Life-changing rock albums - musical mind blasts
Today, our vocalist and guitarist Xavi shares the 10 albums which wielded the hugest influence on his life and musical development. They are listed here in chronological order, not in order of importance - all of them hold a very special place in my heart!
The Small Faces - Ogdens Nut Gone Flake (1968)
Steve Marriott was the first singer who really blew my mind and heavily influenced my singing. I love most Small Faces stuff, but Ogdens was special to us because there was a Top of the Pops video which featured the Small Faces and Stanley Unwin performing the entire "Happiness Stan"-concept-side of the record. These were the days before the internet, so seeing your 60s stars move and perform in color was, in Stanley Unwin's words, "an enormous mind blast". We actually covered "Rollin' Over" with our pre-Black Lürxx band Speed, and "Mad John" is sing-song staple! Definitely an album worth checking out if you don't know it!
The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (1969)
I really could have picked any Stones album released between Beggar's Banquet (1968) and Goat's Head Soup (1973). The sound and the lifestyle (I confess to wearing a spoon on a string around my neck...) were just extremely appealing to 15-year-old me! The heavy groove and simple licks of this Stones-era majorly influence my guitar-playing to this day. And Mick's in-character singing/performing is a huge inspiration as well. This entire album is an absolute gem, the opening track "Gimme Shelter" (incredible vocal performance by Merry Clayton!!) and "Monkey Man" are probably my favourites right now.
Humble Pie - Smokin' (1972)
Smokin' brought a more funky, sleazy vibe into my musical taste. I checked it out because the Pie were Steve Marriott's band after the Small Faces, and boy - he does not disappoint on this album. I remember being really excited about the raw energy this record oozes. I remember lying on the floor, engulfed by the sounds, and letting myself be transported to some nitty-gritty back alley in New Orleans... Yeah, man, that was the shit! This is an album that needs to be listened to as an album, but if you just wanna get an idea of the vibe, check out "30 Days In The Hole"!
Aerosmith - Toys In The Attic (1975)
As with the Stones, I could have picked any Aerosmith album released between their debut in 1973 and Rocks (1976). Steven Tylers unusual vocal style really resonates with me and the way his vocals lock in with Joe Perry's guitar is definitely an influence on our songwriting, as is the heavy grooviness of these records. It was always our dream to do a cool Aerosmith cover - we finally achieved it on Music for the Planet with "Nobody's Fault"!
Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks (1977)
Wow - still not out of the 70s! The fact that this album was released in the year of my birth has always pleased me. I just love the energy of this record. One of the most epic opening lines ever must be in "Anarchy in the U.K."! I remember winning two tickets to their 1996 reunion tour by winning a karaoke-contest at the Whisky with my spot-on Johnny Rotten impersonation on that song! Punk influences every aspect of our life and even though it's now not as huge a part of our music anymore, our approach to live shows, for example, is extremely defined by punk: high energy and definitely invite some chaos!
Mötley Crüe - Shout At The Devil (1983)
This album is strongly connected to memories of Hollywood! "Danger" was one of the songs which we listened to over and over on our way to Hollywood... I love the intensity and I always felt that it's an album that makes you feel strong and ready to kick ass. This record is somehow intimate and bad ass at the same time - my favourites besides the afore mentioned "Danger" are probably "Red Hot" and the title track.
Guns'n'Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Without a doubt one of the watershed albums in my life. I remember having gotten a mix tape from a classmate (omg that is SO 90s!) and I had it on the walkman (...). I was standing at a traffic light and "Mr.Brownstone" came on and it fucking blew my mind!!! I had never heard anything like it! That scratchy guitar intro was just the baddest thing I'd ever heard and I fuckin' LOVED IT! There and then I was sold on Izzy Stradlin. And by and by Guns became our go-to band and were - together with Nikki Sixx - the sole inspiration for us to set sails for Hollywood. So, yeah, INCREDIBLE album and a massive, MASSIVE impact on our lives! And I don't care how often I've heard it - Slash's guitar in "Sweet Child O'Mine" is among the most beautiful things ever!
Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
Yeah, I know, not very individual - any rock fan who was a teenager in 1991 probably had that exact same WHAT THE FUCK?! moment when they first saw "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on MTV... For me, it was pretty special to dig a current band (Guns had been the closest hit, but Stevie was out and Izzy had all but left by the time I got into them, so I wasn't really that excited about their current incarnation). For the first time, I felt like I shared something with a lot of my peers. Generation X. The whole thing. I loved the anguish, the rawness, just great music to be frustrated by! And if you were really cool, you knew how often Kurt screams "a denial" in the end and would neither stop too early nor blurt into the silence! Kurt Cobain's arty approach to lyricism and his unconform way of singing definitely had somewhat of an influence on our work as well, although we interestingly never ever considered being a grunge band.
Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds (1992)
With Izzy surely being the single most important influence on my guitar playing, his first solo album needed to be on here! Bought it when it came out and I would guess that it's probably the album I've listened to most in my life. Or at least one of them. This is also because it was the only CD in my car for a long time! I probably listened to this record more often than Izzy's mom! It has a great groovy vibe and a great album sound (we told our sound engineer to listen to it to get an idea what we want!), check out "Somebody Knocking" or "Shuffle It All" with the great Ian McLagan (of the Small Faces) on Hammond organ, a song I absolutely identify with so much! "Pack up your life again! Shuffle it All! It's a long and winding road, I sure enjoy the view..." Welcome to my life!
Obrint Pas - Benvinguts Al Paradis (2007)
Another absolute life changer... I bought this album randomly through a punk catalogue in 2007 because it said it was in Catalan and I didn't know that language and thought it would be interesting to hear... 5 years later I was fluent and moving to Catalunya, involved in the independence movement and part of the castellers... Obrint Pas are the band I saw live most often - about six times. I credit them with being part of a huge positive change in my life - my escape (cos that's what it was!) to Catalunya started a journey of self-finding and self-care and I've grown a lot as person through my years there. Seems adequate that it was music once again that set me on my way... My favourite track on this album is "Viure" (= to live).