We all have bands/musicians/artists that have been there for us. They’ve inspired us, encouraged us, humbled us, understood us, laughed with us, and cried with us. Music is a part of what made all of us who we are today in some way or another.
We here at AMN decided to pick some of the bands that have influenced us the most in our lives and share their music and our stories with you. What are some of the most influential bands in your life? Let us know in the comments below:
We The Kings
Written by CeeCee Hood
In the summer of 2013 I went to see We the Kings play at Emo’s with my sister as a last minute birthday present. I went in thinking “yeah ok, they have their songs ‘Check Yes Juliet’ and ‘Skyway Avenue’ and I’ve seen them on YouTube playing acoustic songs with All Time Low and Cassadee Pope so why not?”
Once I got to the doors, a security lady frowned at my little Nikon J1 camera and said it wasn’t allowed in without a pass. I’m not sure why but she suddenly changed her mind and decided to let me in with it anyways and told me to have fun.
Now, I had been to a few shows before this but something was just so different and amazing about seeing these guys play and watching Josiah Van Dien shooting them during their set was just so spectacular to me. The lights, the energy, the crowd interaction to these guys who just wanted to play music was so incredible to me and I just wanted to share this experience with others who weren’t there by taking some photos/video (I’m such a rebel, I know). I actually stopped off in Oklahoma City on my way back home from Arkansas on that same tour to see them again but that venue was more strict about cameras (like security was snatching phones/cameras from kids in the crowd – scary stuff). That tour was the reason I started doing music photography and it’s been the best decision of my life.
Written by Marcellus Coleman
I like all forms of music. From gospel, broadway musicals, J Pop, jazz, Emo, Country, Shadow of Whales (shameless plug), Hip Hop, EDM, and everything in between; I love music! For most of my life it would have been difficult for me to have a definitively articulate answer for this question until Snarky Puppy came out with “Tell Your Friends” in 2010.
Snarky Puppy is a fusion band spearheaded by bassist/composer/insane band director Michael League. This all star cast of musicians come together yearly to record/tour. Their formula of a raw, no overdubs, but incredibly mixed well live recording has inspired me to record my future projects the same way. I had the chance to interview Snarky Puppy pianist Bill Laurance (check out the interview HERE) and got to get more of the synergy/heart of the team and their sound. One of the most inspiring things for me is that it’s not a band of session musicians/singers, it’s an aggregation of artists that come together to make one sound (one crazy, funky, savory, insane, well composed, spontaneous sound).
April 20th of this year, they’ve teamed up with the Metropole Orkest to release CD/DVD “Sylva,” their first collaboration with an orchestra.
Helmet: John Stanier
Written by Jeff Walker
When I discovered my passion for the drums in the early 90’s, I was injecting my skull with large dosages of the band Helmet. Helmet’s sound can best be described as harmonious sounds of exploding 56k modems and has been featured in such films as The Crow, Underwrold, and even starred in The Jerky Boys: The Movie.
The drummer, John Stanier, was my first introduction to high energy and precision that was like no other. I had no clue what a “ply” was when it came to snare drum effects. Then, I heard John on the track “Unsung” off of 1992 Interscope release “Meantime”. Since the Helmet days John has been involved in a few projects such as Australian rock/metal alternative Mark of Cain, Tomahawk, and experimental rock band Battles.
I remember constantly annoying classmates in the high school band hall practicing to Helmet’s album, “Meantime”, over and over trying to mimic John’s grooves, tom rolls, and speed. Probably one of the coolest aspects of John is the fact that he studied orchestral percussion at the University of South Florida, played on the drum/bugle corps, Florida Wave, and never took formal drum set lessons. He endorses Tama drums and Zildjan cymbals and is not a fan of double bass drumming which is a rarity these days it seems. Some of my favorite songs that highlight his speed and intensity are “In the Meantime”, “Unsung”, “Renovation”, and Mark of Cain’s “Milosevic”. I recommend any new drummer playing in a rock genre band to pick up Helmet’s “Meantime”, “Betty”, and “Aftertaste” albums. If the planets and stars ever align correctly and the opportunity to chat it up with Helmet ever occurred, I sincerely would be star struck and could see the whole Wayne’s World scene where Wayne and Garth meet Alice Cooper!
