Who would I say are my biggest musical influences?
Well, of course the Beatles, Bee Gees and Bread were the very 1st bands I fell in love with as a teenager. Also, the first bands that I would sing and play the guitar or piano to. E.g. Let It Be, Melody Fair, Everything I Own to name but three songs.
By the time, I got into an actual band – the Hornets – we had gotten into the bands of the day – Wings, Deep Purple, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Bay City Rollers (!), the Eagles etc
Though, probably apart from Paul McCartney and Wings, I cannot really say the above bands have left any lasting impressions on my songwriting.
By the time the 70s ended, the post-punk movement was upon us and in the first half of the 80s, I would be heavily into bands like the Jam, the Clash, the Pretenders, Echo and the Bunnymen, U2, XTC, Squeeze, The Police, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Graham Parker, Simple Minds, Japan et al.
Certainly, once Paul Weller disbanded the Jam to form the Style Council, Weller became a major influence on my songwriting. Couple that with the obvious Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Jeff (ELO) Lynne fixations and the songs I wrote in the 80s were quite jazzy, folky and poppy.
I actually stopped buying albums in the 2nd half of the 80s (dire times, believe me) and focused my energies (and finances) on building a considerable comic book collection (now, alas, mostly destroyed by termites!).
So by the time I returned to music in 1989, I was beginning to search far and wide to listen to the best rock could offer and so I picked up on The Who, the Kinks, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Roy Orbison, Todd Rundgren and so whilst keeping an ear out for the new music – which the Britpop movement of the mid-90s and the Pop Underground of the late 90s, provided an enjoyable couple of years.
Of course, during the 90s, I released 4 CDs (with Watchmen, the Crowd and Popland) and I believe that any astute listener would pick up on the diverse influences on my music.
Nowadays, I’m a little confused bunny, I think. HYR has made me more conscious about my choruses and I believe I’m a better songwriter for it whilst listening to the new local bands gives me a sense of appreciation of the new music currently making the rounds.
Trouble is, I have such an enormous backlog of material, and I would not know where to start if and when that 1st solo album gets recorded. Should take Saiful’s sage advice and just do it… but who would buy a Kevin Mathews album in 2007?
… I really wanna know…