound like a matter of life and death (and who is to say either of them are not?) But PE has never sounded dated to me, never limited by the cultural moment that they themselves helped to define. I rarely listen to it now, and I’m not sure it would meet me in all the same places it once did, but I’m so grateful for this record.”Find The Welcome Wagon’s album, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, on Asthmatic Kitty.
The Welcome Wagon – “Remedy”
SO Note: Tweet your most inspirational album to @Serial_Optimist.