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Records That Changed My Life
with Jeff Daily
To paraphrase Pauline Kael, I lost it at the record player. Or given that it was the ’90s, the CD player. It was from thirteen to fifteen years of age, when I shifted away from playing basketball in the north Texas suburbs to retreating inward, staying indoors – exploring a sound world of guitars and melodies.
Before founding the Austin based music and arts collective, Teflon Beast, playing weird music with the Plastic Uno (band), and producing Alizter James, I was an aspiring guitarist learning open G, C, & D chords. These are the albums that I carry with me from that time.▼ Article continues below ▼
A Hard Day’s Night
In my youthful mind, the all-consuming question was: how do I write songs? The answer came with ringing, open-chord glory when, during a summer library investigation, I happened upon this 1964 “soundtrack” album. Thirteen songs that form the blueprint of what being in a rock band should sound like.
Blonde on Blonde
Lyrics! The Beatles taught me guitar, song structure, and presentation, but Dylan made me want to understand poetry. He was the Mt. Olympus of lyricists. His phrasing on “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” and “Visions of Johanna” confused, delighted, and pushed my hand forward as I struggled to write beyond my age.
The Beach Boys
When I got my start recording on a cassette 4-track, I wanted nothing more than to be like Brian Wilson. Buying a TASCAM deck meant also learning about how to capture emotional music in a microphone. Wilson’s production work is, to my ears, still the single best pop album ever recorded.
I didn’t just relive the ’60s in my headphones, I paid attention to what was then current “alternative music” and one of the only bands that truly stuck out to me was R.E.M. Their Monster album had just been released and the loud, chiming, catchy, yet distorted “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” hit my earholes hard. I became an obsessive fan almost instantly.
For more on Jeff and the latest with Teflon Beast, follow on Twitter @TeflonBeast
Which records inspired you to become a musician? Let us know and you can be featured in a future column. Email [email protected] for more info.