Albums That Changed Us – Brian’s Picks

Brian White circa 2003 ShockSpiritLove DaysWhen fellow Why So Blu staff writer Gregg Senko asked me to come up with three albums that changed the world of music for me I jumped at the opportunity.  I said to myself, “This will be a piece of cake.”  Well, little did I know how hard it would be narrowing down my selections to just three.  I mean, anyone that really associates with me knows that I have a very wide range of musical preferences and tastes in life.  And then there are some people who know me as just that guy who only listens to Rob Zombie. Listen up people, I may like vanilla ice cream, but my life is not all that black-and-white.  There were times back in high school when I would have given my life up to defend my favorite band, KISS.  But picking just three albums that changed my life?  Wow!  That’s not an easy feat folks.

Being a former musician myself, I am very hard on other musical acts and I will critique them to no end.  I kind of despise that part of me, but that’s who I am.  So I asked myself, what’s the common denominator here?  I was alive in the 70’s, but do I remember them?  Heck no.  My musical tastes were acquired in the mid 80’s, blossomed in the 90’s and spread vastly amongst many genres in the 2000’s.  So really, it only makes sense to begin with the album that started it all, then the album that revolutionized the world of music in my eyes and bestowed upon me the gift of musicianship and last but not least, the one which opened my eyes to everything else I was missing out on in the world.  This ladies and gentleman, is my eulogy to the three albums that changed the world of music in my life as I know it.  I hope it all makes cohesive sense.  Enjoy!


Weird Al Yankovic - In 3-DWeird Al Yankovic – In 3-D

Yep!  Can you believe it?  This was the album that started it all for me.  I kind of figured most people who knew me out there would have guessed that I would have thrown a KISS title on my list as one of my first inspirational albums.  You would have been dead wrong.  Surprisingly, Weird Al was the beginning of my music culture and planted the roots of music within my veins.  I know, it’s a very “weird” choice to have, but if you associate with me, then you know I’m anything but normal.  Around the same time as Michael Jackson’s Thriller was blowing up the charts my mom brought home this record for me after I saw it on a television commercial and begged her for it.  “Eat It” was the single that started it all for me and it wasn’t very long before it became my national anthem as my ears were opened to the world of music for the very first time (outside of my dad’s country western album collection and my mom’s Streisand records).  Little did this gullible 10-year boy know that “Eat It” was actually a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”  My mom tried explaining this concept to me repeatedly and when I couldn’t possibly conceive what she was talking about she brought home MJ’s famous single.  I put it on, liked it, but it would never compare to Weird Al’s version, in my world.  I loved this album so much that I went through three cassettes of it before finally owning the CD in the 90’s.  Moving on…


Nirvana - NevermindNirvana – Nevermind

This one is probably more what you expected from me.  Up until 1991, as I stated before, my loyalties lied with KISS.  I would have taken a bullet for them in honor of their name.  They were what made the world go around for me.  But they were not enough.  Something was missing.  I was surrounded by a world of bad cheesy pop rock songs left and right and worst of all, 80’s hair metal bands that wouldn’t go away.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed a few RATT, Skid Row and Poison songs here and there, but they were quickly wearing thin on me. I didn’t identify with anything.  I needed a catalyst to start a spark.  Then came the 1980’s phenomenon, Paula Abdul.  I fell “Head Over Heels For Her.”  Stupid boy!  And of course, who could forget the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who was STILL blowing up the charts.  There was still no catalyst.  However, that moment was short lived.

You see, I’m secretly a nerd.  I enjoy my quiet time as much as the next person, but underneathe it all, I’m quite the hermit.  Most of my high school study halls and recesses were spent in the library at Normandy High School.  I would spend endless hours doodling and reading about stupid things that I can’t even recall today.  I guess you can say I wasted my time as usual until that one fateful day.  There was this one librarian no one really liked.  She went by the name of Mrs. Grohl.  She was very strict and did not take crap from anyone.  I can’t specifically recall how this conversation came to be about, but somehow, underneath all my armor, I opened up to her and she let me in on a little secret.  Supposedly her nephew, a David Grohl from Seattle, was in a unknown up and coming rock band known as Nirvana.  As usual, I was curious about everything in life and before Nirvana even exploded on the charts, I was in possession of their second studio album titled Nevermind.  And the rest is history…

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the catalyst I needed in life.  It was the missing peanut butter half to my lonely piece of jellied bread.  The song created a spark within me like no other song has ever affected me before and I owe much to my teacher, Mr. Kurt Cobain.  Why do I call him my teacher?  Sure he was a bad man, riddled with drug problems and such, but he taught me something invaluable in life… music.

