Thursday, 26 October 2017

Top Tens: Justin from Kid You Not's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

Hot Water Music
We’ll start off with our own Florida heroes. Growing up in Jacksonville, not far from Gainesville, I heard a lot about and from this band in the early days. We had a really good local scene at the time, but it was mostly pop-punk bands. When I first heard this, it was a breath of fresh air. It was new, it was exciting, and I wanted to dive more into this specific world of punk rock – a world I didn’t know existed outside of the classics like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, and the popular punk at the time like NOFX, Pennywise, Greenday, etc. My favorite record of theirs to this day is “A Flight and A Crash”. That album was the game changer for me; when I heard that opening guitar riff and urgent vocals, all I could think of was holy shit – these guys are the real deal, who were only getting better with each album. They were already a huge part of the Florida scene, but I knew that album was the next step up.

All I can say is Everything Sucks. By the time I got around to the Descendents, they were already a punk-household name. I never paid much attention to them aside from a song here and there I’d hear from some friend’s burned compilation CD. I loved my raw oldschool punk rock, but they were a little too raw for me at the time (as far as recording quality). But then I heard all the excitement and hype of this new album of this long-awaited new album, their reunion record. Everyone else’s excitement peeked my interest so I grabbed the album when it came out. Damn! This was not the same band I remembered. Now, I go back in their catalog and know that it was always the same band, but “Everything Sucks” had that extra polish to it that I gave it my full attention.

Jimmy Eat World
This is a band that will always be a favorite. Back in the mid-late 90s, Deep Elm Records (who happen to now be the label we are signed to – talk about coming full circle in life!) put out these compilation albums called “The Emo Diaries”. I was big into comps at the time, as it was the perfect way to discover new bands pre-internet. I remember them being great, but I didn’t pay much attention to them outside of that comp. Fast forward a couple years, and I was just starting high school. I started hanging out with a new group of friends, and was discovering new bands in the scene they were a part of. “Clarity” came out, and that’s all they talked about. I remembered the bands, but also don’t remember being completely blown away. After a while, one of those friends finally burned me a copy of this new album. And that is when my world changed. Everything about “Clarity” is just so beautifully done. This was the one album that I myself continued to pass along – burning copies, telling people they needed to hear this.

This is another band I was first introduced to from that same “Emo Diaries” comp as Jimmy Eat World. I remember thinking they were really great as well. However, that’s where I stopped with them as well. While buying all these comps to find new bands was great, it always left me wanting more. I was too young for a job, so once I found those bands I enjoyed, I couldn’t just go out and buy their albums. And there was no internet at the time like today, so you didn’t have the ability to go find more from these bands. So we would just wear these comps out to death. Just like Jimmy, fast forward a couple years to high school. Samiam puts out a new album called “Astray”. Again, friends share a copy. And I’m hooked. I didn’t know at the time about their short stint on a major label, and I’m sure they never got regional radio airplay where I was. So it was a surprise when I first really started listening to them, hearing all these elements of this emo movement, but they had the grit and polish of something I could hear on the radio.

Jawbreaker, I’m ashamed to say, is one that I really came late to. They were a band I always heard about, but for some reason ignored. My first introduction to them was “Dear You”. I have no excuses as to why I didn’t bother listening to them before that, but I wish I had been one of the cool kids. I know there’s always a lot debate as to which was better – pre-Dear You or after. For me, that album is my favorite. Maybe it’s because I didn’t listen before that and develop that love for them. But I do prefer the vocals on that album.

Face To Face
An all-time great right here. “Don’t Turn Away” was my first by them, and remains my favorite. As a bass player, I really love listening to the bass runs on this album. In the 90s, this was everything I loved about punk rock. It’s just a solid record start to finish. Kid You Not played our first show opening for them, and that moment will stick with me forever.

Less Than Jake
This was another band that I knew about early on because of how close I grew up to Gainesville. While they played the area often, I didn’t pay much attention to them until “Losing Streak” was first released. I remember first hearing that record, and knew there was something special there. It was different than anything I had heard at that time. It’s was punk, but it wasn’t fully. It was ska, but not really. You could just hear so many different things in what they were doing. They didn’t fit perfectly into any box. There was this energy about them, about that album, that to this day still resonates with me. I also always loved how grounded they were in their local scene, evident by the stories in their songs. I can admit that when "Losing Streak" and then "Hello Rockview" came out, I was borderline obsessed with Less Than Jake. This is one band that will forever be at the top of my list no matter when in life you ask me.

I love me some Motorhead. When I was in Jr. High and Highschool, I was listening to lot of different things. While I loved my punk rock, I also loved metal. Motorhead were this amazing blend of punk, metal, and rock ‘n roll. They were at the center of the crossroads that connected them all. I don’t know I know of a band that has more been embraced by both the punk and metal communities. I grew up hearing the normal singles that everyone does, such as Ace of Spades and Eat the Rich. I remember Lemmy in the movie Airheads, and understood the jokes about him being God. But it wasn’t until my teenage years that I really decided I wanted to dive into the catalog of this legendary band I always knew about. The first album I decided to pick up was “Bastards”. As with many on this list, that first album has become my favorite. Although, most Motorhead album don’t sound all that different than each other; they knew what they were good at, and that’s what they did. I remember listening to “Bastards” and loving it from the start. But towards the middle of that record, when I first heard Born To Raise Hell – that was my “oh fuck!” moment. That’s where I got hooked. That’s where I decided I needed to dig deeper into the Motorhead catalog, one that would make me a lifelong fan.

I’ve never listed to a ton of the 90s-style skate punk. But Millencolin have been one of my favorites from day one. The first album I picked up of theirs was “For Monkeys”. Here was this Epitaph skate punk band, but they also had more melodies. I also felt they were poppier than everything else I had heard on the Punk-O-Rama comp (where I first heard them). But on top of all that, they also just had some killer guitars. They are also one of the few bands I feel have just gotten better with every album. While they don’t release albums all too often, they have consistently grown and sounded better each time they do.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
While this is the least punk band on this list, there’s no denying that Nick Cave is fucking punk. I never really got into his older band The Birthday Party, but I love every single thing he’s done with the Bad Seeds. Again, growing up mostly in the mid-90s, one of my favorite movies was Scream. This is where I first took notice. Nick Cave was another name I had heard for a long time from others, but never paid attention to. Then I saw Scream (as well as picked up the soundtrack), and Red Right Hand just stood out. It was dark, haunting, and suave, and badass all in one. I love just listening to the stories he tells, and getting lost in all the amazing musical arrangements of his albums. Cave’s style has certainly changed and developed over the years on various records, but when you’re listening to one there’s no denying his signature voice and lyrical themes. It’s really hard for me to pin down an album as a favorite, as there are so many at the top. The first one I bought to dive into was “Murder Ballads”. I think “Push the Sky Away” is his most accomplished and rounded out album. There’s so much beauty in the instrumentation on that album as compared to the darker tones that contrast previous albums.

Kid You Not are playing The Fest. Catch them at Durty Nelly's on Sunday 29th October at 4.40pm.

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