WARMER MIXTAPES #1335 | by Mathew Chayse Lucas [Matt Lucas]

I think I can speak for most musicians on this Earth when I say that when asked to pick 10 meaningful songs for a list, and write about the story behind my relationship with the song… Oi!!!! It opens a back log of memories and Music that could be easily organized into 10 books of lists of 10 songs. Taking us through the phases and changes in our lives proving that Music is so necessary. Then each song becomes a part of my life. As I get older, my relationship changes with it. Like lovers, or old friends, we grow and evolve. Some I keep in touch with, some, we’re just polite, and some know me better than I know myself. They’re never leaving my life, I mean, hey, we don’t talk everyday, but when we get in the same room, I’m home.

Childhood - fun, rhythm, dancing, it’s instinctual, it’s visceral, and we don’t judge it. I’d be listening to James Brown, then right to a Chipmunks album, then singing along to Loretta Lynn only to hum the Smurf’s Toothbrush song shortly after. Only the most passionate record snobs have that kind of range.

Adolescence/Preteens (tween) - The awkwardness, rage, trying to be cool, buying and trading Music, forming our own opinions. This was the mid 80’s for me so tape trading, Punk Rock, Hardcore, Metal, was boiling up everywhere, especially in Pensacola, FL. Soul and Country Music never left my heart, but Punk, Hardcore, Hip Hop, and Metal were blowing my mind. Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Metallica, DK, Iron Maiden, Run DMC, and tons of local bands… Getting your hands on a tape of a band that is now iconic is something that doesn’t happen that much anymore. I can remember the day my friend said hey, check this out, they’re called Nine Inch Nails, or the summer I heard White Zombie, talking about they’re like a funkier Metallica, woah.

I spent a lot of my time 11-13 in some dark places due to family circumstances. Much of that time was spent with older stoners, strippers, and drug dealers. I became exposed to a lot of Music, and many of the guys were in bands. Those days were equally dysfunctional and inspiring. My eyes became open, and my connection to Music became very real. I was playing guitar, and was in my first band in the 8th grade. I’m thankful I had a lot of time to practice even if it was in some very questionable apartments. Thus I’d just put my head down and disappear into Music, you know, instead of watching someone overdose.

My Teens - Life gets real, break ups, having to work and make it in the World, more responsibility. Music just becomes necessary and vast. There’s something for every mood on every type of day. The moment when you can connect to the girl you like by knowing lyrics to her favorite Cure song. Going to shows every night, all bands, any band, like how 70’s pretty boys just had to get to the Disco. I learned about Imports and rare hard to find records. The used record store became a place for my paycheck. I started caring about Politics and the World, oh yeah, and Gangster Rap. Hip Hop was just getting cooler, bands started linking up with rappers, Grunge started taking over. I personally feel the 90’s were a very important time in Music. I’d never say they rivaled the 60’s and 70’s, but hey, at least I got to witness some great Change and Innovation.

Then there’s College… This was when many of the other folks my age started getting into Music as well. It was great to see eyes light up, regardless of the questionable moments when they’d often became fixated on Phish. This disturbed me, but hey, I’ve made my fair share of bad choices. The best place in the World to me was the giant used CD section of my local record store. I knew a couple guys that worked there so I got a hook up. I upgraded my Stereo in my 1974 Cadillac Eldorado and started on a journey of buying and listening to as much Music as possible. Metal, Acid Jazz, Ninja Tune was putting out some really interesting Electronic Music, Experimental stuff, I even bought a Phish CD. Once… I admit, I had to do one of the hardest things I thought I’d never have to do. I showed up to the record store at midnight to buy Metallica - Load, I listened to 30 seconds of it, and littered for the first time. It went right out my window. It was a lesson in growing apart. Sort of like when the woman you’re really into says OMG, I love Metallica, their first album (first red flag)... Load is so amazing... This is when we realize we’ve gone our separate ways. Finish your drink and get the hell out of there.