I always wanted to learn how to play guitar.  I was 17 years old and had no inkling of a musical note within my body.  Some may say the same about me now too (LOL).  But anyway, my parents never supported me playing music in school so I took it upon myself to embark on a musical journey, one I never looked back from.  One fateful day I went up to the bank and withdrew $300.  I marched straight to Lentine’s Music and I purchased a $200 Kasino Korean Strat Guitar and a Yamaha guitar amplifier with distortion.  I made a pact with myself to learn the Nirvana Nevermind album from beginning to end.  I locked myself in my room the entire summer of ’92 and I did not exit until I could not only play the whole album on guitar, but I could also sing it too.  You see, I come from a rare musical breed that makes bold assumptions like the belief that anyone can learn how to play a guitar.  I still, to this day, believe that to be true.  However, if you are able to let your guitar playing become second nature and sing at the same time, then you are a Deity in my opinion.  That was my goal.  Let’s face it, Kurt Cobain was far from being one of the greatest guitarists to ever live.  But he has one thing most musicians will never have.  He had passion.  He did not care who ripped on him for his lack of abilities.  He played what was in his heart and soul.  I became one of his closest disciples.  Needless to say, I was devastated when I learned about his death in 1994.  I think that’s where my fascination with black clothing began.  Anyway, I took his mantle and became the best I could be in the world of music.  I went on to pen some 50 songs of my own during my time with the band Chalk in the 1990’s, in which I was the front man.  It was some of the greatest years of my life.  I remember them fondly.  My grandfather’s dying words to me were “These are the best years of your life.”  Back then; I did not think he knew what he was talking about.  You get the point.

I felt very bad about dethroning KISS as my number one band in the world, but for the first time in my life, I identified with something, much like Gregg admitted to yesterday with Faith No More.  I was depressed back then, like all disciples of grunge music was supposed to be, but I never felt more alive.  Nirvana’s Nevermind spawned hit after hit on the radio and it was all totally unintentional by front man Kurt Cobain.  He was a genius in my opinion.  I often think about him.  I wonder what he would have accomplished in life had he not been murdered (don’t get me started on this subject).  I miss him everyday of my life.  He will always be remembered as the man who bestowed the gift of musicianship upon me and I will forever be in his debt.  “Come As You Are” is my anthem in life and I wear that motto underneath my skin every waking moment.  Thanks Kurt!


Shakira - Laundry ServiceShakira – Laundry Service

“Shakira, Shakira!”  What really needs to be said about this hip shakin’ Columbian superstar beauty that I have not said already here?  Oh yeah.  You want to know why she’s on my list, huh?  Okay.  So while I spilled most of my beans about my life above, I saved a small few for the third album I chose that changed my life.  Sure she’s beautiful.  Sure she’s kind.  Sure she’s talented.  Sure she has brains.  Sure she can shake her assets like none other, but like the Transformers, there’s so much more than meets the eye when you talk about Shakira.  She’s quite the overachiever, to say the least.  And I thought I was busy in life.  Please.

So it was circa 2001, and my ex-girlfriend forced me to watch Saturday Night Live after she found out that I had no idea who Shakira was.  I was a metal-head after all.  Why on Earth would I know of a Latin pop singer named Shakira?  I had my reputation to upkeep of course.  So reluctantly I agreed to watch it with her.  I saw something I had never seen before.  Shakira was not only beautiful, but she was hypnotic and savage-like in her performance of “Whenever, Wherever” on SNL.  She did not seem to care what anyone thought of her.  She was in her own little world and I appreciated that tremendously.  I wasn’t instantly in love with her, but it was only a matter of time.  Come on, it’s Shakira after all.

After a long serious debate with myself, I came home one day with Shakira’s Laundry Service CD.  My ex-girlfriend just kind of laughed at me.  It’s okay, I was used to it.  It took many listens, as the sounds were so alien to my ears, but it wasn’t long before I was “Ready For The Good Times” with Shakira.  I became a fan of Spanish flavored pop music.  I did not even care that I could not understand some of the words in the songs.  This was so unlike me.  I fell in love with the hypnotic and trance-like beats that were only made possible by me broadening my horizons and letting world music into my life.  I never thought it was possible, but I quickly started to pay attention to other genres of music other than depressing metal undertones of my favorites like Machine Head, Korn, Megadeth and others.  I sought to harness these new found influences and incorporate/weave them into my own creations I was freshly working on.  One of my first incarnations was the flamenco-like guitar riff I penned in my ballad called “With Me.”  I later went on to play it in a band called ShockSpiritLove in 2002.

