There’s a very real danger of this turning into Lucias’ Billy Joel appreciation list. The problem is that my music taste is equal parts fickle and obsessive; after discovering something new I like, it will be all I listen to… until the next shiny toy squeaks itself into view.
So in the interest of providing some much needed structure for myself, I’m going to give you the 3 albums that for one reason or another brought me here; being asked to write an article for your lovely website. So let’s kick things off with…
Bon Jovi – Cross Road
Step one in our journey is this absolute beast of an album. Ritchie Sambora is probably the closest thing I have to an explanation of why I started playing electric guitar. I was, for want of a less pompous term, “classically trained.” But listening to this album, I knew I wanted to play loud.
I spent some pocket money on the chord book (no online guitar tabs in the halcyon days of pre-internet) and jammed along as best I could. I never got close to nailing Ritchie’s solos, and I never will, but everything about that album made me want to stand in front of an audience and try.
Reel Big Fish – Turn the Radio Off
In the late 90s I was mainly listening to The Offspring, Therapy? and Green Day, doing my best to play and write songs like them. Then out of left field, one of my friends was given a pirate copy of Turn the Radio Off. I’m not kidding when I say it took no more than 5 seconds of Sell Out to turn and say “we have to be in a band like THAT!”
After studying that album top to tail, I made some phone calls and discovered my secret power; having lots of friends who played brass and woodwind. It’s a gift, and the reason I’ve managed to keep playing ska all these years.
Random Hand – Inhale/Exhale
This one has been a secret that I’ve been reluctant to tell. But… in 2008, the ska band inspired by Turn the Radio Off broke up. To try and keep things fresh, the trombonist and I started a reggae band. We were a “C+” band, not great, but not bad. During that time I heard For Roni for the first time and immediately called the trombonist declaring “we HAVE to play ska punk again.”
Last year we had the privilege of playing some shows with Random Hand who are, for the record, just lovely, lovely people. So kind, in fact, that I couldn’t bear to tell them Inhale/Exhale is the reason that Call Me Malcolm are a band. Well, here it is guys. My confession, and the reason I followed you around every venue with doughy eyes.
Everything ever released by Billy Joel.
Call Me Malcolm is a ska punk band from London, England. You can hear their music on Bandcamp and Spotify.