Now… Here we are… I’m an old loving curmudgeon still seeking new Music. Making a list of songs is no easy task, but the things that turn me on about songs most of all is the Honesty. When someone is themselves. Voices like Willie Nelson, Björk, Ian Mackaye, Tom Waits, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Karen Carpenter, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, Greg Brown, King Krule... These people are unmistakeable and this is part of the job of an Artist. To be fearless, honest, and themselves. I’m not talking about the type of Fearlessness that means Karen Carpenter is gonna be out there running into burning buildings saving children, although we all know Prince would… In heels. The building would probably be burning though because Willie and Björk fell asleep smoking weed together.

Then there are the unmistakable bands. Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Beach Boys, Metallica, Heart, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Radiohead, Beatles, etc.… These are obvious, however, what about: Fugazi, Bad Brains, The Melvins, Mudhoney, Jawbox, Sigur Rós, Soul Coughing, Morphine, Tortoise. Oi… I can ramble on for days about this, and now Thin Lizzy just came on… What a great band!!!

The hardest part about growing old is realizing that new Music doesn’t find you as easily. This is when we start talking about how Music is crap nowadays, or kids don’t know what’s cool, they’ll never have bands like Jane’s Addiction, or Led Zeppelin. My career, and lifestyle, has me involved with young people on a regular basis. I’ve found that the same thing holds true now as it always has… Just find the weird kid that’s sitting alone with their headphones on, and ask them what they’re listening to. It’ll often be pretty good, maybe great. Give it a chance.

You want to know why you never hear about those cool Underground shows anymore? The shows like the ones you used to go to when you were young?

They’re still happening, we’re just old, we’re not invited, and that’s great. They really don’t want you there, and honestly, you probably don’t want to be there as a man in his 30’s, being around a bunch of angry 16 year olds doesn’t sound like my idea of a Friday night. Keep it up, and hopefully we can all stay open to new Music.

So ten songs, in no specific order. I’ll do my best to keep it under 50 actual songs, and if you know me, you’ll know how hard it is to not just name every Tom Petty song, then right into every Creedence song, then anything from Dischord or SST Records. These songs aren’t as much nostalgic as they are relevant and timeless for me. I don’t really use Music as a way to remember the past. However, many of these songs are old friends, or stay relevant as I evolve.

1. Guns N' Roses | Welcome To The Jungle
The day this album came out I bought it, and listened to it over and over while having to write, Actions of Stupidity will not be tolerated in Physical Education class, at any time 500 times. I was apparently being an asshole to my PE coach who was a bigger asshole, thus I heard the album a lot the first day. For the next year or two, every time Welcome To The Jungle would come on, it would be during a situation that was about to go horribly wrong. To the point where it started becoming more of an omen of misfortune than just a song to pump us up while running from the cops. Now I keep this song in rotation in many of my playlists that I listen too on my motorcycle or just around the house as a reminder to SLOW DOWN!!!! and be a little more conscious with my choices. It’s sort of the wise old alcoholic neighbor of songs that has ruined their life a few times, but still has some great advice for you.

2. The Highwaymen | Highwayman
OK… Just for the fact the you get a one, two, three, then four hit combo of some of the greatest voices in Music. First Willie Nelson, then Chris Christopherson, then Waylen Jennings, Ahhh… Then… Johnny Cash!!! These guys need no production, they need no Auto-Tune, they are men that sound like men, and in this waifey, skinny jeans, lotion soaked information based whiney culture we live in, it’s good to listen to Music from artists that will punch you, not just leave anonymous ridicule on your YouTube comments. Try listening with a beautiful woman and witness her pining, and just know that Johnny could steal your girlfriend just by answering the phone. He said hello, I’m leaving you... R.I.P., Johnny.

3. Ted Taylor | Somebody’s Always Trying
This is just a great song that no matter when, where, and with who. This song will come through. It’s a consistent go to song with Temptation ‘Bout To Get Me by The Knight Brothers. High energy, and talking about something that hits home. You see, as an Artist, I struggle with a healthy dose of low self esteem, yet I love beautiful, intelligent, powerful women. This song is just a great reminder to love someone through giving them Freedom and Choice. Someone will always be trying to take them away, but true connection is strengthened through Challenge and temptations. As I learn to love deeper and sit in a more vulnerable place, this song means even more to me. I’ve now experienced being connected to someone even in their absence, and realize that I’ve been playing it safe. Everything can be taken from us, but, in Love, to assume they’re being taken is to place them in your life as an object. They are smart and moving through Choice just as we are too. Personally, this song is an invitation to love someone knowing that it just might hurt, but I want to be there in it. The temptations and novelty advances can’t hold weight if your connection has roots, or maybe it never really existed in the first place. Sure you wanna take her on a vacation, buy her diamonds, but can you make her feel at home? Listen? Feel her? This ease can only come from Freedom.