Throughout the past decade, I have learned to love and appreciate everything Shakira has done.  Whether it’s in the world of music or through her humanitarian endeavors, I have always been one of her biggest fans.  I may not agree with all her musical choices, but she has more talent in her little pinky than I do in all of my body so in Shakira I trust, always.  She showed me a whole other side of music, one that I was sorely missing out on all these years because of my strict 90’s metal tunnel vision.  No longer.  She cured me of my disease.  Go ahead.  Make fun of me.  Yes, I like Madonna.  Yes, I like Lady Gaga.  I like anyone who is not afraid to express themselves, but is, most of all, genuine.  What do Lady Gaga, Madonna and Shakira all have in common?  They are three of the hardest working female musical artists out there with a vision… their own.  And that, ladies and gentleman, is totally unique in this world where you have the Clarkson’s in life getting by with being forced to sing everyone else’s songs and get famous off them.  It’s a shame that Clarkson was not able to follow up her My December release with another of her own.  There’s no telling how great she could have been.  Thanks RCA.

And since this is predominantly a Blu-ray website, I would not feel right if I did not put a plug in for Shakira’s Oral Fixation Tour Blu-ray concert.  If you don’t have this one, then you seriously need to add it to your Blu-ray collection.  Today!  I can help you too!  Just follow the links below and bring home Shakira in 1080p today.  You can thank me later.


In Conclusion…

I thought I would try something different here in conclusion.  Many people I associate today with are relatively new in my life (five years or less).  I have had a lot of friends over the years, but only a small handful of ones that I ever considered to be good friends.  They know the real me.  Like it or hate it, they have stuck by me all these years through my many endeavors and projects I have attempted.  Whether I succeeded or failed miserably, they have always been there to root me on.  Most people have no idea of my past and/or the things I used to do.  Scott Morrison (my official photographer and good friend) can tell you first hand that some of the happiest moments of my life were on stage playing MY music in front of people.  I never felt so alive in life until I saw a mosh pit assembling in front of me to some song that I crafted as a teenager in my parent’s damp basement.  To have people bobbing their heads, thrashing and singing along to my words will always be one of my greatest accomplishments in life.  I miss those days dearly.  They are a living testament to who I once was in life.  My wife, God bless her, met me during those later years in life and somehow found the good in me despite the weird songs I crafted.

Recently, my wife made me attend a local Aerosmith cover band concert her co-worker’s daughter was part of.  As I watched those little kids play their hearts out I was sadly reminded of the promise I made to my grandfather that died in the early 90’s.  He loved me like no other.  I could do no wrong in his eyes.  I always felt I was a disappointment to him, but he looked past my long hair and wild ways and was proud of who I was.  I never understood why, but deep down in my heart, I always know that I let him down.  You see, before closing his casket, I took the very first guitar pick I ever played on stage with and covertly tucked it in his jacket pocket.  I made a silent vow to him and told him I would make him proud.  I told him I would become a great musician one day and seek great fame.  What happened to that promise?  Obviously, I did not deliver.  I really can’t explain why, not here.  Regrettably, that’s one promise I never kept in life.   I’m not sure I would have survived “The Killing Road” (as Megadeth referred to the world of constant touring from city-to-city), but then again, I’ll never truly know. 

So as I was saying before, most folks don’t know the real Brian White.  Many of my new acquaintances in life do not know my history.  I have spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out what’s next in life, but it always comes back to the same thing.  I want what most everyone else in life doesn’t have.  I want my name in lights and to be remembered as a pioneer of something.  I want my life to have counted for something.  Every time someone utters those doomed words “That’s for the other people in life, that’s not you,” I bite my tongue and silently think to myself “Why can’t it be me?”  I won’t leave this world without a fight.  It reminds me of a comment made on Sean Ferguson’s first post that poked fun of my love for Blu-ray and my decision not to watch Star Wars again until it graced the Blu-ray format.  It reads:

“Brian, it must be sad to be you. Nothing will ever be perfect enough for your eyes. I know someone like you, but with food. Simply refuses to eat anywhere other than four star restaurants or she cooks at home with her thousands of dollars of pots and pans. She simply cannot fathom the warmth and joy of eating in a roadside diner, with its foibles.”

Gregg Senko, my hero here, later responded to this guy by saying:

“I too, like Brian, rarely settle for second-best, but to criticize someone for that is nothing short of ludicrous. That’s like saying, “You know, it must be terrible being you, getting A’s all the time in school. Why don’t you just be like the rest of us and get B’s?” Some people like to attack a task full force, kick ass and take names. Look at this article we’re all leaving comments for. That’s some meat right there, brother! Substance! It’s obviously the result of a 100% effort. This is what success is made of! You can be the carp in a pond if you want to, but why criticize someone else for being a shark?”

