My Birthday Blog

Today’s my birthday so I’d like to pay tribute to the artists that have made me think the way I do by turning you on to them.  That and I’m kind of slacking off by not writing a real post. 🙂

First off, The Wildhearts…  One of the greatest, most underrated rock bands of all time.  Equal parts Ramones and Beach Boys.  Super solid songwriting and arrangements to die for.  If you like great hard rock and don’t have “Earth Vs. The Wildhearts” you have missed out.  Check out “Suckerpunch”

On the not-so-underrated side is Prince.  I won’t say I love everything the guy does, but I do own everything he’s ever released, and happily.  He writes more gems in a day than I can in a year.  And while I love the funky stuff, my absolute favorite song of his is “Sometimes It Snows In April”.  Stunningly beautiful song.

You don’t get to looking like me unless you’re a Metallica fan at some point.  I’ll admit they’ve fallen out of my top 10 in the last few years, but Master Of Puppets was the first song I ever learned on the guitar.  Treat yourself to this one:

Throughout my Classical training years, I was really drawn to the Romantic composers, particularly Tchaikovsky.  Amazing how such a troubled man could write such happy sounding music.  The Nutcracker is fantastic, but take a listen to the Sleeping Beauty Waltz.

Let’s talk comedy… Greg Behrendt.  He’s upbeat, he’s positive, he’s energetic.  I was into his stuff the first time I heard it.  And to find out he’s a super nice guy is even better.  Warner Bros won’t let me embed this clip of him, but check out “Pictionary” –

Eddie Izzard blows my mind every time.  First, I love his stuff because it’s not perfect.  He has no fear of throwing way too many tags at the audience until they stop working.  And any guy that do a whole hour of history jokes amazes me.  It’s smart and hilarious.  My favorite bit?  Darth Vader in the Death Star Cafeteria.

I’ve been a fan of Robin Williams since I was young.  His golf routine is some of the greatest 2 minutes of comedy ever written.

Chris Titus writes some of the most dangerous amazing comedy out there.  He can get so serious you can hear a pin drop in the theater and drop a huge punchline to bring it back.  He told me he calls it his “Springsteen Moment”.  Absolutely amazing.  I love his End Of The World Tour disc the best, but couldn’t find any clips online.  This is from Norman Rockwell is Bleeding.  Also great. 🙂

Anyone who knows me and doesn’t know I’m a Disney geek isn’t paying attention.  Walt always had this duality in his art of respect for the past (sanitized, yes, but it is entertainment after all) and always pushing forward into the future.  No matter what business or industry you’re in, storytelling is key.  And Walt and his crew were the best.  My favorites?  Captain Hook and Goofy.

And you can’t be a cartoon nut without liking the old Warner Bros stuff.  Daffy Duck as Robin Hood is my all-time favorite WB cartoon.  Buck and a quarter staff… Oh yeah.

I like to write visual music as much as possible, and I love movies.  Star Wars ranks right up there.  Yep, geek.  Deal with it.  I can watch Empire Strikes Back any time.

My other favorite movie is Eddie and The Cruisers.  If you haven’t seen it, get it from Netflix or something.  One of the most entertaining/over-the-top/cheesy rock n’ roll movies ever.  And fantastic music by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band.

These are the influences that I absorb when I sit down to write.  Bits and pieces of each flow into what I do and become my own.  And to all these artists in my 3-th year, I say thank you. 🙂

Phil Johnson

PS… Suppose I should give you something of mine too…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *