Playlist,  Song Playlist

Local Men Inspiration Playlist: Part 1

As a follow up from our Local Ladies Inspiration Playlist in November, we have curated the same for local men in the Cincinnati music scene! These men are appreciative of and inspired by various female musicians. Here’s who moves them to make great music! Part 2 will be released on February 14, 2016.  




Aaron Watkins of Commercial

Aaron Watkins (Commercial, Mardou, Butt)-

“Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna

“Not just the song but Madonna is a massive influence to both music, fashion, art, and redefining gender roles. For her time I feel like this song was probably seen as being pretty edgy, and touches on issues of independence in the face of traditional ideals. I love her defiance of her father, and the idea that a father figure can have control over his daughters body and her choices, especially regarding pregnancy rights which is still a controversial issue today. Also, it’s a kick ass song.”


Brent Stroud (Brent Stroud, Grotesque Brooms, Mark Zero and the Cavemanagers)-

Brent Stroud
Brent Stroud

“Gloria” by Patti Smith

“I’d seen this album around and heard about it for years but never bothered or gotten around to getting it. But, I found it for cheap one day and had a feeling and got it. This is the first song on the album. It was one of the first things I’d heard in a long time, that made me feel like the first time I heard a lot of the stuff I still love as a teenager and also, when I felt like I needed something creatively. The whole album is great. So free and raw and powerful, simple but somewhat higher art lyrically and with arrangement, sprawling and extending out in so many directions. Just a lot of creative power packed into one recording. Also, “Gloria” is just one of those soaring, anthem like songs and this version has so much of the spark of what makes rock and roll so immediate and great.”



Ringo Jones (Mad Anthony)-

Ringo Jones of Mad Anthony
Ringo Jones of Mad Anthony

“Enough” by When Particles Collide

“Perhaps what’s most inspiring about Sasha and WPC is the trail they’re blazing for young women everywhere. Sasha works in the male dominated field of Chemistry as a High School teacher Monday thru Friday, BUT on the weekends and breaks she trades her lab coat for a Flying V, criss-crossing the country playing loud, facemelting, rock n’ roll.”





Jerri Queen of Vacation

Jerri Queen (Vacation, Black Planet, Mardou)-

“Saints” by The Breeders

“Kim Deal’s voice has haunted me ever since I was a tiny child. Her deep and sometimes harsh vocal delivery is still like sand paper to my callouses; a necessary removal of the dead, and still to this date Deal’s is my favorite voice in rock and roll.  Some of my fondest memories are long drives with my father blasting the Breeders’ album, Last Splash.  He was a huge Pixies fan and when the Breeders burst out onto the scene, I fell in love immediately. This song in particular I remember conjuring up images of a fucked up carnival scene, which scared and excited the hell out of the tiny me. The stop-start rhythms were so unpredictable that it made me anxious but the melody was always there to sooth. Beyond the music, I’ve always had a deep rooted respect and admiration for this band because of their Dayton, Ohio roots, being based only 40 minutes from my hometown of Cincinnati. Something about Ohio bands just makes sense to me; their appearance is never flashy, their music is always to the point and their lyrics reek of the Midwest. I guess honesty is the best way to describe it, and that is so hard to come by in music. I recently had the insane experience of opening for the Breeders on their 20 year anniversary tour for the album, Last Splash. Meeting and hanging out with the band was cool and all, but the most captivating aspect was the ability to watch them perform from side-stage night after night. Elapsed time did not matter, personal battles did not matter, crowds did not matter; their performances were able to catapult me back to the car-seat every time without fail and that’s why they are in my opinion, the greatest rock and roll band, fronted by the greatest rock and roll star of all time.  Luv you Kim (and Kelley).”



Brad Gibson (Saturn Batteries)-

Brad Gibson of Saturn Batteries
Brad Gibson of Saturn Batteries

“Our Deal” by Best Coast

“The first three seconds of this song are all it takes for me to get into it. Lead Woman, Bethany Cosentino, delivers an ascending, Beach Boys type vocal line that tugs on the heart strings. It’s like the sunrise in hyper speed. Great hook. Great pop song.”






Eric Stein (The Grotesque Brooms)-

Eric Stein of The Grotesque Brooms
Eric Stein of The Grotesque Brooms

“Ain’t Got No / I Got Life” by Nina Simone

Nina Simone carved out her own sound drawing from various multiple musical genres. Not an easy feat. A haunting and jubilant voice. An expressive evocative performer. And she “didn’t give a ____” about what was expected of her way before it became trendy to not give a _____.  Y’think that didn’t take guts? It wasn’t like buying a hat or an earring at target and ‘accessorizing’ your look. Troubled soul. Troubled life.
Yet the rawness and liberty she captured on record and stage I think makes an indelible mark on you. something any musician or artist would love to pull off. And very few do.”



Tim Willig (The Slippery Lips)-

Tim Willig of The Slippery Lips
Tim Willig of The Slippery Lips

“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is one of my top five artists, I’m constantly in awe of her as a person, as a songwriter and a singer and just an artist. She tells a story in a way that isn’t necessarily groundbreaking and was certainly typical for country songs of the day, but it was her execution of them which vastly outshines any of her contemporaries and peers.
I keep a copy of Jolene in my wallet at all times cause it’s the greatest song ever written, but I chose this one instead. She wrote this for Porter Wagoner when they both realized that she would never be as great as she could be if she stayed on his show, but she still felt she owed him for the opportunity he had trusted in her. The lines  
“Good-bye, please don’t cry / We both know that I’m not / What you need / I will always love you,” are both heartbreaking and inspiring in both their depth and humility. and are followed later by the lines.
“I hope life, treats you kind / And I hope that you have all / That you ever dreamed of ” and you realize that she isn’t singing this just for Wagner but for herself. She wants what she’s always dreamed as well, she wants all too, but she cant really say that as a women in 1973. And dammit she got it, Porter Wagoner doesn’t have what amounts to a small town named after him.
It’s a beautiful song. It’s heartbreaking and most of us have been on one side of that or the other. Dolly Parton is a truth and I love her and if you get me drunk I’ll tell you about it for hours.”



Adam Shelton (The Perfect Children)-

Adam Shelton of the Perfect Children
Adam Shelton of the Perfect Children

“Mama (1987 Peel Session)” by Sugarcubes

Everyone knows about Bjork, but no one really talks about the first Sugarcubes record, Life’s Too Good.  When it came out in 1988, I was in the 8th grade. I saw their video for “Birthday” and bought their record right away. Her performance on the whole record is flawless. This was right when people were starting to compartmentalize music into the “alternative” genre, but her unique voice lunged out and separated the band from all of that: her range of approaches goes from whisper to growl, sing to talk, scream to laugh. She could be playful and fragile. In concert, she fully gives herself over to the performance without pretense. In these ways I can’t help but be reminded of HR from Bad Brains.

Bringing it full circle locally, her vocals on the record remind me of Kristen Kreft in specific ways, though they don’t necessarily sound alike: their power and presence, and where the vocals sit in the music and it seems the music was built up and around the vocal melodies initially, instead of “retrofitting” them in after the music was written.”


John Hays of Flesh Mother

John Hays (Flesh Mother, Torn’d Up Dudes)-

“Handsome and Gretel” by Babes in Toyland

“The first time I heard this song I couldn’t believe the aggressiveness behind it without being a corny metal song. Her voice was so nasty but not over the top and excessive. The lyrics were ugly and real and don’t seem concerned with how some people would perceive them. A legit perfect punk song.”




**Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 out tomorrow! 

An avid rock musician and enthusiast as well as a rock history buff.

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