20 Albums That Influenced Me: Pete Crigler

by Pete Crigler

20_150As I sit here on Christmas Eve, thinking about the 20 years of Daily Vault and the almost 31 years I’ve spent on this planet, I look back on some of the most influential and life changing music I’ve ever heard. This list brings back plenty of memories for me and hopefully, dear reader, it will do the same for you!


20. Tripping Daisy – Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb (1998)

Not the type of record I was expecting after hearing “I Got A Girl,” but it’s a record I’ve always liked. It’s one of those records I bought on cassette in high school at the local store and listened to intently. I didn’t necessarily get it at first, but I liked the melodies I was hearing. This was definitely was the first fruitful steps into discovering indie rock and music that was quite outside the mainstream.


19. Sugar – Copper Blue (1992)

I discovered this album when I started raiding my local library’s music collection. I was only 13 at the time, but right away I fell in love with “The Slim” and “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” the latter of which is still one of the best songs ever written. A real formative time in my life when I was trying new things and discovering the great rewards in the real world.


18. Mr. Bungle – California (1999)

One of those records that’s hard to categorize but has always been one of my favorites. It’s really aggressive and quick one second, beautiful and melancholic the next. Mike Patton has always been one of my all time favorites, and this album allowed me to discover his power away from Faith No More. I was definitely was one of the only kids in high school listening to stuff like “None of Them Knew They Were Robots.”


17. For Squirrels – Example (1995)

I had always heard about the tragedy of this band: two members and tour manager killed in a van crash. But it wasn’t until I stumbled across this disc in a bargain bin in high school that I was completely transformed. This is one of the best alt rock records of the ‘90s, and I discovered it at the perfect time in life. Loud and heavy with a nice dash of R.E.M. melodicism made for a hell of a record, and one I still recommend to friends today.


16. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle (The 20 Greatest Hits) (1975)

This album always reminds me of driving around with my grandfather in his pickup truck. Through him, I discovered CCR, Ray Price, and Marty Robbins, not to mention the suffering of most of Skynyrd and Dan Fogelberg. But CCR’s songs opened my eyes and introduced me at a young age to the world and joys of classic rock and pop from the ‘60s, something I still enjoy to this day.


15. The Ramones - Ramones Mania (1988)

Gifted to me by a friend (Matt Cade) when I was but a lad, it opened my eyes to the possibilities of punk rock. This really set me on the path that I’ve been on ever since with punk and hardcore.


14. Nirvana – MTV Unplugged In New York (1994)

I had liked Nirvana for awhile, but it wasn’t until the beginning of middle school at the end of the ‘90s that I really fell hard. Finding this album was a revelation to me. It completely blew my mind and set me up to listen to any type of grunge I could get my hands on, which I still do to this day.


13. Primus – Pork Soda (1993)

One of the first bands I can remember getting devoted to. I remember buying this on cassette at the department store on a trip with my father when I was a wee lad – a very good memory from a very productive time in my life. This is not necessarily an all-around fantastic record, but it’s definitely one of those that made me who I am today.


12. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Singles (1992)

Without a doubt the greatest soundtrack that’s been released in my lifetime. It reminds me of annoying family members on my (birth) father’s side because they never liked anything loud or heavy (hahaha). I mean, you’ve got Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, The Wilson sisters of Heart doing a Zeppelin cover, and of course, Mother Love Bone’s classic “Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns,” one of the greatest songs EVER! What more could you want from a movie soundtrack?


11. Lamb Of God – Ashes Of The Wake (2004)

One of the most recent discs here, presented to me by my college bestie (Brian Shareff) and “Headbanger’s Ball” on MTV2. This opened my eyes to how great metal was in the early 2000’s and set me on a new path, discovering everything that was heavy and loud. The fact they were from Virginia and are one of the best metal bands around has never hurt either. This album helped me become a massive fan of one of the all-time greats.


10. Dead Milkmen – Big Lizard In My Backyard (1985)

Another wonderful discovery, courtesy of the library’s cassette collection. A real eye opener that helped me to discover the wonders of punk rock. I was a mere lad of around 13, a perfect time for discovering punk. In the end, this is a record that really helped make me the musical connoisseur I am today.


9. Pearl Jam – Yield (1998)

Without a doubt my favorite Pearl Jam disc. I was already a big fan of the band, but I completely devoured this record and am still in love with to this day. To me, this really is the last great Pearl Jam release. It came at a time when I was discovering music outside of my comfort zone but still had plenty of room for the music that transformed and shaped my fragile little mind in the first place.


8. Green Day – American Idiot (2004)

One of the definitive records of my college years. This is a disc I picked up freshman year and listened to almost religiously for the next four-plus years. It was a record that had a permanent place in my mind, and even now listening to those songs, I’m reminded of an easier time in life when things were simple, I had my friends around and anything seemed possible. It was just a great time in my life and this record will always be the soundtrack to that period.


