My uncle inspired me to play guitar, but this band made me want to start a band of my own. Really, I think it was the theatrics of Kiss that caught my attention more so than the music. My young self would frequently day-dream of being Ace Frehley playing guitar solos on stage. When I started middle school, I convinced my parents to buy me tickets for their concert.
This band was my gateway into punk music. I was a little too young to appreciate Green Day when Dookie came out, and still didn't have the attention span to explore more than the radio hits when Blink dropped Enema. When Sum 41 released All Killer No Filler I was hooked and listened to that record almost constantly front to back. I use to skateboard with my friends and have that album going. From there I started to dive deeper into punk music.
The Loved Ones
Dave Hause is one of my favorite songwriters. When I discovered The Loved Ones, I was hooked. Everything from the lyrics to the guitar riffs are weighted in meaning. Plus they're one of those pop punk bands that's not overly produced which makes them standout in a world of overproduction.
The Suicide Machines
I have to throw love to The Suicide Machines. I was really into punk/ska music in high school, and while they weren't my gateway into the scene they sure provided the soundtrack to many nights. With them being from our hometown of Detroit, it made it even more inspiring to see them out there touring and making records. Their shows are always packed and so much fun.
I feel like Against Me! is one of those bands that everyone can agree on. The first track I heard was "You Look Like I Need A Drink" from a Fat Wreck E-Card that a friend sent me. I had never heard a band like them before and remember being blown away by the intensity. The music is just raw and honest, and would inspire anyone pick up a guitar and write a song of their own.
I remember I first saw The Flatliners around 2005 after they released Destroy to Create. I was in a band at the time that was opening for them at a VFW Hall – I was immediately hooked. Such tenacity, such energy. I picked up that record and it most definitely honed how I wanted to play, both as a member of a band and a drummer, if that makes sense? It’s been amazing being able to hear their progression through the years, resulting in their best record and one of my favorite records of all time, Cavalcade. Even though they've outgrown their older sound and I miss it, I'm really optimistic for their career to continue. The drumming of Paul Ramirez alone is enough to make this band #1 on my list.
Less Than Jake
These guys were my first favorite band. I forget who it was exactly that gave me the record Losing Streak, but god damn, the first song alone was enough for me. Just poppy, catchy, energetic – I had to have more. I literally became obsessed with knowing everything about the band – collecting every record, knowing what the lyrics all meant, their Pez obsession, etc. I remember seeing them for the first time in early 2006 and every single expectation I had was met and exceeded. Years later, I've been able to share the stage with them numerous times and put out records on their labels. Safe to say my younger self would be quite pleased with my older self.
Say what you will about ND, but they changed the game when it came to mainstream rock. When Tragic Kingdom came out and dominated the charts, it was a surprise to some people, I'm sure. This came out when I was pretty young, but I managed to hear it and get a copy – it really just hit all the notes I wanted to hear and some I didn't even know I wanted, but loved anyway. It definitely had something to do with my initial love of ska, before I even know what that was.
The Suicide Machines
"But Dan, Don't you play in a band with Jay?" Yes, this is true. That really doesn't stop TSM from being one of my all time favorite bands. I feel TSM had an interesting evolution in their sound and presence throughout their career, which really just means they have something for everyone. Do you like fast, poppy ska punk? Go ahead and give Destruction By Definition a spin. Harder punk? Battle Hymns. Political punk? War Profiteering. It's really been great to share the stage with these guys so often and just lends to how much of an inspiration they've been. I remember first getting my hands on Destruction By Definition in High School and was just blown away that there was a band (from Detroit, no less) that hit every mark for what I wanted to hear at that time. Since then, they've been in the regular rotation.
I feel like this doesn't really need a huge explanation. For a band to hit the mainstream with such an important album as Dookie and then remain relevant and popular to this day is certainly saying a lot. I first heard Dookie from my older brother who bought it – it took a few years for me to actually understand how amazing this record was and then that just led me to their subsequent albums which I still have on regular rotation. It really doesn't get more classic than that album. Their most recent years of music aren't exactly my favorite, but it's just very impressive they're still able to pull it after all these years.
Stream and download Reuther's new album Like A Ghost here, like them here and check out our review of the album here.