Thursday, 22 October 2015

Top Tens: Simon Gustafsson from Moment 22's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

My name is Simon Gustafsson, and I play bass and sing in a skate punk band called MOMENT 22 together with my hairy family consisting of guitarists Kujtim Bahtiri and Alec Ferrara and drummer Love Behrndtz. I was asked to put down a top 10 list of bands that inspired me and my band over the years. There are so many bands that mean a lot to us, but these are ten of the most important ones.


In like 2008 we all went to see Reel Big Fish in Malmö, Sweden, and by then we hadn't ever heard of the support band "Streetlight something". Anyone who is familiar with the experience of seeing these guys live might know that we got blown away in a second. The countless hours we've spent listening to the "Somewhere in the Between" album somehow makes me sad that we don't have a brass section. But that kind of energy delivered by Streetlight Manifesto, that is something that can inspire the hell out of anyone in any genre.

9: SUM 41 
This is as high school as it gets. Sum 41 is one of the bands that made us notice the beauty in catchy four-chord songs, and that it's all okay to shred a heavy metal solo once in a while. "Does This Look Infected?", "Chuck" and "All Killer No Filler" are all parts of the soundtrack to our youth and the beginning of our friendships, and that Deryck Whibley sure knows how to write great choruses.

Lyrics, lyrics, lyrics. I speak mostly for myself in this influence. As a huge fan of the real Slim Shady I've taken a whole lot of inspiration from his kind of rhyming and by creating genuine and genius lyrics. And, I'll always cherish every memory of Love and myself, drunk out of our asses, competing who was able to drop "Lose Yourself" or "Without Me" word by word. No one was ever as impressed by this as we wanted people to be.

After listening to a whole lot of punk rock and pop punk over the years, sometimes it feels like you've heard it all. And, along came the Flatliners. This was really exciting to hear, and still is, and it felt to me like this is the new kind of vintage sounding punkness. "Cavalcade" is an album that opened a lot of doors for us and our songwriting, and helped break a lot of barriers that I really hadn't thought of as there. Also one of my favourite bands to see perform.

Millencolin, and specifically the "Pennybridge Pioneers" album, always inspired me a lot. I would like to think that it is pretty obvious in our own kind of melodies. Nikola inspires me a lot as a singer, and I'm always finding myself really trying to have that specific tone. And, of anyone, these guys makes you fucking proud of being from Sweden.

For those not familiar with Skumdum, they're a punk rock band from Skelläfteå in Northern Sweden. Kujtim, Alec and myself caught 'em on tour in like 2005, and they will always have a special place in the heart and soul of Moment 22. If you haven't checked them out, make sure you do. Really melodic, raw and punchy, just as I like it. And, it always feels inspiring for me seeing a guy like their Pierre Klingstedt or Nikola from Millencolin being a lead singing bass player.

Tim fucking Armstrong. The man who can write the most simple, half-assed lyrics and still make it pure magic. Tim and Rancid are not just inspiring as a band with brilliant music and wonderful albums, but also as punk rock guys not giving a shit what or who is punk or who isn't. This makes a lot for the whole scene. So what if it's punk, pop, rock or whatever. Rancid doesn't care, and you shouldn't either. Good music is good music. And that Matt Freeman tho'. Greatest bassist ever.

Kujtim and Love has always been huge Foo Fighters fans, always jamming on Everlong or My Hero on every fucking party they could find a guitar. Myself, on the other hand, didn't get into them at all until just recently. I watched ther HBO series, bought a couple of albums and went to a show. Yes, THAT show! The one where Mr. Grohl broke his leg. All I can say is, I get it now. We love the Foo Fighters, and Dave seems to be one of the coolest guys in the business.

2: BLINK-182 
This is another band that we got into in high school, showing that pretty much any idiot in the world can play pop-punk, and that it is beautiful. A couple of friends sharing the stage singing catchy tunes about teenage years and oral sex, in between their poo-poo-pee-pee banter. A concept I swallowed whole, and I'm pretty sure that Blink always will remain one of my favourite bands. It may be all bubble gummy, but hell, I'm feeling this

1: NOFX 
When asked what is the main influence of Moment 22, we'd all say NOFX. Simple as that. Every song is brilliantly straight forward, and still, after 30 years as a band, they're killing it. They're always finding ways to sound fresh, without even changing a whole lot. Mike is my favourite lyricist ever by far, and I'm always so impressed whether he's writing political stuff, doing simple story telling or being a simple pain in the ass to his chosen victims. Always a pleasure to see the old turds playing shows, and business wise I'll always cherish their way of making the Fat Wreck empire flourish.


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