“That album has the song ‘I Can See for Miles,’ which really put the hooks in me. The Who Sell Out is still weird now! Nobody does anything that cool today. It’s great and goes all over the map, musically speaking.
“My Aim Is True was a huge influence on our first record. We all really love rhythm and blues and the immediacy of it—that sort of ballsy thing—but I also really love melodies; I’m a huge fan of Scott Walker and all those big-sounding Sixties records with beautiful melodies. Costello seemed to just get it right in the middle.”
“My dad turned me on to all the metal I listened to when I was younger. We’d listen to a lot of Randy Rhoads and Ozzy Osbourne. But when he played Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell for me, that was what really made me want to play metal and be in a band. That Pantera record changed everything for me.
I remember sitting in the living room of our little house in Boise, Idaho, for hours and hours, learning every song on the Black Album with the help of the Rhythm Bandit, which allowed me to hear the guitar parts better.
“Before that, I played guitar a little bit, but it was mostly about playing drop-D power chords. Nothing serious. But the possibilities of what music could be expanded so much after I heard Scenes from a Memory. It was a mind fuck. I stopped playing drums and took guitar seriously. I sat down and learned as much of the solos and riffs on that album as I could. That’s how I started developing my chops.
“I was 19 and attending [The University of California] Santa Barbara when Bringing It All Back Home came out. I was taking a lot of acid in those days, and everything Dylan said just really connected with me. There are a lot of great songs on that album—‘Maggie’s Farm,’ ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.’ ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ is one of my favorites.
“Surfing with the Alien made it apparent to me early on that you didn’t even have to have a vocalist to create an incredible and enjoyable album. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be the player I am now, or probably even be a musician at all, without this album being available to me when it was."
"I had these older brothers and sisters, and we would have these huge parties when my parents were out of town. We’d have kegs and hundreds of people there. So this guy brought the first Montrose record out and put it on. When I heard 'Rock the Nation' into 'Bad Motor Scooter,' I was like, ‘Oh, my god. I love this!’ It was so powerful."
"I was floored by Moon Madness and especially by Andy Latimer’s guitar playing. It was just what I’d been looking for—finally, someone to copy! I had always leaned toward hard-rock players like Blackmore, but this was something new. It was so heartfelt and emotional, and every note felt like it served a purpose."
"...Later, when I was about 11 and had started playing music, my friend came over one day after school and said, ‘Mike, we’re gonna be punks now.’ And I was like, ‘Okay! What’s that?’ He showed me a magazine with a picture of the Sex Pistols and played me their first album, Never Mind the Bollocks, on cassette tape. I loved it! And we started a band that day.”