4. King Krule | Border Line
First, just look at a picture of this young man, then try to imagine what he sounds like…You're wrong. He looks 14 and awkward, then his baritone Cockney accent starts spitting out what would seem like the Urban Youth Hip Hop mash up of Gary Newman and Biz Markee with a Fender Jazzmaster and his stoner friend making beats. Nothing sounds like this project, and I really don’t think anything ever will. He’s refreshing and an acquired taste, yet, the epitome of what I look for in finding New Music. The way the chorus to Border Line comes in feels so damn good. It’s dark and beautiful, heavy, but brings resolve and light to the song. I appreciate the Originality and the fact that this guy's sound can’t be copied. Try it…You’ll just come off tacky.

5. Fugazi | Waiting Room
Let me just go ahead and say one of the hardest things about making a list of ten is not just putting 45 Fugazi songs on that list. I chose Waiting Room for the fact that it is one of the greatest opening songs on a record of all time. Straight up one of the best bass lines in History. The second you hear it, you’re in. Fugazi always has a message in their words, impeccable interplay between the guitars, and in true DC fashion, an unstoppable rhythm section. They were the first Punk band I’d heard that obviously loved Funk. They brought so much energy, dynamics, space, and groove to their Music. I was sold from the first note, and their Music will always be timeless. I also have to make a note that I feel that Ian MacKaye sounds like Homer Simpson, a bad ass poetic, conscious Homer Simpson.

6. Soundgarden | Loud Love
Great riff, great song. The stripped down Honesty of their Louder Than Love album is the moment where you knew it was just a matter of time that Soundgarden becomes… Well… Soundgarden. I’d gotten to see them really early on in very small clubs, it’s a great point of pride to have been in those rooms. I found a copy of their tape back in FL in the woods along with Megadeth's So Far, So Good... So What!. I listened to them for at least a year not knowing who they were, I just knew I loved the Music. I find that many people don’t know that Soundgarden has albums before Superunknown or Badmotorfinger, but Louder Than Love has always been a staple for me. Check out their early stuff if you haven’t.

7. Creed | With Arms Wide Open 
Just kidding, I like nothing about this band or anything they represent, as an artist I sometimes try and sabotage myself, glad I caught that.

8. The Beach Boys | God Only Knows
I love this song, but I do have beef with The Beach Boys, and, no, it’s not because of Kokomo. It’s about my dilemma between one of my other favorites, Wouln’t It Be Nice,and why it didn’t make it on my list over God Only Knows. Here goes. There was a time where young men in bands would jump really far ahead in a song that’s just about hooking up, and talk about marriage, as featured in Wouldn’t It Be Nice. Let me tell you how lame that is. Today, the easiest way to push a woman away is to write a song for her and mention marriage. Thus, I’ve heard this song and it’s reminded me of that special gal, but I can’t really let her know, or dedicate it to her until I set the disclaimer, hey, when I hear Wouldn’t it be Nice, it reminds me of you, minus the verse about getting married, I just want you to know that I’m interested in you, and in developing a steady gradual relationship over time, I mean, umm, I’m not afraid of commitment or anything, I just don’t even know your middle name yet, so if you just listen to the song knowing that the first three lines make me think of you and the last verse I feel is a little much… So now I’m here listening to another genius track known as God Only Knows. It’s a little darker, and fits my personality better. It’s about how much you care about someone, but you can see the end regardless. As a songwriter, I’ve written about how my relationships will end before I even talk to the girl. Now, however, I engage with relationships way more optimistically, and with a more present attitude. No more dark poetic romance designed to create and endless orgasmic year long honeymoon only to have it end quickly and abruptly because no one or thing can keep that up. This song is the Leonard Cohen of Beach Boys songs.

