Five Albums That Changed My Life: Steve Brooks of Torche
In the last few years, Torche have become one of the few bands out there that has both metal and indie music critics going apes--t over. Their 2008 'Meanderthal' album found the Florida-based sludgesters blending fuzzed-out guitars, honeyed vocal lines and a thick bottom end, to winning results. Torche just released a fantastic split EP with Part Chimp and are currently in the studio working on their third studio album. The self-produced effort will be mixed by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou and will be the band's first record for their new label home, Volcom Entertainment. During a break in the recording sessions, Torche guitarist-vocalist Steve Brooks took some time out to take part in Noisecreep's 'Five Albums That Changed My Life' series.
'Nothing's Shocking,' Jane's Addiction (1988)
"This was my gateway record. I was a 14 year old metalhead watching MTV when 'The Mountain Song' came on the Headbanger's Ball. What is this? After listening to this whole record, something had changed in me. 'Up the Beach' is still one of the greatest introductions to a record I can think of. So hypnotic and powerful. They had a hybrid sound that got me interested in buying underground noise rock, punk, psychedelic, traditional music, etc. There was no sub-genre that I knew of at the time, so the search was on for new discoveries on all things outside the norm in rock. As a musician, this record was a huge influence on the music I'm making today. Nirvana got all the attention for turning the mainstream onto underground rock music, but Jane's Addiction did that to me years before. In fact, I bought 'Bleach' on my search for kick a-- s--! "
'Bullhead,' Melvins (1991)
"I read some stuff about these guys in Maximum Rock 'n' Roll, but their name didn't make me think they sounded like they actually did. A buddy of mine knew I was really into the heavier Sub Pop bands at the time. He loaned me their latest record, 'Bullhead,' for a few days... holy f---! A few months later they played Miami for the first time and I was one of 15 people there and five left standing. This record ruined metal for me. After hearing 'Boris' how can anything top that? An independent (punk?) band with low hanging balls just destroyed an entire genre of music for one guy, me. All the macho bulls--t "metal" bands who thought they were "heavy" got owned. I don't need the attitude, cloned styles and crunchy guitars, I need the power and freedom! I was obsessed with the Melvins. Forming Floor in '92 'cause I wanted to play something similar. The rest is history."
'Propeller,' Guided by Voices (1992)
"Anything is possible. Arena rock on a no budget 4-track recording, being in your late 30s and still making records that no one has heard (yet), sloppy musicians writing/recording songs technically skilled musicians would kill for and get to the hook and stop. I love everything about them and their live shows are such a party! What do you consider a "full" song? This was an eye opener for me in so many ways. It was actually 'Bee Thousand' that introduced me to GBV, but it's 'Propeller' that changed me. One of my biggest inspirations on my outlook being a musician and on songwriting comes from this band and this record."
'Locust Abortion Technician,' Butthole Surfers (1987)
"This record tells you to never take yourself too seriously. It's also trippy as hell and so much fun. This is where the "bomb string" originated in 'U.S.S.A.' ya'll. There are so many brilliant things on this record. 'Kuntz' will always put a smile on my face. This record warped me."
'Suplex,' Karp (1995)
"Here's a very influential record on what I did towards the end with Floor and what I'm doing in Torche. There's just so much energy, power, fun, hooks, noise, riffs, pounding drums, and ridiculous-ness, on this album. Karp had it all on 'Suplex' and I feel so connected to it."
Catch Torche on tour with Part Chimp:
Nov. 05 Durham, NC – Motorco
Nov. 06 Richmond, VA - Strange Matter
Nov. 07 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
Nov. 08 Pawtucket, RI - The Met Café
Nov. 09 New York, NY - The Mercury Lounge
Nov. 10 Washington, DC - DC9
Nov. 11 Charlotte, NC - The Casbah at Tremont Music Hall
Nov. 12 Atlanta, GA – EARL