What does "Musical Influences" mean to you?

What does "Musical Influences" mean to you?
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Very cool !
I can relate to everything you wrote. We’re obviously bread from the same artists.

Uli Roth was awesome with the Scorpions.

RUSH is another band I really like. I love A Farewell to Kings especially.
Another band I forgot to mention is Kansas. I especially love the Kansas albums, Masque and Leftoverture.
I’m a big fan of Judas Priest too. Great guitars and vocals! I prefer Priest over Maiden by a large margin. I think JP wrote better songs and I just prefer their aesthetic over Maiden’s.


Back in the day we had to put the needle on the record and try to pick up guitar solos note by note. The records and cassettes used to take a beating because it could take hours to pick up a guitar solo (sometimes even a riff would take a long time). I used to have the patience and determination for that but I can’t do that sh*t anymore, haha. Youtube is like a dream come true…, even though many of the people on there aren’t playing their cover songs correctly…, eventually you can find someone who plays is right, or almost right.


Nugent was part of my early rock & roll introduction too. I liked some of his tunes but he would be someone I wouldn’t consider as one of my faves, although we sure thought he was a cool, wild dude back then. He was entertaining. His politics drive people crazy these days though, haha.


Wow. Thought provoking as usual!

I’d say my earliest musical influence was Rush. Almost stereotypical being Canadian and all. But growing up in the early '80’s, Moving Picture, Exit Stage Left and Signals were seminal albums for me. I just sucked up everything Rush - bought music books and all that.

In high school it was a combo of synth pop, new wave and hair metal. All of that stuff is the foundation of my influences. I’m a proponent of the teen/young adult years being seminal to your musical “identity”, but I don’t think it’s an absolute rule. For me, I find I’m always looking for new sounds and genres to pique my interest.

If one has a passion for music, they’ll find ways to discover new sounds and incorporate them into their influences.


Everything and nothing.


I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I actually saw Van Halen in concert on probably the Women and Children First tour. The show was great, DLR was crazy and Eddie seemed to be in top form, but Eddie mixed and matched his solo’s and signature riffs into different songs than on the albums. Maybe some people in the crowd didn’t notice or didn’t care, but I was quite puzzled why he wouldn’t stick with the originals - especially since I had them committed to memory. It literally did seem like a bag of tricks at that point. Maybe that was what kept their live act fresh as they were known for that carefree energy and enthusiasm. Or maybe they were really wasted and couldn’t remember how the songs actually went. :guitar:

Good point. The old classics, some of which I listed above, always draw me back. But I can also appreciate new things and they are probably essential to keep perspective. It happens in phases though. I had an eMusic subscription for a number of years, initially to get access to the old classics that I didn’t already have in digital form (but certainly some of them I have/had in vinyl, cassette, or 8-track at one time). They lost or surrendered their licensing with the big record companies at one point, and all those went away. It had always been focused on Indie music, but after that it was exclusively Indie and I found myself checking out new stuff just to use my quota of 30 downloads per month from the subscription. I have a ton of that stuff on my hard drive as I did that for quite some time until I finally decided I’d had enough. YouTube essentially serves the same purpose now.


For me, musical influences generally means three things.

Firstly, those that I vainly aspire to in terms of greatness (for whatever reason, but generally songwriting as a whole) secondly, those that I subconsciously emulate and thirdly those that I consciously take direct inspiration from - ideas, directions, techniques etc.

I like a lot of music from extreme metal/experimental stuff to pure pop and everything in between.

My five biggest influences, all things considered and probably straddling all the categories above are Bowie, Killing Joke, The Beatles, Radiohead & Pink Floyd. Many others, but these guys raise their heads the most.


For me it’s a bit of everything. I grew up in a house listening only to Indian music, from the golden age of Indian cinema - for those of you who don’t know, that would be the 50 - mid 70s. I wasn’t allowed to listen to “English” music (my parent’s words) until I was about 12 or 13. At that moment it was everything 80’s - Duran Duran and those kinds of bands. Later I switched my allegiances to rock and never went back.

Now, when I play on peoples tracks, or write and play my own, I notice that all of these influences somehow come into my playing. I notice that my playing style (although not as good) very much resembles Slash. I’ve never consciously mimicked him, and would prefer to sound like Satriani or Eric Johnson, but my default sound is that slightly scratchy approach that Slash does so amazingly. If I put on a track of keyboard, I naturally end up sounding like New Wave 80’s bands. Here’s the fun part for me though. Give me a chord progression and a chance to write a solo, and almost as if by magic, I end up playing modes and scales that resemble Indian scales. This always impresses my friends! I can’t breakdown the scales, I can’t explain them but somehow I always end up playing something that just doesn’t sound “normal”.

