Not many grungy musicians have a past as both a chemical engineer and a rugby player, but former Vines and Wolfmother drummer Hamish Rosser does. Before joining the enigmatic buzzsaw three-piece The Vines, Rosser was also the skinman in a cover band, Sixties Mania. These are the songs that have most inspired him, in his own words.
The Strokes / New York City Cops (above)
An era defining moment was the Is This It album. Critics fell over themselves trying to describe how cool these five New Yorkers are and they inadvertently spearheaded the garage rock revolution of 2002 that we’re stoked to have been a part of. Sadly for the American market, this track, with the lyric ‘New York City cops, Ain’t too smart’, was left off the album as it was seen to be in bad taste given the heroism of New York’s finest on September 11. Too bad. It’s the best song on the album.
Joan Jett / I Love Rock n’ Roll
I was completely obsessed with this song as an eight year-old and played the record over and over again. The message became ingrained inside my inner conscience, led me to play, and love, rock n’ roll, and become what I am today.
Van Halen / Unchained
If anyone asks, I’ll tell them that Van Halen is my favourite band of all time. Sadly, in most people’s eyes, they belong to the cheesy era of bad 80s LA hair metal. But that’s not really true. They never did the hairspray and make up thing and their first album was out in 1978. Despite his guitar pyrotechnics, Edward Van Halen’s soul is rooted firmly in the blues, an element that was lost on the hoards of copycat shred guitarists that he spawned. This track has the best guitar sound you will ever hear, a killer groove, and David Lee Roth’s tongue in cheekish-ness all over it. Rhythm guitar? Never.
Guns n’ Roses / Mr Brownstone
It seems that the swagger and cool of Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite album is never to be repeated in today’s environment of pro-tools perfect recordings. And what a shame it is because this whole album swings like a motherfucker. Slash’s killer groove on this track has elements of funk and wipes the floor with everything else coming out of LA at the time. The lyrics are about the heroin that the band was dabbling in at the time, and an omen of things to come ‘I used to do a little but a little wouldn’t do it so a little got more and more’. Appetite is a truly great album that you play from cover to cover and never skip a track, especially not this one.
Soundgardern / Jesus Christ Pose
Badmotorfinger for me is the pinnacle of the 90s Seattle grunge era and Jesus Christ Pose is a slamming, all out drum solo that’s been cleverly disguised as a song. They used to always close their shows with this track and it would end as a screaming feedback freak-out. When no one else is around, I sit behind my drum kit at home, put this song on my headphones and rock out like Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. What a beast!
Jeff Buckley / Last Goodbye
Jeff Buckley was taken from us too soon. Grace is arguably the best album from the 90s and this soundtrack to a break up can a bring a tear to all but the toughest guy’s eye. Jeff Buckley possessed the voice of an angel, a completely original guitar playing style, and brilliant song arrangements. I was lucky enough to see him play live at Coogee Bay in Sydney and it stands out as one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed in my life. RIP JB.
James Brown / Give It Up or Turn it A Loose
The Godfather of Soul always had the greatest session players in the world as his back up band, and this recording features Clyde Stubblefield on drums and Bootsy Collins on bass. What a team! If this track doesn’t get you moving, then you must be paralysed. Give It Up or Turn it A Loose appears on the album In The Jungle Grove which also contains the most sampled drum beat of all time — The Funky Drummer (trust me, you know it).
The Beatles / She Said She Said
The Beatles are undoubtedly the greatest band ever, so I had to mention at least one of their songs. And what a tough choice it was. They are such strong songwriters that this song could have easily been a single. If you ever hear the demo of He Said He Said from their Anthology collection, you’ll hear how far the song was developed from the original idea. This song is on Revolver, the final stepping-stone between the loveable mop tops and the psychedelic Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.