7. Blind Melon – Soup (1995)

I had never really had been a fan of the band until after singer Shannon Hoon’s death; then, I think I saw a performance of “Galaxie” somewhere and I was hooked. I must’ve picked this up on cassette at Sam Goody sometime in ’96 and was completely mesmerized. It truly is one of the greatest records of the ‘90s. It manages to transcend “No Rain” and shows the power of a really messed up life nearing its untimely end. Practically all of my friends in high school fell in love with this record and were more than dismayed at why so many others hated the hell out of it. This is still one of my 10 favorite albums, ever.


6. Alice in Chains – Music Bank (1999)

One of my favorite Christmas memories ever revolved around getting this highly desired box set as a gift from my momma. I really liked grunge at that point in life, but upon listening to everything Alice had to offer, I was completely hooked and they quickly became one of my favorite bands. This discovery set me off on a journey through the Northwest musical territory, wherein I ended up discovering so much more music that I grew to love throughout my life.


5. Suicide Machines – Destruction By Definition (1996)

I discovered this through hanging with a friend (Joshua Mickley) and it was a record that grabbed me as soon as I heard it. It was definitely one of those life-changing moments listening to this first time. The band had some manic energy, not to mention killer rhythms, melodicism, and a grasp of what they were doing that other bands like No Doubt, Reel Big Fish and others could never master to my satisfaction. This is the perfect type of record to listen to when you’re pissed off at the world or to gleefully piss off others around you who really, really get under your skin.


4. Violent Femmes – Hallowed Ground (1984)

Most people discover the Violent Femmes when they’re in high school, during their adolescent years and I was no different. I liked “Blister In The Sun” and “American Music,” but then this record came into my life and I was completely transformed. I was a weird 14 year old trying to find my way through life and I was conflicted by my thoughts on the general world and religion. But hearing stuff like “Jesus Walking On The Water,” “Hallowed Ground,” and “Never Tell,” I knew it was okay to be religious and talk about it proudly. This was the difficult second record for the Femmes where Gordon Gano got all his religious stuff out of his system, but it came at a perfect time for me. This is one of the few records I own on vinyl, cassette and CD. It’s still a record I mention when people ask what type of Christian music I enjoy because it’s so varied and different. Not to mention, how many other records start with a five minute song about a father’s conflicted soul after throwing his child into a well? I mean, it’s just fantastic!


3. Faith No More – Album Of The Year (1997)

One of the first records I can remember being really excited about upon its release. I was eleven and my mother and I made a day of going to the mall; I still remember my little hands trembling when I handed the record store cashier my money because I was so excited about this cassette. I listened from beginning to end and it will always remind me of the summer and fall seasons because that’s when I was listening. It was pretty much the only thing I listened to at that time. Faith No More was passé by this point, but you couldn’t tell me because as far as I was concerned, even to this day, that it was 1997’s album of the year. I can really remember being excited about music, and after that, I gave up video games, comic books, and other things and started devoting my time solely to anything and everything to music – an obsession that still continues madly to this day.


2. Saigon Kick – Saigon Kick (1991)

This is a record I picked up for a 99 cents in a Wal-Mart cassette bargain bin at the tender age of nine. I knew about Saigon Kick from “Love Is On The Way,” but I really fell in love with this record. Around the same time, I got a visit from my birth father, one of two times I’d see him in twenty-plus years. I was never happy visiting him because he never understood me and never tried to. I would go up there and just wile the time away til’ I got to go home, home! There’s a song on this disc, “Coming Home,” that really spoke to me and I listened to intently on my little cassette player. I can still remember listening to it over and over again on that trip because all I wanted to do was go home and be away from him. We never had a great relationship and over these years, I’ve understood why: because I wasn’t like him and I was never going to be anything like him. I was going to be my own person, and listening to whatever came into my orbit has helped shape me and has left me a bit better off in the real world.


1. Faith No More - Angel Dust (1992)

The be all and end all of albums for me. Picked up on a family vacation when I was roughly seven, it was the first record I can remember buying with a gigantic Parental Advisory sticker on the front. But my mother was smart; she knew I wasn’t going to be copying what I heard on the record and becoming a disaffected member of society. But Jesus Christ, talk about different; songs like “Be Aggressive,” “RV,” and “Jizzlobber” were completely different than anything I’d ever heard in my life. Up until this point, I was still listening to the likes of Winger, Warrant, White Lion, and Nelson. But this record totally changed my life. It set me down the path of musical extremist that I settled into oh so comfortably. Without a doubt, I can say that Angel Dust is my favorite record in all of history, and that’s why Faith No More have such an important space in my heart. None of the other records on this list would’ve even existed for me without this one right here.

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