Each week we ask music lovers to share seven songs that have shaped their life. This week it's The Feelers' main man James Reid, who is currently on an acoustic solo tour, playing Auckland and the North Shore next weekend, before The Feelers reform for a 20th anniversary tour this summer with Stellar*.
Sober – Tool
I can't remember when I first heard it but I remember that when I did it was like, "Holy s***." I was amazed by Tool's music. They have a very cool sound. It's interesting because it's heavy but it's not heavy, at the same time. If that makes sense. We all got right into it.
I've listened to the new one - Fear Inoculum - and did the whole thing. I sat down, put the headphones on and blacked out at night just listening to it. I love it. For me their music's a journey. That's the beauty of Tool, you absolutely immerse yourself in it. Anyone who can get away with 11-minute songs has to be doing something right.
The Beatles – A Day in the Life
I was the youngest of five and got the hand-me-down music, which was great. In some ways I was nine years ahead of my time, because I was listening to my older sister's record collection.
This is an amazing song. The imagery, the storytelling ... it's just great and resonated with me. I love the two separate parts of the song, John Lennon wrote one part and Paul McCartney wrote the other. It's like two songs put together. When I was learning the guitar it was a song I really enjoyed playing.
Where Do the Children Play - Cat Stevens
This is one of the records we'd play on family holidays a lot. We'd go down south to Queenstown, Wanaka and we had a nice place up near the Sounds, which was awesome.
This song's sort of a statement against "the man". It's talking about building skyscrapers and telling us when to live and when to die. If you're gonna be building all this s*** and not caring about humanity, if all you're caring about is material wealth or money then what happens to the kids? Where are they going to play? That's what I got out of it. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek. It's a brilliant song.
Human – The Killers
I love The Killers. They're one of my favourite bands and I love this song. It was the last song on a playlist we'd listen to before The Feelers went on stage. It's a really cool one to get hyped up to. You can feel the energy and be like, "Right! Here we go!" It's a lot better than when I used to play sport. We used to play and sing along to Queen's We Are the Champions in the van going to games.
Bat Out of Hell – Meatloaf
My sister got this record and used to thrash the s*** out of it. Just absolutely hammered it. It was playing non-stop. What I loved about this song was the opera style. It was a rock opera with a story, which I liked. What I enjoyed was how it sucked you into this epic tale of love. Epic is the only description for it.
My brother Donald and I started writing a rock opera years ago. We were doing a rock opera about vampires before the vampire thing started becoming popular, before the Twilight movies and all that. We never actually finished it but boy, it was fun writing it.
Low – Flo Rida
I first heard this in the movie Tropic Thunder. Hearing it in the context of that film I just thought, "Oh my God, what a cool song." It's not something that I'd normally listen to but it's a really cool song and I love stumbling across something like that and going, "S***!" The more I listened to it, the more I liked it. It made me look at other similar songs, like T-Pain and those guys and I went down a whole rabbit hole. For me, Low was the start of that rabbit hole.
Little Wonder - David Bowie
The Earthling record that this is from was just a revolution. It was something completely new. I'd been playing around with drum n' bass but when I heard this, I was like, "Oh, okay. That's how it's supposed to be done." I took a lot of this record onboard for The Feelers' first record, Supersystem. Little Wonder directly inspired our song Pressure Man, with the drumbeat and the weird guitaring.
We were really into experimenting with electronic sounds and trying to bring them into rock. When this came out it was like, "Brilliant, we're on the right track." I'd bought a bunch of Akai samplers and had linked them together and was doing lots of sampling and looping and manipulating sounds. This is before computer programs like ProTools or Logic. Back then it wasn't easy, it was quite a mission to create these sounds. Now, you can manipulate the sound so easily but back then it was more of a chore. You had to have a vision of what you wanted to do and really work towards it.
To load a song, you had 10 of those little floppy discs and you had to get them in the right order and have them all numbered perfectly. Then you had to wait for them to load in … Backing something up would take forever. I tell ya, I don't miss those days at all.
*As told to Karl Puschmann