No other band has come close to the emotional impact that Jason and co has had on me. If there was a voice speaking on my behalf for how I feel transitioning from my late 20s to early 30s, Iron Chic took every word out of my mouth. Flawless live, perfect records and a mastery of expression I’d be lucky to come even within a mile of. I don’t fist the air front stage very often, but Iron Chic never fails to get me acting the fool. Also Lubrano totally did artwork for us; now if only he would fucking give us a god damn support slot.
Polar Bear Club
When talking razor sharp vocals and intricacy of music arrangement, PBC delivers gold. Jimmy destroys the room with his soundwaves. It saddens me to be reminded of the apparently permanent damage that his vocals have sustained, and the now 3rd year of inactivity from one of my all-time favourite punk bands. But their legacy continues to ensure that I keep looking for unusual hooks and melodies when writing (poorly) new songs. Fun fact, I have two tattoos and one of them is PBC related. I don’t give away my body real estate for nothing you know.
My high school years were full of 90s Fat Wreck and Epitaph bands. But one that had a major impact on how I viewed punk was Anti Flag. Maybe it didn’t make me an activist, but it sure as hell taught me to question everything in society and politics. Having already chosen bass as my tool, Anti Flag became a bit of a blue print for my take on rhythm in the early days too. Their latest return into the spotlight shows they haven’t slowed down on their activism one bit.
I can’t stress enough how much Nirvana changed my life. Before listening to Bleach I was just another sucker at Virgin Megastores buying whatever passed in those days for music. I was late to the party as Kurt already succumbed to the horrors of depression and suicide. But that didn’t stop me from absorbing every single track they ever made. Enough has been said about the band’s brilliance, their awareness of social issues and ridicule of the rock star culture but, I'll say it again, they changed the music game when it was being suffocated by out of touch labels. On a personal level Kurt was everything I wanted to be as a performer. The charisma, sincerity and that unique weirdness was so magnetic. It actually made me read a biography about Kurt, and I didn’t read much those days.
One of the latest bands that have had a major impact on me is Philadelphia’s own Timeshares. Criminally underrated, with nowhere near the support and exposure they deserve. They hold the prestigious title of being my Danking anthem. When I chill and spark, I get Bearable going. The music is bliss and I would kill to come up with a record as solid as that. Their melodies have been creeping into my band’s music and we are a step away from being copy cats. Also their attitude as a band behind the scene is immaculate. Everybody wants to be like MIKE (Lowery).
Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that LB were one of the icons of my generation (X). Despite being caught up in the bullshit years of MTV’s decline as a credible music channel, they avoided becoming a reality TV show (remember the whole Britney Spears thing?). The whole I don’t give a fuck attitude rubbed off on me as I grew up and fortified my self-esteem. Though my version is probably more chilled and friendly, I still will give you a fat lip if you give me unwarranted shit.
Growing up in early 90s Russia was no day in Gorky Park. Prior to the fall of communism, choice of music consisted of national artists and carefully selected apolitical foreign acts. In other words, boring as Borsht without sour cream. But once the flood gates of western cultural enrichment were open, Russia and its youth would never be the same. I might have been only 10 when I first heard Prodigy but a switch was hit for a life time. Maybe you wouldn’t call them punk, but to Russian kids this was as anti-establishment as it got. If you ever seen me dance, it’s pretty safe to say it all started with Prodigy. And yeah I do own the dance floor, BRING IT!
I know, I know, what the hell does this have to do with Punk? But Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou is the rebel I idolised as a kid. His evolution as an artist and person fascinated me. He stood up to a major label when his creativity was stifled. He instilled sexual freedom in the minds of millions of fans. Self-determination and rejection of norms were the legacy I took away for the rest of my life. My karaoke selection always has at least 5 George Michael songs that I butcher.
Early works by Beck were pretty punk. “Loser” kicked off my path to self-deprecation, cynicism, apathy and nihilism. Luckily I managed to extract only the positives from those attributes. Mellow Gold was one giant plunge into a simulation of depression. As a brooding teenager it got me through the bullshit of puberty and growing up. Later years of Beck were far more funky, fun and experimental, coincidently reflecting the happier and more positive periods of my life. But I’d choose the darkness every time. Also Beck is the only vocalist whose range fits me perfectly, meaning I can enjoy singing his songs without breaking a sweat. That is if I can remember the random lyrics he always produced.
Again sorry, not really punk, BUT this is my all time favourite band. And I religiously make a point of spreading the word of this French duo. With a dominating catalogue of hard rock and fast punk, I always slow things down with Air’s musical genius. Air inspires me to think outside the box when trying to create a sound. Creativity titans and master musicians are insults when describing them. Electro Lounge Synth Romantics is the closest I can come to labelling their sound, but do yourself a favour, listen to Pocket Symphony and Moon Safari, then judge for yourself. One thing for sure is that their music reaches me on a spiritual level, especially after a hit of Ket.
Tone plays bass in The Burnt Tapes. Like them here: https://www.facebook.com/burnt.tapes/
Listen to their music here: https://burnttapes.bandcamp.com/