If two of my favorite bands, who have each changed the face of rock in their own ways, started out listening to less-than-great music in their formative years (but eventually surpassed such influences), where does that leave me, having them in the place where they had these other less-than-great acts? I suppose it would be easier to name names.
I read part of the biography, Rivers' edge, about Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. From general Weezer fandom, I knew he was a Kiss fan, but I read this section where, as a teenager, he learned every single Kiss album, playing them with his first, high school band. Kiss? If Kiss influenced anything in Weezer, it was certainly not in Pinkerton. (I guess I can't boldly state that, as I've only ever heard "ROCK 'N' ROLL ALL NIGHT".)
I read this book, Please Kill Me: The oral history of punk, and in it there is this section where The Ramones play in the UK and The Clash were there, just worshipping them. The Ramones? Okay, I can see this a bit more clearly with The Clash, but if The Ramones influenced The Clash, it was certainly not in London Calling. I remember a punk band (could have been the Clash) saying something about the era being just kids in the audience saying that they (themselves) could play better than the Sex Pistols, and then the kids just set out to do just that.
I guess I could say the same about Morrissey, who has released a collection (essentially a personal mixtape) of his influences, Morrissey: Under the Influence, since one of the songs is from The Ramones. And I guess I could mention something about the Smiths covering "Golden Lights," by Twinkle, but I don't know anything about her original recording or other music. Just that that cover by the Smiths is bad.
(One of the Amazon reviews of Under the Influence is particularly amusing. Entitled "I wish *I* were under the influence while listening to this," he notes
"All that is My Own" - Nico
I really hate Nico. I really hate this song. I don't hate this song as much as I hate "Fire and Ice".)
So where does this leave me, the aspiring musician? I'm certain these groups weren't the only ones Weezer, The Clash, and Morrissey (and The Smiths) listened to, but they sure do seem to play a large part in the start of their musical careers.
I guess that is kind of a selfish, arrogant, partially ignorant question, but I'm going to pose it regardless.