9. Iron Maiden | Wasted Years
So much energy, it starts with a crushing iconic riff, and the message is right on. Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years. Iron Maiden is just an over achieving streamlined laser precise Metal delivery system. They’re relentless in their Integrity, and I feel that Bruce Dickinson truly embodies this song. He’s a positive, progressive man, a Metal monster, a commercial airline pilot, he’s funny, he’s a fencer… Ya know, as an artist or space holder you can only give what you own, and I feel that he gave me something when I first heard this song. I was in the 5th grade, I went to the record store to buy Metallica - Master Of Puppets… The guy behind the counter started talking to me about Music because he thought it was cool that a 10 year old kid was buying a Metallica album, and he hooked me up with Somewhere In Time, which, the second track was Wasted Years. I remember hearing that riff for the first time. Not many bands can do what they do, or Metallica. So unique, so honest. Thanks, Iron Maiden!!! I have spent more time with headphones on going over 100mph on a motorcycle to this band than any other band. Sorry, Motörhead, you’re close behind.

10. Waylon & Willie | Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys (Ed Bruce Cover)
Such a great song, and now that we’ve listened, and most of our babies are computer nerds that should get the hell up off the couch, Obesity is an epidemic, prescription painkillers are the number one killer in America, and we’re obsessed with ourselves and talentless, sociopathic Reality TV stars. We could use few more cowboys in this World. Trust me, your girlfriend’s gonna leave you the day she meets one. (As I said about Johnny Cash and The Highwaymen) Especially if he can also listen, cook, change a tire, and give a good massage. This song should always be followed by Bad Religion’s 21st Century Digital Boy, then we need to find a song that meets these guys somewhere in the middle.

+11. Dolly Parton | Jolene
If you don’t like Dolly, you’re weird. Most of the artists on here are male, however, between Dolly, Heart, Loretta Lynn, Chaka Khan, Betty Davis, Björk, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Butterfly from Digable Planets. It’s a toss up and, of course, an entire other list I could go on and on about. Dolly Parton is so amazing and it illustrates the torture of how even the most beautiful, and talented people are just human, and can be insecure too. It’s also a prime example of how to use Music as Alchemy. This is an Art form that takes pain, heartbreak, sorrow, and can turn it into something beautiful. Throughout my life I’ve definitely felt invisible, or inadequate, when around someone that I loved, or wanted to be with. Come to find out it’s usually all in my head, or I needed to let it go and just wasn’t listening. This song was great when I heard it for the first time, but once I hit my 30’s… Holy shit… I really get it… We think when we’re young, we’ll be strong and confident adults, not always the case. That doesn’t mean it’s not a gift.

So now I have to make a couple honorable mentions due to I can’t narrow it down. During this time, I’m listening to a playlist that’s inspiring me. I’m like this with motorcycles and Music. You’ll rarely mention a motorcycle without me telling you how great it is. I admit, I’m way more opinionated about Music, however, in my catalog, I’m gushing all the time. Many of the bands I’m into I couldn’t really pick a song, I’m still into full albums. You don’t just buy a Pink Floyd single, you buy the whole album. Ya dig? So many of the songs I mentioned are a part of my current evolution. I mean I never got into Tom Petty, and last year, I just understood his Music, I’m slow like that. Now I can’t get enough of the guy, I was the same with Pink Floyd, and, well, this also happened with mustard and salad greens (those are not bands, I literally mean the condiment and edible plants used for salad). One day I just wanted to consume it.


+12. James Hall | Pleasure Club
Whole album. A definite desert island album front to back. Amazing.

+13. Band Of Horses | No One’s Gonna Love You
This song is so beautiful, it gets me every time. It’s one of those man, I wish I’d have written that song songs… It says what I’ve tried to say so many times. Impeccable band.

+14. Digable Planets | Highing Fly/Agent 7 Creamy Spy Theme
So Funky and the harmonies just add to the attitude. Never gets old.

+15. Queens Of The Stone Age | Keep Your Eyes Peeled 
Perhaps a top 10 unique and bad ass opening track to an album. So heavy and stylish. You can get lost in their Music, it’s like crooning over Sludge Rock… Loooove it!!!