So for me, a musical influence is something that you absorb by listening and loving music, and it just ends up becoming part of your vocabulary.


Great points about our youthful years being the most influential. True in more ways than music, that’s for sure. So many people seem determined to keep on reliving their high school years-- maybe because it’s the last time they could really do what they felt like, more or less, before “real life” took over. Puts me in mind of a great James McMurtry lyric: “We grew up hard, and our kids don’t know what that means / We turned into our parents before we were out of our teens.”

I want to make clear that I never meant to imply that all the influences have to be overtly incorporated-- hence the “gumbo” reference. They’re just in there, in some latent way. For example, I didn’t list the Beatles as any kind of influence but I know for sure that they are. I grew up on them, hearing all their stuff as it came out starting in about '65 because one of my sisters, 10 years older than me, was an avid music fan (that’s how I heard all the great stuff as it came out, because she was buying the records). Their songwriting craft, which is of course at genius levels, just imbued how I came to understand music at a very basic level, but nobody would ever pick out any aspect of my playing or (much later) writing as being influenced by them. For what that’s worth…


I have given this some thought thru the years.

influences?? so to different people that might mean different things:

  1. Bands I like and listen to a lot

  2. Bands that I WANT to sound like and maybe TRY to sound like

  3. Bands that I actually sound like, with or without trying.

I started relatively late on guitar, aged 20, and am only just now (age almost 50) coming into the ability to really write and sing and produce whole songs etc. So how does one even attempt to say what influences have accumulated over the course of 50 years? for instance there was a period when I INTENSELY listened to Pink Floyd…but that was 30 years ago.

And ANY kid my age totally wore out AC/DC Back in Black, Iron Maiden Piece of Mind, VH 1984 etc.

Who are my top 4 guitar players who id LIKE to emulate?? (in no order) VanHalen, Page, Hendrix, Malmsteen…then tied for 5th Schenker, Gary Moore, Jake E Lee, Sykes

My singing has the potential to be vaguely in the ballpark of Roth, Coverdale, Cornell, Ray Gillen, Scott Weiland

That being said, who do I think I sound like?? to me, I only sound like me lol. If I try REALLY hard I can sort of emulate a Led Zep or VanHalen sound and to a less extent Hendrix.

some Vh vibe

and to me this just sounds like sort of a mish mosh of 70s vibes

one thing that HAS plainly influenced me is the freedom and loose vibe heard on records by Halen, ZZ Top, Nugent etc where they would have a lot of loose tongue in cheek lyrics or just oddball goofiness. You can see that in the bridges and breakdowns in several of my songs

i was born in 67 and that means I heard the Beatles on the radio thousands of times, and I was 10 when disco hit strong so I heard the BeeGees thousands of times.

There is that slight psychedelic vibe in some of my stuff too

Somehow it all comes out in the mix

one thing for sure. I havent hit my stride yet as far as doing anything DEFINITIVE. Dunno if thats even going to be possible for me…as ive outlined, the influences have accumulated so that now im not even sure myself exactly what I want to be lol


Great post! Thanks for the details and song clips. I really enjoyed the Sugarboo song, and about 1:00 in on the Boogie Jam I caught a Lynyrd Skynyrd “Second Helping” guitar vibe.


Well Skynyrd is another of those bands that I grew up with (being from the “high south” - Virginia). I love some of the heavier Skynyrd stuff like On the Hunt, Cry for the Badman etc. They had a real british invasion influence mixed in with their other influences.

One thing about Skynyrd (and Hendrix)…you can NOT sound like them until you get the drums and rhythm section right. So why is it so hard for me to sound like Skynyrd or Hendrix, because I have no clue how to get my EZ Drummer to sound like Mitch Mitchell or to get a Skynyrd rhythm section feel.

IIRC I started this song off attempting to write something in a Skynyrd vein but it not really like them at all. I have done the same with ZZ Top…started a song off aiming that way but sounds nothing like them.

In any case this is a good song to demonstrate influences because it has a certain feel for the song but then when it gets to the bridge/solo, I do my normal sidetrack over into some kind of Beatles feel and then into a more spacey lead feel.

What stops me from “finishing” these jams, of which I have literally dozens if not over a hundred of?? I despise the intro lick now lol.

And this one touched on another band I have listened to a lot in the past. It has that Aeromish sort of swing quality that Skynyrd also had sometimes

So I have one foot firmly planted in “talented and creative dude” and the other foot is in “loser who cant finish a song” land lol


Ha, I know what you mean! Creativity is like a faucet, but if we don’t shut off the valve and use the water we drew out, that open valve will flood the floor. :slight_smile: