Idol Listening

Famous Metal Musicians Share Their Completely Un-Metal Van Playlists

  • Kevin Stewart-Panko
Step into this most un-metal listening chamber!
Step into this most un-metal listening chamber!

Hey everyone! It’s been a long while, but I’m back in “Bravest Man in Metal” guise, and while I duck the virtual tomatoes and try to make myself heard over your collective booing and hissing, allow me to briefly introduce the topic of this edition of my all-too-infrequent column.

As much as the mainstream people in your life probably picture you subsisting on a diet of that “kill your dog, rape your mother shit,” or you’ve put up a front that says “if it ain’t all about pounding drums, distorted guitars and screaming vocals, it ain’t shit,” chances are very few of us are listening to metal all the time. Ironically, probably one of the most sacred sanctuaries for non-metal/extreme music that you’ll ever find is the touring band’s van. Think about it: you write, record and rehearse for indeterminate amounts of time so as to hit the road in order to play loud metal music to loud metal people on a nightly basis. A hundred times out of a hundred, the other bands you’re playing with are all as loud and metal as you. If your ears aren’t begging for a change of pace, then you’re obviously more metal than metal itself. But if you’re like most of the rest of us, you develop some appreciation for the lighter sides of life.

So, here’s what’s up: I sent around a cattle call to a bunch of bands, asking them one simple question: what are the top five non-metal/extreme albums that play in your van? Some folks only mentioned artists, but not specific albums; a couple mentioned more than five; some mentioned their own personal playlists and not their entire band’s; Carmine Laietta from Hull went all out on the explanation and justification of his selections. Whatever. It’s all good, and the results follow. Bedroom black metal types, enjoy making fun of the unabashed, lack of troo-ness on display below.

Nathan Carson (Witch Mountain)
Air Supply – Greatest Hits
Pink Floyd – Animals
Longmont Potion Castle
Steely Dan – Royal Scam
Weird Al – Alpocalypse

Dylan Walker (Full of Hell)
Public Enemy
La Roux

Ben Ward (Orange Goblin)
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
Bruce Springsteen – The River
Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue
Jeff Wayne – War of the Worlds
Johnny Cash – The Sun Recordings

Pentangle – Solomon’s Seal
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
The Faces – A Nod is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse
Humble Pie – Smokin
The Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa

Torch Runner
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
Anything By Bonnie Prince Billy
Four Seasons – Greatest Hits
Less Than Jake – Losing Streak
Cursive – The Ugly Organ

Lorde – Pure Heroine
Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix #1
Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
Amigo the Devil – Diggers
Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

Tenacious D – Tenacious D
Paramore – Riot!
Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle
Hall & Oates – The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates
Huey Lewis & The News – Greatest Hits

Maid Myriad
Ace of Base – The Sign
Marcy Playground – Shapeshifter
The Cure – Disintegration
The Police – Synchronicity
Michael Jackson – Dangerous

The Drip
Kenny Loggins
A Night at the Roxbury Soundtrack
John Farnham – Rad Soundtrack
Dr Dre
Vince Dicola
Trey Songz – Trigga
Deftones – White Pony
Paramore – Self Titled
Letlive – Fake History
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

Circle of Dead Children
One Direction – Take Me Home
Justin Bieber – My World 2.0 and Believe
Brad Paisley – Hits Alive
Darius Rucker – Learn to Live
Tigers Jaw – Self Titled

Vise Massacre
Tommy Guerrero – From the Soil to the Soul
Grand Funk Railroad – We’re an American Band
Neil Young – Neil Young
Blondie – The Best of Blondie
TheEagles – Hotel California

A Fucking Elephant
Ace of Base – The Sign
Sufjan Stevens – Greetings from Michigan
Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine
Slint – Spiderland
Portishead – Dummy

Sisters Of Mercy – First and Last and Always
Nick Cave – All
Him – Razorblade Romance
Skinny Puppy – Too Dark Park
Christian Death – Only Theatre of Pain

Fucking Invincible
The Smiths/Morrissey
A Tribe Called Quest
Sky Ferreira

The Cutthroats 9
Flipper – Generic
Big Black – The Hammer Party
Killing Joke – Killing Joke
Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks
The Stooges – Raw Power

The Great Sabatini
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits
Beck – Odelay
Nas – Illmatic
The Frogs – It’s Only Right and Natural
Madvillain – Madvillainy

ZZ Top – Tejas
VUM – Psychotronic Jukebox
Lee Hazelwood – Love and Other Crimes
Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentleman We are Floating in Space
Stooges – Funhouse

Elvis Presley – Live in Las Vegas
Black Merda – Black Merda
Pink Floyd – Animals
Bobby Beausoleil – Lucifer Rising
Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump

Secret Cutter
Phillip Roebuck- Fever Pitch
Nick Drake- Five Leaves Left
My Bloody Valentine- Loveless
Descendents- Somery
Wu-Tang Clan- Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

16 Horsepower – Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes
Pink Floyd – The Wall
Mr Bungle – California
Zz Top – Rio Grande Mud
Longmont Potion Castle – Various Prank Call Recordings

Matt Harvey (Exhumed)
M83 – Saturdays = Youth
Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
Stars – Set Yourself on Fire
Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Alex Hofmann (Fallujah)
Radiohead – Kid A
The Smiths – Greatest Hits, Vol 1.
Empire of the Sun – Ice on the Dune
Ice Choir – Afar
The Police – Greatest Hits