The Glorious Unseen
Written by Rob Clark
The Glorious Unseen is the most underrated Christian band. Not only are they the first worship band that I could relate to in a deeper spiritual way, their music has brought me spiritual growth, their albums are always there when I am going through a rough time or want to worship God, their lyrics feel as though they are written for me in whatever spiritual place I’m in, they have a unique sound that does not fit in the stereotypical Christian music box, and their live performance brings you into an intimate time of worship and prayer. If you haven’t listened to The Glorious Unseen then you’re missing out on an amazing band. I would recommend listening to Tonight The Stars Speak, Harp In My Heart, and The Hope That Lies in You by clicking on the links.
Written By Jeremy Boyum
Picking the band that has influenced me most in my life (personally and professionally) is a really tough but obvious pick. Relient K has been with me and evolved with me throughout my entire life, from the goofy, awkward growing teens to the harsh realities of adult life.
To me, it almost feels like my life has been mirrored by Relient K. The innocence of “The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek” excited and inspired me when I was young and I related to the awkwardness that was me during the Sadies Hawkins Dance, only to be stopped by a girl so stunning. Moving into late-high school/early-college, the “Mmhmm” album understood my frustrations and bouts with friendships with “Which To Bury, Us or the Hatchet,” it understood my doubts and insecurities with “I So Hate Consequences” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” and it understood both my highs with “High of 75” and lows with “Let It All Out” and “When I Go Down.” Later in adulthood, when my ex-fiance called off our wedding and relationship, Matthew Thiessen went through a similar pain and as a result Relient K released “Forget and Not Slow Down” and “Collapsible Lung,” both albums which were monumental aides to my healing process. (The only other album that had such an effect was probably “Screaming Bloody Murder” by Sum 41, props to them for that amazing album) I feel like I understood what the band and Matt was going through in each of these albums because I feel almost as if I have lived in parallel each of the experiences they wrote about in most of their songs and felt the same emotions they felt in their lyrics and music.
Anyways, to wrap this up in a neat little bow, this is my official shout-out/thanks/tribute to Relient K. Thank you for being there for me throughout my entire life, thank you for going through all of those hardships and rising above them and inspiring me to keep going when life absolutely sucked just as you kept going.
Written by Brittaney Penney
It was a little difficult to narrow down what I believed to be the most influential band, but I went with my gut and a band that I’ve known for quite a few years now. I met Paradise Fears when they came to Houston in January 2012 on the Everything’s Fine Symphony Soldier Tour with The Cab and The Summer Set. Paradise Fears is a band that I know will put on a good show, no matter what is going on in their lives. Since 2012, I’ve been to quite a few house shows and concerts of theirs and they have never disappointed me.
Paradise Fears’ music is filled with catchy choruses and inspirational lyrics that help fans get through tough times in their lives. Sam Miller, the lead singer, also adds in some spoken word that just somehow works in their music. Looking back, that day really changed my life. I had no idea that in the coming months I would meet my soon to be best friends and become close to people that I never met all because of one band.
The Rocket Summer
Written by Jacob Andrew
I first heard The Rocket Summer back in 2008. My girlfriend at the time got his latest album “Do You Feel”, and was super excited to show it to me. Two songs in, I was instantly hooked. Insanely catchy melodies, deep lyrics, and a type of energy and emotion you rarely hear in recorded music. The more I listened to and learned about The Rocket Summer, the more my admiration grew. The Rocket Summer was one guy who played and recorded everything himself. Not only was he incredibly talented, he was also a man of God.
