Aimee Interrupter: The 10 songs that changed my life

Interrupters’ vocalist Aimee reflects on her life in music – from NOFX and Rancid to Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen…

Aimee Interrupter: The 10 songs that changed my life
Ian Winwood
Jimmy Fontaine

The Interrupters’ punk rock queen Aimee Interrupter delves into her eventful past and pays tribute to the redemptive power of music…

The first song that I remember hearing...

Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)

“I remember seeing the music video on MTV as a young child and it totally terrified me. For anyone who hasn’t seen it before, it has dancing zombies in it! That was the scariest thing I’d ever seen, but it was also intriguing and so amazing. I loved the song, and although the video scared the life out of me, I still wanted to see and hear more of the guy responsible.”

The first song that I ever moshed to...

NOFX – Linoleum (1994)

“Where I grew up there weren’t a lot of punk shows, but we did have house parties that could get pretty rowdy. At one of them, I remember a friend of mine taught me how to slam dance to Linoleum by NOFX, which is a great song. He taught me how to move in the pit, and how to do it so that I wouldn’t get hurt. Also, a crowd in Texas once crowd-surfed me around a venue, which inadvertently fixed a bad neck that I had. That was pretty cool.”

The song that inspired me to make music...

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock 'N Roll (1981)

“I first heard this song when I was eight years old and it literally changed my life. The thing about Joan Jett is that she is fearless. When I sang along to her music it made me feel totally free of the fear that I felt at all other times. It’s only three minutes long, but for those three minutes I felt completely free. This song means so much to me.”

The song that reminds me of heartbreak...

Bob Marley – No Woman No Cry (1974)

“When I was a kid I was placed in a foster home and moved 350 miles away from everything I knew: my mom, my friends, my boyfriend, everything. It was a great loss that caused me a hell of a lot of heartbreak. But during this time I used to take a Greyhound bus back to see my mom and on those long drives I would listen to No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley. I remember thinking that the lyrics were written specifically for me.”

The song that picks me up when I'm down...

The Bodysnatchers – Let's Do Rock Steady (1980)

“This is a song from the soundtrack to the [1981] movie Dance Craze, which we listen to every night before we go onstage. The energy of this particular song is so strong that it makes me forget that I might be tired, I might be depressed, or that I might have anything else wrong in my life. If we’ve played five shows in a row and I’m starting to feel that I can’t do another, all I need to do is blast this and those thoughts are banished from my mind. It’s perfect.”

The song that I hope I never hear again...

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (1994)

“I love this song so much that I’ve burned myself out with it. I used to live in New York and I was going through a really dark time, so I would sit at home drinking wine and listening to this over and over again, feeling so lonely and hopeless. I do love the song, but it just reminds me of a desperate time in my life.”

My favourite song to play live...

The Interrupters – Take Back The Power (2014)

“No matter where we are in the world, when we play this song people sing along, arm in arm. It’s a really unifying thing, and it reminds me how powerful a force music is. I love how everyone joins forces as one when we play this.”

The song that fills me with punk rock joy...

Rancid – Olympia WA (1995)

“My family is from Olympia, in Washington, so this song really speaks to me. It pulls at the heartstrings. The Interrupters just played with Rancid in front of 20,000 people, actually, and when they played this I realised how much it’s stood the test of time. It reminds me that there are other people out there who feel the same way that I do, and I’m not alone.”

The Interrupters song of which I am proudest...

The Interrupters – Easy On You (2014)

“The lyric came to me one day and it was one of the rarest times when I actually heard a voice clearly in my head. So I brought the song to Kevin [Bivona], our guitar player, and he wrote the chords, and in doing so this became the first song The Interrupters wrote together.”

The song I'd like played at my funeral...

Leonard Cohen – Going Home (2012)

“When I listen to this it reminds me that it’s okay to feel like you don’t fit in. The lyric is really a metaphor for leaving this life and moving on, ‘Going home without my sorrow / Going home, this time tomorrow.’ I feel like there’s something about dying that means I get to go home, and that’s what I think of when I hear this song.”

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