Back-A-Round Records Mix Tape Vol. 1


Hellos and welcome to my little world of musical influences.  This is a (mostly) chronological compilation of music that has really stood out to me.  I’ve arranged them in the order that they were introduced to me throughout my life.  I’ve always been a strong fan of whole albums, so some songs were hard to pick because I had to find one song to represent a whole album.  I’ll try to leave a little note with each song so you know how each one is important and how it might have permanently informed my personal musical tastes.

1.         Metallica  “Blackened” from “And Justice for All” (intro only)

I got a dubbed tape of this (minus Dyer’s Eve due to it being on a 60 minute tape) from a fellow drummer that I met when I got to Jr. High.  I wore this tape out; it was one of my first exposures to heavier music. I’m sure you’ve already heard this though.

2.        Chicago Transit Authority  “Introduction” from “Chicago Transit Authority”

I wish I could put more Chicago on here, they’re probably my biggest and most important influence.  I began listening to my Dad’s records as a young boy and fell in love with them.  It was my introduction to odd time signatures, fantastic and complex horn arrangements, great writing and great melodies.

3.        Sugarloaf  “Green Eyed Lady” from “Sugarloaf”

This song was on a 45 record that belonged to my Mom.  I had a Fischer-Price record player and I would love listening to this song.

4.        Nik Kershaw  “Wouldn’t it be Good” from “Human Racing”

The local TV station had a little music video show half-way through the day and they always played this.  Nik is a huge thing over in Europe but not so much over here.  Good thing somebody was paying attention.

5.        Genesis  “It’s Gonna Get Better” from “Genesis”

Another HUGE influence on me is Genesis…I can’t say enough.  Tony Banks: amazing keyboardist and a master of textures.  Mike Rutherford: plays guitar in ways no-one else does.  Phil Collins: amazing drummer and writer.  Put them all together: just good stuff.

6.        Genesis  “Back in NYC” from “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”

My Dad bought this for me on tape and I didn’t get it.  I didn’t know Peter Gabriel sang for them.  I listened to it a few times and then forgot about it.  Years later, when I was in the Air Force, I started listening to it again and realized the Genius.  Get this album NOW.

7.        DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince  “Pump up the Bass” from “He’s the DJ…I’m the Rapper”

I had to sell Pizzas door to door for a band booster thing.  In exchange for selling a certain number, you got prizes.  My prize one year was to pick two tapes.  One was Tom Petty Full Moon Fever and the other was this tape.  I wore this tape out; it was a simple rural Ohio boy’s first exposure to Hip-Hop or Rap.  I loved Jeff’s record-scratching.

8.        Rush “Vital Signs” from “Moving Pictures”

The same kid who introduced me to Metallica also introduced me to Rush.  Moving Pictures was their masterpiece.  This song, interestingly enough, shows Neil Peart being influenced by Stewart Copeland of The Police and has Rush toying around with Reggae.

9.        Primus “Here Come the Bastards” from “Sailing the Seas of Cheese”

Another friend in High School introduced me to Primus.  Whoa!  So different!  Lead bass!  Pork Soda was the first thing I listened to but then Seas of Cheese is just amazing!

10.      Monks of Doom  “Miracle Mile” from “Meridian”

This band was mentioned to me by a close friend during High School, a brother of a friend mentioned it to him.  One day in Best Buy, I found one of their tapes, so I bought it.  Wow, it changed my life!  One of my top 5 favorite bands.  Too bad they never had any major success.

11.       Camper Van Beethoven  “My Path Belated” from “Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart”

The Monks of Doom was a side project for the guys in CVB, minus CVB’s frontman, plus another guitarist.  Go out and buy ‘Our Beloved’ and ‘Key Lime Pie’ right now. 

12.      Temple of the Dog  “Your Savior” from “Temple of the Dog”

God, I loved Soundgarden and Pearl Jam and all the Seattle stuff that hit in the early 90s.  I tried to pick one song to represent all that and this is what I came up with.  Good song, eh?

13.      Yes  “Sweet Dreams” from “Time and a Word”

I went through a prog-rock phase in the Air Force and couldn’t get enough of Yes.  Especially the albums ‘Fragile’, ‘The Yes Album’ and ‘Close to the Edge’.  Bill Bruford is one of my favorite drummers.  But then songs from those albums tend to be 8 minutes, so here’s a tasty little pop attempt from their 2nd album.

14.      Weather Report  “Teen Town” from “Heavy Weather”

Modern Drummer Magazine published an issue where they picked the top 25 greatest drumming albums of all time and this was on it for Alex Acuna’s work, so I went out and bought it.  But it’s Jaco Pastorius’ bass playing that blew my mind.

15.      Talking Heads  “Born Under Punches” from “Remain in Light”

These guys taught me that it’s really OK to be artsy and make noises that no-one ever tried to make.  But then let’s also make it something that you can dance to at the same time!

16.      The Beatles  “Martha my Dear” from “The White Album”

I never really liked the White Album but then I finally bought my own copy of it and realized that this gem was on it.  Paul is a brilliant force when it comes to writing fun melodies over top of fun compositions.  This is probably as close as perfect as you can get for pop music.  (A song he wrote for his dog)

17.      Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention  “Sofa #2” from “One Size Fits All”

Zappa is my #1 musical hero.  I own almost all of his albums.  My Zappa collection smells of rich mahogany.  Again, I had to find one song to represent this and this is what I came up with.  Go out and buy ‘One Size Fits All’ right now. 

18.      Gary Wilson  “You Keep on Looking” from “You Think You Really Know Me”

This is the guy that Beck name drops in his song “Where it’s at”.  Gary teaches us all that it’s ok to be as weird as you want to be.

19.      CKY  “Lost in a Contraption” from “CKY Volume I”

These guys and their DIY work ethic inspired me to make my first album.  They came to Fayetteville, NC and performed at the Skate Zone in 2001 or 2002 and I had a chance to talk to Jess Margera.  I found out that we shared an interest in Bill Bruford’s drumming and he recommended that I check out King Crimson’s “Red” album.  I did and you should too.

20.     Frank Black  “Tossed” from “Frank Black”

I had a friend in the Air Force and he had a lot of Pixies and Frank Black in his collection.  It rubbed off on me.  I think I borrow a lot from (Charles Thompson) in that he likes to turn 4’s into 3’s or 5’s or 6’s and catches you by surprise with arrangements.

21.      Ween  “Ocean Man” from “The Mollusk”

I think I borrow a lot from these guys because of the humor element; that tongue-in-cheek element.  They have a large variety of styles from song to song too, which I tend to borrow from.

22.     The Clash “Inoculated City” from “Combat Rock”

This was the first Clash album that I ever owned and maybe one of my favorites although I really love London Calling and Sandanista too.  Again, I just needed a song to represent ‘The Clash’ and this one is fitting.  I like how they were not afraid to progress musically past punk into other territories and you’ll see exactly how far they strayed with Sandanista.

23.     Deerhoof  “Giga Dance” from “The Milkman”

I can’t say enough about this band.  They have a great sense of melody, but then they are complex AND sing-able melodies that sit on top of chaos—but it all works.  Every album is a piece of their journey and they have said that they don’t even know where they are going, but I’m glad that they are doing it.  I strive to be like that—to always take an album into different territory and to grow into whatever direction you might be going in—hopefully a direction that no one has ever gone into before.

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