I am thankful that Gregg stood up for me.  It’s not that I was afraid to do so; it’s just that I guess I’m just too nice of a guy to rip into somebody’s beliefs and core values publicly like that when I don’t even know them.  But that’s not the main point here.  Read Gregg’s above words carefully as he properly conveys how I live and approach every waking moment of my life.  I could not have said it any better.  If you want to know my one flaw, it is that I am a perfectionist.  I always have been and probably always will be.  When I want something, I set my sights on it and don’t let go of it until I know for sure that it is a lost cause.  Why am I telling you all this?  I have no idea.  I just want my readers to know the real me.  Music is an important part of my life, but it’s only a fraction of what makes me tick.  Thanks Gregg, for giving me the opportunity to share three albums of my life that changed me for the better.  I appreciate it.

And now… drum roll please… I would like to FINALLY conclude with a little track I wrote in 2003 called “Double Jeopardy.”  Most people never heard the song or any of my music for that matter.  I keep my past life very secret.  However, it’s one of my all-time favorite compositions.    I hope you enjoy it.  Before listening to it, I just wanted to usher the following disclaimer: Yes, I was in love with Ashley Judd.  I thought the world of her acting.  She’s a class act.  I wrote this song as a tribute to her.  It’s punkish in tone, but if you were to analyze the lyrics, you would find that every line contains the name of one of her film titles.  It’s unique and special to me.  My band mates (ShockSpiritLove) and I recorded this song with the help of Warrant’s Billy Morris at Lava Room Recording Studio and in 2003, I actually got the chance to meet and give Ashley the CD single while she was performing on Broadway in NYC.  Give it a listen below if you want.  Feel free to leave comments.  Thanks for reading.  Enjoy!


And oh  yeah, if you like any of the recordings I mentioned above, please feel free to help support our site here and bring home one of these gems today.  Thanks!




12 Responses to “Albums That Changed Us – Brian’s Picks”

  1. Gregg

    Wow! Two of the three I am not surprised to see, but Weird Al, yowza! I love the variety and seeing what makes us tick. Outside of the interesting choices, the article was great…and moving!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Weird Al!

    I think my first Weird Al album was the “Nevermind” parody.

    Great list, Brian!

  3. Sean Ferguson

    I figured Shakira would be on here but I was surprised by the other two. I also didn’t know that you were in bands either so this article was illuminating! Nice work Brian and you should get back to writing music if it means that much to you!

  4. Brian White

    Thanks guys! I appreciate the comments as always.

    @ Sean… Maybe in another life. I really really love music, but I have no idea how I used to fit that in my life. Now picture this also… when you are in a band it’s like being married to three other guys. Can you imagine that? You have to make everyone happy… LOL. It was hard some days. I used to get real nervous before shows too. I used to curl up in a corner studying my lyrics and sipping on hot tea. That was my quiet time before the stage. But thinking back… I really do miss it.

  5. Mark F

    Good list…and a cool song at the end of a FANTASTIC article!

  6. Brian White

    Cool! Glad you like Mark!

  7. Bob Ignizio

    Weird Al was a big early influence for me, too. I think the first actual record I picked out and bought myself was his debut album with “Another One Rides the Bus”, “I Love Rocky Road”, and “My Bologna” on it. Loved Nirvana, too. Shakira… not so much, but to each their own. If nothing else it shows you aren’t afraid to listen to music outside your comfort zone, and that’s always a good thing.

  8. Paula

    nice post.

  9. kilroy

    Nice article. Seeing your predisposition towards satire, I can see the Weird Al album reconstructing your brain cells. But, Nevermind should have scrambled them right back up again. That’s the one that introduced me to the 90’s. But, it didn’t smell like teen spirit back then to me…it smelled like a 30-something Renaissance.

  10. Sara

    I officially declare myself a fan of your articles. Fullstop.

  11. Fran

    Actually, Shakira is not a simple PopStar more…She is not a diva, of course she is talented and she creates her own music. That already puts her a step above the rest.
    You like it or not, she changed and inspired many other artists out there… Unfortunately she still is underrated!
    Sometimes I think if Shakira were born in the US, she would surely be bigger than Madonna.

    (For me, her best album is Oral Fixation Vol. 2… such a fucking good XX century pop rock!!!!)

  12. Jean

    I agree with fran, and i really like this article, u know how to explain every detail