The Bronx’s Matt Caughthran: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life
While having a rifle through his record collection, The Bronx vocalist Matt Caughthran reminisces about having loads of hair, sonic evil and summoning heavy metal thunder.
The first song I remember hearing…
Laurence Rosenthal – Fantasy Island Theme Tune (1977)
“The theme music from [U.S. TV series] Fantasy Island is embedded in my memory. It reminds me of being a super-young kid with a ton of hair and nothing to lose. I was raised on television and it was this show about a magical place where all your wildest dreams would come true, but there was always some sort of trouble and the staff always seemed to fix the problem. There are a lot of TV themes that remind me of being a kid but Fantasy Island stands out.”
The song that reminds me of my childhood…
Iron Maiden – 2 Minutes To Midnight (1984)
“I was relatively young when I heard this song. My sister gave me her Powerslave record from her CD collection and it genuinely changed my life. My mom is super cool, but after she heard 2 Minutes To Midnight, it was the only song she refused to never let me listen to, for some reason. She legitimately thought Iron Maiden were channelling Satan! I’ll never forget the lyrics, ‘The golden goose is on the loose and never out of season.’ There’s something about that song that pisses parents off, but that only confirms that it’s perfect, especially when you’re growing up.”
The song that inspired me to be in a band…
Pavement – Range Life (1994)
“It was right after I first got into punk rock that I also started to discover all these rad alternative bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. On this song from their Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain album, [vocalist] Stephen Malkmus talks about going on tour and it’s one of the best songs ever written. It’s actually amazing. I love listening to punk music and playing punk music, but for some reason this was the first song that really connected with me in that way. It seemed to capture the full experience of what it means to be in a band. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to do what you’re hearing the band doing.”
The first of my songs I heard on the radio…
The Bronx – White Tar (2003)
“Hearing this song being played on the radio totally blew me away. It was a life-changing moment, obviously. I heard it on a radio station in San Francisco. It was so cool. When The Bronx started out, everything happened for us so quickly. It was like that montage in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story [2007 comedy film]. We’d just finished recording and then this was suddenly being played on the radio. It was like, ‘Oh shit, we’ve got a couple of songs! Oh shit, we’re on the radio! Oh shit, we’ve signed to Island Def Jam!’ It was this amazing series of, ‘What the fuck just happened?’ moments. Thinking back on all of that reminds me how awesome being in a band is and how truly awesome life can be sometimes.”
The song that’s picked me up when I’ve been feeling down…
Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild (1968)
“There’s a whole bunch of songs that cheer me up, but I’ve gotta give it up to Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild because it’s just so awesome. When you break it down it’s just this simple, basic, macho man song. And that riff! That right there is heavy metal thunder, baby!”
My favourite song to sing live…
The Bronx – Knifeman (2008)
“Okay, right now, it’s this one. There’s something about it that makes people go nuts. If I could pick a Mariachi El Bronx song, I’d probably pick one of the slower ones. But if we’re talking live, Knifeman is the jam that can get anybody to move.”
The song I sing when I do karaoke…
The Animals – Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (1965)
“This is a cholo anthem gangbangers use to describe their best intentions; like, it’s not their fault they’re gangbangers, they’re just misunderstood. It’s a song about being chosen by a certain lifestyle and having the best will, but you may not live the best life. The Animals were the shit, man.”
The song that I’m proudest of…
The Bronx Discography
“This is tough, so I’ll just say all of them. I mean, seriously dude, I’ve been in the trenches with every single song and there’s a piece of all of us in each one. There’s so much life and realness in every song so I can’t single one out.”
The song I’d like played at my funeral…
2Pac – Picture Me Rollin' (1996)
“Believe it or not, this changes daily for me, but this song is such a jam and I listen to 2Pac a lot. With this song especially, at the end, he goes, ‘Any time y’all wanna see me again, rewind this track right here, close your eyes and picture me rollin’’, and it’s so dope. When you listen to a song like this, it really hits you how crazy life is.”
The Bronx’s latest album The Bronx V is out now via Cooking Vinyl.
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