I’m continuing my posts featuring artists and which musicians have influenced them. This is a follow up idea after the music legends theme (see Where have all the music legends gone?). This post features the talented artist that is Marching Donald (aka Ryan Davies). I featured him earlier in the year and his style of music is amazing (see post Introducing Marching Donald). Here are his thoughts on my post and his musical influences:
Read your article and it raises some interesting thoughts! I think I probably do agree with you. The lack of general opportunities in the 'olden days' and hard times produced these 'legends' who were very much do or die. I watched some documentary about Ozzy Osbourne other day, and although I'm not really a fan, I just thought it might be an interesting watch. And what he said was there was bugger all to do growing up and he didn't want to end up like his siblings just working in the factory. I don't think we have that as much these days because our general health, wellbeing and technological advances means times may not be as hard. This is maybe partly why sometimes we look abroad at other acts where we may not know too much about where they come from - Artists like (just using my library of knowledge!) Seasick Steve - He's from America, he's travelled around, looks like a tramp, has a beard etc. - Its different to what we know. Even the Tallest Man On Earth - he's from Sweden, and I have no real idea what Sweden is like but in my head he lives on a lonely farm, which seems interesting and intriguing to me!
I agree about the personality thing completely. You almost need to be a bit crazy, have something about you, (and probably die young too!). But of course that doesn't always mean they need to be out downing 20 pints at one time and having sex with 5 ladies every hour. Someone like Nick Drake who shied away from everything is equally as intriguing.
In trying to answer your question (finally!) there's obviously loads of musicians who have influenced me. But in terms of just those that are 'legends' I'd probably go quite cliché and say John Lennon. And with him its partly about his personality, his lyrics, his controversy, his attitude, but yet he had good music to back all this up. Again cliché, but Sgt Pepper is just ridiculously good. I could pick one of his solo albums and try and be a bit more obscure but meh. The creativity in the lyrics are brill. Of course they were tripping off their nuts, but that's what makes it interesting, you hear lyrics in songs such as Lucy in the Sky... and Mr Kite which are just a bit crazy and creative. And then you hear A Day in the Life which again is a bit acid-y but you still get a bit of mundane Liverpool-ness in their which brings it back a bit. And on the tripping off their heads thing - I almost want to see this in my musical heroes - I want them to be all that 'against the establishment' thing and do things that people like me can't do because we have to work a normal life - its almost like they are sticking up for us.
Again, I’m loving the answers that these artists have given us as it shows how much they love what they do. I listened to Ryan’s recommendation and I have to admit, I have NEVER listened to a Beatles album except for the greatest hits. Listening to the album was weird as I struggled with its over all sound, except for a few tracks ( highlight being “With a Little Help from my Friends”). I am always hit and miss with The Beatles as they have wrote some amazing tunes but they have wrote some material that I just don’t understand. This may be because as Ryan put it “tripping off their heads” and I do seem to struggle with music from that era as well. Maybe you had to live that life to fully appreciate the sound. I did want to try and add some music media but there are lots of copyright red tape stopping me. You thought spreading the word of music should be good thing and easier to do. So this may not be an album to add to my collection but I can now say I’ve now heard a Beatles album.