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Published on August 12th, 2019 | by Alan Cross


Weekly survey: What musician inspired you to pick up an instrument?

I have no excuse for taking up the accordion. When asked by my parents which musical instrument I wanted to learn, I simply to defaulted to the fact that my cousin Gladys played the thing. Who knows how my life might have turned out had I chosen something sensible like the guitar?

I did, however, make amends for that in high school. When a group of friends decided we needed to form a band, I immediately claimed drums because (a) there was no call for an accordion player, ever and (b) I’d become a major Rush fan and wanted to play like Neil Peart.

I enrolled in lessons, bought my first kit (a mismatched Ludwig mostly Ringo’s famous Oyster Grey finish) and started to play. I will play today.

What’s your story? Which artist inspired you to pick up your instrument? And why? Let me know below.


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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15 Responses to Weekly survey: What musician inspired you to pick up an instrument?

  1. Dave says:

    I always wanted to play the guitar, but my parents kept me in piano lessons. Once I was in highschool and started making some money, I was listening to some old classics on the stereo one day. BTO’s Taking Care of Business came on, and Randy Bachman’s line “get a second hand guitar, chances are you’ll go far, if you get in with the right bunch of fellows” stuck with me. In a moment that felt like an epiphany, I left the house, and went to a local pawn shop where I bought a cheap crappy Stratocaster rip off and a shitty little amplifier. That was about 20 years ago now, and I’m still playing guitar to this day.

  2. Dan says:

    I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14. I’m 46 now. For me, it was Anthrax. Specifically, the video for Madhouse. Something about headbanging with V-shaped guitars in front a wall of Marshall cabinets just spoke to 14 year old me.

    They got me started, but it was really Metallica that got me serious about playing. After really getting in to Master of Puppets, and …And Justice For All, I really started practicing and playing a lot.

  3. Mike says:

    John Henry Bonham, here.

  4. Dave Breakenridge says:

    Noel Gallagher and the Verve, as well as the song If You Tolerate This, Then Your Children Will Be Next by Manic Street Preachers.

  5. Andy Parker says:

    Peter Criss from KISS was the reason I started playing drums. I was 7 in 1977 and KISS was huge. I stared playing then and haven’t looked back! Playing drums and music has changed my life and brought some of the best times of my life. I’ve played in bands since I was 13 and have played in front of 5 people and thousands of people. And have loved every minute of it.

  6. markosaar says:

    Bands like Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, New Order and The Cure really got me interested in playing trebly melodious bass.

  7. Scott says:

    Geddy Lee and Steve Harris were my 2 biggest influences for taking up the bass. I spent hours learning the different styles and perfecting the runs. Many years of not playing later and I am once again practicing Rush!

  8. Wes Tanney says:

    Randy Bachman back in the early 70s with Takin Care oF Business

  9. Gabriel says:

    Simon Gallup (The Cure) and Chris Squire (Yes) got me inspired to play the bass 🤘🏼

  10. Not important says:

    The Edge. Was no one like him for awhile, and that really set him apart when I was a kid. I love many other guitar players from different genres, but he got the fire started.

  11. Joe says:

    The Beatles.

  12. Derek McNaughton says:

    Gina Schock….I got into the Go-Go’s because I bought a girl their “Beauty & The Beat” lp for a birthday present. When we listened to it, I was in love with the quasi-surf sound they had, but the more I listened to it, I was enthralled with Gina Schock’s work on the drums….As such, I fell in love with all things beat and percussion.

  13. Steve Symmes says:

    Eric Clapton’s guitar solo in “I feel free”, it sounded so raw but yet he made it look so easy.

  14. Jon Nash says:

    There was so much good guitar music at the time I picked it up (early 90’s). I was always fascinated by Slash and Angus Young as a kid, but by the time I picked it up I was heavily influenced by Kurt Cobain and John Frusciante. Each one of those guys was like hitting another level when learning to play.

  15. Kristine says:

    Geddy Lee and Chris Squire for bass; Jimmy Page, Jack White, and Alex Lifeson for guitar; Freddie Mercury and Ray Manzarek for keys! As a kid I was forced to learn piano and hated every minute, but listening to the Doors totally changed that for me. Last summer (age 13) I saw Pearl Jam and it really moved me for some inexplicable reason, and I begged my dad to teach me guitar the minute we got home. A few weeks ago I saved up to buy a Fender Squier bass and amp setup
    (I would love to drum but having Neil Peart as my #1 drummer idol makes it difficult.)

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