Dan Shapiro, the voice and the riffs of The Fever Machine, shares with us a good sample of his playlist of essential tunes and bands. Even while reading you can already hear riffs, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll beating.
Dan’s intro, “10 songs I like. I can’t say these are my 10 favorite songs of all time because I don’t really keep track of that shit*, but these are 10 songs that receive a lot of play in my house, songs that I love, and songs that definitely have had an impact on me as a songwriter and influence on my contribution to The Fever Machine.”
1. “Bron-Yr-Aur” by Led Zeppelin
Betcha didn’t think I was gonna start off with an instrumental acoustic guitar track did you? This song is just really amazing, and to think it’s just Jimmy Page alone with his guitar creating this whole parallel universe that’s really hopeful and optimistic, but still a bit dark and honest. I’ve said many times that I wish I could wake up to this every morning. It posses a great combination of technical and artistic mastery and raw emotion and guts.
2. “Caught in a Dream” by Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper, the band and the man, really are the epitome of rock and roll. I could pick a lot of their songs for this list, but “Caught in a Dream” has an amazing combination of rippin’ guitars, groovy rhythms, bluesy keys and sing-a-long hooks.
3. “Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath
This track is the origin of stoner rock, the sludgy pocket, fuzzed out guitars and Ozzy’s howling vocals are basically the heaviest thing ever created. Roll that all up with some lyrics about herb and add the sped-up instrumental bridge and you’ve got a true proto-metal gem.
4. “Silver Machine” by Hawkwind
Before he was slaying the bass as the frontman of Motorhead, Lemmy was a true psychedelic warrior, holding down the bass in space rock legends Hawkwind. Although he was eventually ousted from the band, he still had chance to sing lead vocals on one of their most well known numbers, “Silver Machine.” This track is really the paradigm for space rock: heavy reverb on the vocals, reverse delay on the guitars, atmospheric airy synths, hypnotic rhythms and over-driven guitars.
5. “Jump in the Fire” by Metallica
Metallica’s first album Kill ’em All was really a continuation from what Motorhead were doing in the late 70s. Critics always like to align them with the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), but Kill ’em All really had some raw punk attitude and energy, and just added the thrash riffin’ juice. “Jump in the Fire” is really a perfect example of the combination of metal, hard rock and punk; a four minute head banging classic.
6. “Monsters in the Parasol” by Queens of the Stone Age
Big surprise that I’m gonna mention QOTSA on a list of songs I like. Queens are always able to write dense and concise hard rock songs with great hooks, but add in these little weird nuanced parts that really define them as a seminal stoner band. The main riff on “Monster in the Parasol” is really quite basic, but there are a ton of little odd and quirky licks and fills in the background of the song to create this uneasy, yet satisfying, layer of dementia.
7. “Down on the Street” by The Stooges
In my opinion this is track is The Stooges at their best. The simple rhythm pocket is enough to get anyone shaking, and the guitars combine basic punk power chords with these screaming little licks, followed by these amazing dueling psychedelic guitars in the bridge. Then of course there’s Iggy Pop’s shamanistic voice. Shit is loud and heavy.
8. “Stop” by Jane’s Addiction
No one sings like Perry Farrell; no one. And that comes in handy because no one plays guitar like Dave Navarro or drums like Stephen Perkins. Jane’s has always been doing their own thing, and the music is really cinematic, the way the modes and moods change: it’s completely epic. “Stop” is only four minutes long, but the song covers so much sonic and emotional range.
9. “Rhinoceros” by Smashing Pumpkins
This song is just one giant crescendo. I don’t think people write music like this anymore unfortunately, but “Rhinoceros” starts off with this really somber drum and bass groove, mixed with super spacey battling guitars, and gradually build and build and build, until halfway through the track, the song finally kicks up a gear, and then all of a sudden Billy Corgan rips some ridiculous guitar leads and Jimmy Chamberlin busts out some killer killer drum fills.
10. “In My Room” by The Beach Boys
Even hard rock, punk and metal fans should be able to recognize the pure genius of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Granted I spend most of time listening to heavy music, once in a while I like to chill out with some lighter tunes that still have great melodies and chill-time vibes. “In My Room” really is a great anthem for loneliness, but not in that lame socially awkward way, just an amazing song to listen to with the head phones on. It’s cathartic and calming and cerebral.
* we do! As a matter of fact, we are developing a bug that will hide on everybody’s computers and send us back the stats of what you are listening to. Then, we’ll rule the world. Better be careful what you listen to. We’ll be watching you!