"Without music, life would be a mistake." So said philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche way back in the late 1800s. Such a strong statement still rings true, however—perhaps even more so—in this music-saturated day and time. City Weekly asked seven local music power players to dig into the past and remember the records that changed them 10, 20, 30, even 40 years ago—ranging from Siouxsie to Steely Dan—that opened up their world, and in one case, led a wayward youth to abandon his carnie dreams.
Lara Jones, KRCL community content manager and executive producer of RadioActive
"Confession: Back in the '80s, I was a teenage disc jockey. Everything 'new wave' or 'postmodern' was the soundtrack to my life and work. From the moment I heard 'Spellbound,' I was all in for Siouxsie and The Banshees, a woman-fronted band, which gave me the idea I might be able to do it, too. And I did."
André "DJ Bad Hair Day" Adams of the Flight89 podcast
"As a young black youth in the '90s, chaos was everywhere. I'm talking drugs, domestic violence between my parents, homelessness and the death of my best friend Rosie Tapia. But through that chaos I found the record that changed me. 'Breakadawn' by illustrious hip-hop group De La Soul really was the spark that gave me hope for a new day where chaos wasn't the focus of my life—rather just more pages in my book."
Jesse Walker, DJ, designer, producer, and New City Movement co-founder
"In middle school, my friends' older, cooler siblings exposed us to the vivid electro-pop of Depeche Mode, which gained the English band a devout new following. I spent a summer devouring 101, when my world turned Technicolor after a penny I taped to a BMG Music Service ad delivered Depeche Mode's Violator to my door. Everything about that seminal album crystallized my interest in electronic music, remix culture and design as I was coming of age in the middle of Idaho."
Sarah DeGraw, singer-songwriter and The Odd Jobs bandleader
"I had been working at my desk one day in the spring and somehow a track from The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd played. I had heard the album before, but in this moment I fell into a daze, stopped what I was doing and played the record from track one. I suppose the journey of it is what moved me. I sat motionless for the entirety of the record and at its end, I wept. There can be no transcendence of light without the depth of darkness, and that depth shook me."
Corey Cresswell, DJ, assistant electrician at Ballet West and co-founder of International Society of Rock 'n' Roll
"Rocket to Russia by The Ramones—that's the record! It was the sound I was looking for as a young man just getting into music and searching for something to get me going. Nothing was hitting until I heard that record. It set the path and introduced me to tons of great bands that The Ramones covered, like The Trashmen and Bobby Freeman. Later on, I moved to Phil Spector's work. That Ramones record gets the credit for me deciding to pursue a career in the business—otherwise I was going to be a carnie! Rock 'n' roll saves lives!"
Darin Piccoli, co-owner of The State Room, The Commonwealth Room, O.P. Rockwell and First Tracks Entertainment
"You got me digging for sure. There are so many influential albums it's hard to remember or pick one! But as I poured through them last week in the office, I got stuck on three. First, The Isley Brothers' Givin' it Back, a great album of their funky take on classics, including a great version of 'Ohio.' Second, Steely Dan's Aja—'nuff said. But the first album I purchased was Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive! I'm pretty sure I got it solely for 'Do You Feel Like We Do,' but the pink vinyl was the closer. I remember hearing that song on the radio; having never heard the guitar talk box before, I was blown away."
Eugenie Hero Jaffe, KRCL on-air host, Salt Shaker producer, and web & social media manager
"In 1979, I was 8 years old and my big sister was 18. She had an expansive record collection that I was not allowed to touch. One day she drove me to Mushroom Record & Tapes and coaxed me to buy The Beatles' Revolver, which I'm pretty sure was $6. 'Why not Michael Jackson's Off the Wall?' I asked her. 'You'll really like this Beatles record,' she said. 'You should get it.' Revolver opens with 'Taxman' and goes right into the crushing 'Eleanor Rigby,' followed by the juxtaposition of songs, from 'Good Day Sunshine' to 'For No One.' It was a pendulum swing, especially for an 8-year-old. As I listened, I dutifully wrote my name on the top right corner of the album—this one was all mine. Later, I would discover that Revolver was the only Beatles album my sister was missing from her collection. I never let go of it."