Thursday, 17 September 2015

Top Tens: Dan from RxR's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

Dan from RxR’s top ten influential bands.

Quick Disclaimer: Ten is an incredibly hard number for picking bands I have an emotional attachment to. In order to try and make this right I have imposed on myself the following restrictions:
These bands are bands I have listened to for ten years or more and also have directly influenced the songs I wrote for RxR. That should at least help curb the amount of bands I have to choose from!


I should just get this one out of the way. I’ve been an MXPX fan for close to 20 years now and they are the main influence for everything I have written. Musically they have made a living off what I call the punk T Bar chord structure. This is the D, A, G, B set of chords that can be played in a varying order or on varying starting frets but it’s always there and is extremely prevalent in basically any band you’re listening to. They showed me you don’t need to be a jazz musician to take a simple concept and keep it fresh.

I love me a good harmony in the vocals and Midtown were kings of three part harmonic belters. They shared a reasonable amount of success in the pop punk boom that happened around the millennium and I was lucky enough to meet them at the underworld. Great summertime tunes to make you smile.

A little specification needs to happen here. I am exclusively talking about the album Bleed American here. I have tried getting into earlier and later releases but it’s only this album that really moved me. This was the first album with a song that made me cry and I still get goosebumps listening to the title track today.

The Gimme Gimmes are a fantastic reminder to everyone that punk can be accessible to everyone and it was never meant to be exclusive or elitist. They are a band that go on at parties and the group you play your grandma and anyone who isn’t a fan of punk rock. They are instantly enjoyable and Spike’s vocals are in a large way my vocals. I’ve never done well at sneering or gravelly vocals and he showed me it’s ok to just sing over the guitars.

I remember someone playing me Armless Skater and thinking it was funny so going to Camden and finding the Hero of Our Time album in some shithole store and it just blowing my mind. It was so fast and so technical and so all-round amazing and it’s weird to me that they still seem to be an outside choice for greatest band in the world. They are the reason that, after every song we rehearse, I say “can we try that faster”.

Back before pop punk was labelled pop punk we called it emo punk (not the thing with the fringes) and The Ataris were the kings of the genre, no one wrote more heartfelt or moving songs than Kris Roe and he hadn’t done all the things to piss fans off back when End Is Forever was the brand new album out. Much emulated and never surpassed. The kings of emo even got played at my wedding!

A long time ago there was this skinny tattooed guy with a guitar who wrote these crushingly emotional songs about life and love (mostly love). I then broke up with this girl and wouldn’t you believe every word he sang was exactly how I felt and I decided in my deepest subconscious that playing heartfelt shit on an acoustic guitar was as cool as it would ever get. Time would move him more and more into pop obscurity but I still hold Places That You’ve Come To Fear The Most as one of the greatest pieces of music to happen to the world.

I’ve tried to keep what I consider the “big six” out of this list since it goes without saying that I’m influenced by them (Rancid, NOFX, Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Offspring, Greenday) but Bad Religion get a special mention since I literally have a song called Bad Religion which is a tribute to them. I would say they peaked in 2001 and never quite made another album that topped Process of Belief though, so I guess I like old school Bad Religion which I think is true of most.

9. Captain Everything

I was in a CD warehouse in Watford buying an Ataris album and an MXPX album and this guy says to me “you should check out this band they’re like an English mix of the Ataris and MXPX”. Given the albums I was holding I didn’t think he was telling the truth but it turns out he was and they became a huge band for me being that they were part of only a select few UK bands playing skate punk at the time and they became the standard to which I held all others. Bands like Caffeine and 4ft Fingers and even the mighty Capdown all had to pass the “are they better that Captain Everything” check and few have made it through.

One of the first major gigs I ever went to was Blink-182 at the Electric Ballroom in 1999. They were fucking awful, out of tune with each other and spent about three quarters of the show talking about each others buttholes. To a teenage me that was perfection in a bottle. I loved Blink like nothing I’ve loved before or since, so hard right up until they decided to stop smiling in music videos. I have ear plugs because Blink did, I talk shit on stage because Blink did, I play Dammit in my solo shows because Blink did, I wear three quarter length shorts and skate because Blink did. I owe basically my whole personality to them.

RxR have a demo here: