Each week we invite music lovers to share the songs that have soundtracked their lives. This week it's Barnaby Weir, frontman for The Black Seeds. Their new remix album, Refabricated, is out now.
Wild Thing – Jimi Hendrix
When I heard this song I was 11 or 12. I was just getting into playing guitar. I'd got a red Fender Strat copy for my birthday and Christmas present, which I was so pleased about. When I heard what Hendrix was doing with the guitar tone and his playing, I was inspired. It was a really exciting time because I was discovering my guitar and music that I liked. My world was changing fast in terms of being influenced by a lot of different kinds of music. This was a song I could play, having no guitar skills. It was one of the first "cool" songs I could play on the guitar. All the other stuff I obviously couldn't play then. Or now.
Magic Number - De La Soul
I was introduced to this by my older brother who had the album 3 Feet High and Rising. De La Soul were really interesting and there was something really fun and fresh about this. It just made a lot of sense to me. The band was funny, the artwork was colourful and it's a catchy track. It's one of the things that helped get me interested in hip-hop and that sound. I remember being at my best friend's house and putting that on and just dancing around freely in a youthful way and having a laugh.
Welcome to the Terrordome - Public Enemy
It's such deep New York hip-hop and such a different world to the suburban Wellington world I lived in but that's what I liked about it. Walking to school, listening to Welcome to the Terrordome on the safe streets of Highbury. Chuck D and Flavor Flav are part of my growing up. Even though I'm not from the States and I don't identify with their struggle, it seemed to make sense to me and opened my eyes to the world outside New Zealand and Wellington and the different struggles people are going through. Early Public Enemy was quite influential to my thinking.
Thank You Lord – Bob Marley
This was released around 67 but I didn't catch up with it until the late 90s/early 2000s. It's on Songs of Freedom, a really good CD boxset that has heaps of instrumentals, demos and early stuff that Marley did. The early 90s was such a big discovery time for music. Me and my young friends were discovering him, we were interested in weed and we were interested in this strange Jamaican sound. We'd heard 90s digidub and English dub that was verging on dancey, but from there looking back we discovered Bob Marley's music. I'm not Christian or deeply religious in any way but Thank You Lord is a song of gratitude and I liked that. Something about the melody is really cool. Still to this day it fills me with that sense of gratitude. It's a really young Marley, actually pre-him being full Rasta. I love this song.
Love and Happiness - Al Green
For me this is Al Green's classic era and just a really great song. The way it starts with the singing, then the foot tap comes in and then the guitar riff, it's a quite seemingly simple groove but you can feel the heaviness in it. It sounds really simple but it's a complex piece. I love all the tones in it and then his amazing voice comes in. I saw him in Auckland about 10 years ago, and that was amazing. But he played the upbeat Las Vegas show tune version of this and that was quite disappointing.
Beggin' - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
It's a really heavily sampled song but the original is amazing to hear. I don't like much of Frankie Valli's other stuff, he has a very cardigan, teddy bear style, but this track is just killer. There's a lot of passion in the vocal and it's got unusual sounds for its time. The beat is a breakbeat way before breakbeat. In hip-hop the breakdown's been sampled a lot. This is a fairly newish discovery for me. A friend played it at a party and I was like, "What the hell's that?" I already knew it through the samples but I didn't know what it was. It was like finding a song inside out.
You Again - Shihad
Shihad was the first proper concert as a young adult that I managed to get into. It was at the James Cabaret in Wellington. I was underage but I was close. I loved this song, the big guitar, the tone of the whole thing and just how massive it is. The riff is huge. It was catchy as well, and melodic. It was inspiring to see them and think, "Hey, you can be in a band, and it's an exciting and worthwhile thing to do." For me Shihad is part of the soundtrack to my life. Not so much on the day-to-day anymore - but I might go and play that song now.
- As told to Karl Puschmann