Here are some of my favorite punk, post-punk, pre-industrial, goth rock, early alternative, dark wave, and such. It’s a little harder for me to put a clean label on what this is, so the somewhat nondescript “alt rock” it is, primarily pulled from the ’80s and ’90s.
These are “my” bands. The bands that helped shape who I am, roughly in order of how much they mean to me.
Dave Mattingly: The Musical, Part 3
- Simon F
- Known For: I Want You Back
- Memories: Simon F’s guitarist was Steve Stevens, from Billy Idol’s band. To many, that pegged Simon F as a Billy Idol wannabe or ripoff. To me, he was far more than that. Growing up as an atheist, A Million Miles from Happiness became a personal anthem for a long time. But it’s the defiant pain in Here Comes My Laugh and other songs that keeps me coming back. Sort of a musical equivalent of William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” poem.
- Favorite Songs: Here Comes My Laugh, A Million Miles from Happiness, American Dream, Love Bomb, New York Girl, Get Out of London, Prisoner of Love
- Big Black
- Known For: The Model
- Memories: Steve Albini has been one of the most influential figures in underground indie rock, first as a musician in Big Black, then, Rapeman, then Shellac. But it’s his engineer and producer credits that make him a giant — well over a thousand album, including the Breeders, the Pixies, the Stooges, and so many more. The title of their Songs About F***ing album would lead to many interesting conversations in record stores.
- Favorite Songs: Precious Thing, Colombian Necktie, Bad Penny, The Power of Independent Trucking
- Known For: (Every Day is) Halloween
- Memories: Ministry’s cynical outlook and harsh instrumentation was a great channel for my young rage. Especially during my years at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Ministry had a prominent place in my playlist rotation (mix tapes, in those days). I still listen to “Over the Shoulder” all the time, especially the 12-inch mix that I have linked below.
- Favorite Songs: Over the Shoulder, The Nature of Love, Angel
- Known For: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
- Memories: The Clash has had a wide reach. At various times, they were popular on pop charts, classic rock, and on MTV. With such a large catalog of great songs, and with the staggering influence they’ve had, it’s hard to believe they were only together for ten years. Also, the bassist Paul Simonon married Pearl E Gates from Pearl Harbour and the Explosions, which was featured in my new wave list.
- Favorite Songs: Radio Clash, Rock the Casbah, Bankrobber, Rudie Can’t Fail
- Known For: Blitzkrieg Bop
- Memories: The Ramones had, if anything, more impact on the musical world than the Clash, although not quite the personal impact on me. Even reaching into pop culture like comic books and the Simpsons.
- Favorite Songs: I Wanna Live, I Wanna be Sedated, Needles and Pins, Spider-Man, Sheena is a Punk Rocker