As an aspiring artist, a multi-instrumentalist myself, and a struggling Christian, Bryce Avary (The Rocket Summer) was really inspiring to me. He was an incredible role model and I really connected to his lyrics. I wanted to be exactly like him. I started practicing music for hours a day, started teaching myself about recording and writing lyrics about tougher subjects and lyrics that made you think. To this day, The Rocket Summer continues to be a huge influence to me as an artist and a Christian. You can watch the title track (The song that got me hooked) to his “Do You Feel” album below.
Written by Meredith Boyum
Some of my earliest memories are of sifting through my parents’ music collection. I loved looking at all the weird album art. When I started to develop my own music tastes, I started popping those old CD’s into my stereo, rejecting the ones I hated (Jefferson Airplane) and hoarding the ones that intrigued me. (Skinny Puppy, Bauhaus) The most magical discovery I ever made was of The Cure Discography. It was a shining treasure among the dusty CD’s and cassettes; the perfect score to accompany my preteen angst. I absorbed disc after disc like a sponge.
As I grew, the music seemed to grow with me. Robert Smith sang about the complexities of human emotion that I felt I could relate to. The music comforted me when I felt alone. As I entered adulthood and saw firsthand how difficult it can be to get ahead in the music industry, I gained even more respect for Robert Smith. He became a household name in a time before social media was around to serve as an IV drip of publicity pumping directly to consumers. He did it all while being unashamedly different. He never faltered in his weirdness. The Cure really influenced my taste, even later when I branched out into different genres of punk, rock, acoustic and indie. I’ve always sought that raw, dark, relatable feel that The Cure taught me to love.
Written by Adra Johnson
I could start this paragraph gracing you with intricacies, like the fact that Mayday Parade is from Tallahassee, Florida, or that they’ve been together as a band for a decade. However, I’m going to open with a little bit of cliche. Had I known that when “A Lesson in Romantics” popped up on my iTunes recommended list that the band behind the genius would sail me almost smoothly through multiple life transitions? Had I known that two years later, my first tattoo would be lyrics from “You’re Dead Wrong”? Had I known the complete exhilaration I would feel after my first real concert at SOMA in San Diego, California, walking home with sore feet and covered in sweat because I had never been to a general admission show and I, in pure ignorance, wore heels? I can’t see the future, so my answer is no, I couldn’t have told you any of these things. But fear not, I am here now, to tell you about what band has been most inspirational to me – and that, dear readers, is the easiest question I’ve ever answered.
If I had to describe in single words what makes Mayday Parade my most prominent musical inspiration, it would come to passion and authenticity. One of the most incredible things about this band is the artist to fan connection that surges through every venue that they play, whether it be a one room tour show or Main Stage at Vans Warped Tour. Each setting that they perform in thrives on the principle of singing with their audience, instead of to them, something that will forever set them apart from other artists. Since being still undecided on a band name during the recording of their debut EP in 2005, Mayday Parade has ventured through international tours, four full length albums, and an astonishingly loyal and large following; remaining as down to earth with as much soul put into their work as the day they started out, whether it be a concert, meeting fans, or recording music. One can almost certainly expect that the fifth studio album to be released this year will hold true to the reputation of influential lyrical artistry and blood-pumping beats that somehow, somewhere, will change someone’s life in one way or another.
However, the one thing I can come back to that will always put a spark back in my veins, is the pure inspiration of having a musical connection that has stayed true throughout the years and become as familiar as an old sweater. The soundtrack to my life has remained from feeling outcast at my school at age twelve to my long road trips for various journalistic ventures here at nineteen; never changing, only growing. I’m quite assured I’ll be thirty years old in my kitchen cooking dinner, absentmindedly humming tunes of lipstick lullabies and monsters in the closet, and briefly smile for a second at that first tattoo when I’m getting dressed for work at forty. If there’s something I’m sure of, it’s that true inspiration (and great music) is a fire that never burns out.