Ryllyeh (Sahhr)
Ratt – Out of the Cellar
Psychic TV – Dreams Less Sweet
Urge Overkill – Saturation
Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup
Diamanda Galas – The Litanies of Satan

Lord Mantis
Swans – The Great Annihilator
Waylon Jennings – Greatest Hits
Skinny Puppy – Too Dark Park
Wumpscut – Bunker Gate Seven
The Sisters of Mercy – First and Last and Always

The Inspector Cluzo
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
AC/ DC – Highway to Hell
James Brown – Live at Appolo
Led Zeppelin 2
Neil Young – Harvest

Drunk Horse – In Tongues
Bloodrock – 1
David Allen Coe – Penitentiary Blues
Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Next
Mamas and The Papas – Deliver

Musk Ox
Amiina – Kurr
Rachel’s – Music for Egon Schiele
Dhafer Youssef – Birds Requiem
Tigran Hamasyan – Shadow Theater
Esmerine – Dalmak

Shawn King (Child Bite)
Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak
Emerson Lake & Palmer – Tarkus
Tom Petty – Greatest Hits
The Intelligence – Fake Surfers
The Dickies – Killer Klowns from Outer Space
BONUS: We used to put on Mephiskapheles’ God Bless Satan quite a bit until one of our vans died while listening to it. That album has since been banned from the van.

Ides of Gemini
R. Kelly – Double Up
A Flock of Seagulls – Listen
Depeche Mode – Violator
The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs
Bauhaus – 1979-1983

Mike IX Williams – Eyehategod/Corrections House
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street/Beggars Banquet
Hot Snakes – Suicide Invoice
David Allen Coe – Longhaired Redneck
Devo – Are We Not Men/Duty Now for the Future
Soulja Slim – The Streets Made Me

Carmine Laietta – Hull

Steely Dan – Aja
I love this record so much! I was originally put onto it by Aaron Deal (back when Salome was still a band and he was their drummer) while packing a bowl in their van. Songs like “Deacon Blues” and “Aja” really make this record a classic for me. Also, this record was made at the pinnacle of analog recording, so each of the instruments have their own proper place in the mix with such and honest and full tone. The record just incredible! Not everyone in the band is into Steely Dan, but it still gets heard in our van.

Hum – You’d Prefer an Astronaut
This record is one of the most influential and pivotal records in my life. While this record is still heavy in it’s own right, I don’t think that it qualifies as a metal record, so I’m going to list it! I remember when I first heard the break out single “Stars” when I was a teenager and absolutely hated it and immediately wrote off the band. Then one day in study hall, my good buddy showed me track two, “The Pod.” The song had such a strong affect on me that I made my high school band cover it, and would put it as the first track on every mix tape I ever made. I fell head over heels in love with the whole record and stayed that way for years on end. To this day, this record still gets regular play in my rotation of music. The song writing still holds strong and the guitar work was and still is ground breaking. I only wish that they’d release a re-master; the album always did need a bit more separation and dynamics.

Huey Lewis and the News – Sports
What needs to be said about this record that is not totally obvious? Every song on this record is a hit and easy to sing along to, and extremely catchy in a non-punishing way. It can take someone out of a bad mood and put them in a happy place. Ideal for day driving, or post-show party van vibes, or at low volumes for softly humming along to at night to stay awake while driving. It is widely known that this is a genius record and always a win!

Faith No More – The Real Thing
Well, I actually could say that all of the FNM albums get played by me in the van, but for the purposes of this list I will just pluck The Real Thing out of the bag. Dubbed onto a cassette from a friend’s CD while in the fifth grade, this was the very first album I’ve ever owned. While this record does have some metal moments and some heavily Sabbath inspired riffs (because Jim Martin!), I still don’t believe that this record can be categorized as metal, or rock, or funk, or pop for that matter. It’s an awesome blend of things that at the time had never been heard before. I listened to this cassette so many times that the tape broke, so I opened it up, and scotch taped it back together and played it to death again. This record also gets regularly rotated in my library. This is yet another record which all folks that ride in the van may not enjoy, but those guys can eat a bag of dicks. P.S. Good luck trying to sing along to Patton. It’s near impossible.

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
Like Hum’s You’d Prefer an Astronaut, this is yet another record that shaped me as a person and a musician. Produced by Butch Vig, it sounds absolutely incredible with layers upon layers of guitars and vocals and shimmery, shiny cymbals. Billy Corgan’s vocals were still mostly at the stage where he was still mimicking My Bloody Valentine, so he was mostly singing in soft wispy coos instead if his more percussive nasal/throaty singing that developed on Melancholy and still uses now. Although every song on this record holds a special place in my heart, the two that really tug at the ol’ heart strings are “Soma” and “Geek USA.” From a song writing perspective, both songs are absolute genius monster tracks! Corgan’s guitar solo in “Soma” is up in my top three for greatest of all time. Fast and furious “Geek USA” is the most metal non-metal song I’ve ever heard. All the guitar work on this record is nothing short of brilliant, but each guitar lick was beautifully accented and complemented by Jimmy Chamberlain’s unparalleled drumming making this album an instant rock and roll classic. On top of all that, it’s highly sing-a-long-able in the van on both high and low volumes and is generally liked by all. This record has and will never leave the hard drive on any musical device I will ever carry.

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