Thursday, February 08, 2007

What Are Your Non-Musical Influences?

I just finished watching a documentary on the SciFi channel called "The Sci Fi Boys." It brought back quite a few memories. I had forgotten how, as a boy who was an avid scifi and horror fan, some of these people seemed like rock stars to me. Names like Forrest J. Ackerman, Ray Harryhausen, George Pal, Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein seemed like household names to me, while most of my classmates did not know who these people were at all. I, however, was an avid reader of "Forry" Ackerman's magazine "Famous Monsters of Filmland." "Jason and the Argonauts" and "The Time Machine" were probably my two favorite movies as a kid. By the time I was in high school, I had read most of Ray Bradbury's books, and I did indeed read every book ever written by Robert Heinlein!

The documentary was, of course, about how the early directors, writers, animators, makeup/effects artists, and one magazine publisher influenced the next generation of scifi/horror filmmakers. Interestingly, though, these people were also an influence on me, and I did not go into the film business. Of course, if I think about it, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, John Romita, Frank Miller, and many other Marvel Comics writers and artists from the 1960's-1980's held rock-star-like status for me, but I never went into the comic business. I chose to go into music. And yet, comics, scifi and horror were a big part of my life, so they must have had an influence on my later work, even though I went into a different creative field.

When you read an interview of a band, artist, or songwriter, they are usually asked about their musical influences. Just last night in my singer/songwriter class, I asked several songwriters who they listened to. However, you rarely hear musicians asked about what they read, what kind of movies they watch, or who their favorite (visual) artists are. So, I would like to ask any of my blog readers who are musicians right now: What are your non-musical influences? I want to hear from you!
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