The first music I ever really loved was this band. It won't win me many cool points, but I don't care. My Dad always hated them and dismissed them as a 'Scottish U2' - what an insult! U2 never had hooks like 'Every River' or 'Dance Called America'. The first live band I ever saw too.
I was introduced to Billy Bragg by my Dad when I was 10, he'd taped a live recording off the radio. Billy Bragg hasn't written a good song since about 1991 IMO, but his classics still sound as strong as ever and he is quite rightly looked up to by most bands across our scene.
Another singer I have loved since I was a child. I remember once watching a Sam Cooke documentary where they were interviewing his brother and playing 'A Change Is Gonna Come' and his brother said "now isn't that the greatest voice there ever was?" - I simply thought "yes".
Third Eye Blind
Third Eye Blind's self-titled album often makes top ten lists for people in my music world, it's easy to see why. Outside of being full of radio hits, some of Stephan Jenkins's lyrics are amazing and surprisingly dark.
I heard 'What's My Age Again?' in the summer of '99 and was blown away - I didn't know music like this existed. I'd heard similar bands in the years prior to this, Green Day and Offspring for example, but they never did it for me. I found those bands boring and uninspiring. I bought 'Enema Of The State' and loved every song on it, that had never happened before. I remember being at school and wanting to go home just so I could listen to it.
I still listen to 'August And Everything After' all the time, I love Adam Duritz's voice, his melodies and his lyrics.
I have to thank Blink-182 for this one, it's because I got into them in 1999 that I discovered my favourite band of all time the following year. MxPx are the greatest band in this genre comfortably. They went from being one of numerous NOFX impersonators to become trendsetters. The mainstream press still ignores them, but they continue to be loved by those familiar with them in our world. After 26 years together, they're still making awesome music.
First heard them on Napster when they had their first single ‘Little Things’. Saw them at the Barfly a couple of years later. If you ask anyone I know, they’ll tell you how much I love the Maddens. There’s a huge surge in their popularity right now but I still feel like they’re very underrated.
Lucinda Williams is an amazing Americana/folk singer and songwriter. I love this kind of music and she is probably one of the best at it.
I’m ashamed to say that I came to Social Distortion late, probably around the age of 23. But I’ve still had well over a decade to get to know their music properly (I even have their logo tattooed). It’s Mike Ness, I don’t think I need to say any more!
Chris plays guitar in Fintan Stack. Check them out on Bandcamp here and like them on Facebook here.