Cave In's Stephen Brodsky: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life

Cave In vocalist/guitarist Stephen Brodsky shows off his record collection – from Led Zeppelin to Van Halen.

Cave In's Stephen Brodsky: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life
Olly Thomas
Jammi York

Mutoid Man and Cave In guitarist Stephen Brodsky knows all about Big Riffs (get it?), so we asked him to share some of his favourite tunes. From his discovery of America at his grandparents' house to wrecking his ankle while on tour with Hundred Reasons, Stephen's favourite songs play important roles in his life. Just watch out when he sticks on Meshuggah...

The first song I remember hearing...

America – A Horse With No Name (1971)

“I was at my grandparents’ house, and this was being played on a 7-inch. Something about the harmonies and the simplicity of the chord progression really struck me, and I probably played it 12 times in a row. Years later, I remember talking about it with my dad, and he would joke about the lyric, ‘Cause there ain’t no-one for to give you no pain’. He’d say, ‘That is such a terrible misuse of grammar!’”

The song that makes me think of childhood...

Van Halen – Jump (1984)

“I think I’ve heard this on crappy speakers more than any decent stereo system, and yet it still sounds like it’s being blasted in an arena. It’s the most potent crystallisation of everything about the ‘80s: big synths, shredding guitar, high kicks, and every drum sounding like a punching bag.”

The first song I learned to play...

Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown (1969)

“I had never even heard of Led Zeppelin when my guitar instructor encouraged me to learn this song. So I said, ‘I know Breakdown by Guns N’ Roses?’ and he looked at me with total disgust and said, ‘Alright kid, you’re about to have your mind blown.’ And he was right.”

The song that inspired me to be in a band...

Guns N' Roses – Nightrain (1987)

“I have this distinct memory of being an awkward seventh-grade nerd. I wasn’t sure who I should be hanging out with or where I belonged. I remember pondering these things as I was sitting on the hood of my mom’s car, and imagining myself with long hair, a top hat, a cigarette, a sleeveless T-shirt, and thinking, ‘Maybe I can be a musician, and girls might pay attention to me!’”

The song that makes me want to stagedive...

Meshuggah – Humiliative (1994)

“This still drives me fucking nuts. I have vivid memories of long-drive van madness on Cave In tours. We’d throw this on, turn it up loud, and everybody would just lose their shit, punch seats, smash cassette tapes, and thump the roof.”

The song that picks me up when I'm down...

Brian Eno & Harold Budd – First Light (1980)

“This has centred me in times of trouble for years now. It’s like sonic serotonin and I haven’t found anything else quite like it in the world.”

The song that I hurt myself playing...

Cave In – Big Riff (2000)

“Cave In opened for Hundred Reasons when we first toured the UK. We wanted to make a strong first impression, so during Big Riff I jumped off the stage thinking I was gonna be some badass, and as I hit the floor I sprained my ankle. Immediately, I knew something was fucked. I had to crawl back on to the stage.”

My favourite song to play live...

Mutoid Man – 1000 Mile Stare (2015)

“This is quite a hard song to play live, so when we actually do it well it feels really satisfying. It’s got a little bit of everything in it: a bit of thrash, some technicality, chromatic runs – which I love – I can wank a little bit at the end with the guitar solo, and there’s some screaming. It gets the circle pits going… it’s like a Mutoid Man mixed bag.”

The song I'd like to be remembered for...

Cave In – Sing My Loves (2011)

“I think this is probably the best collaborative and most creative Cave In moment, where we all came together on one song. This one just encapsulates everything about the band. The wild thing about it is that most of the music was written by [late bassist] Caleb Scofield, and I remember watching him in rehearsals and it seemed like he was somehow making it up as he went along. It was this really magical moment – it was impossible to tell how much he’d worked on it on his own beforehand or if he was just capturing lightning in a bottle.”

The song I'd like played at my funeral...

Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild (1968)

“I’m picturing myself looking down at my loved ones at the ceremony, and musically I’d want something that brings them a mixture of levity, fun, power and strength, and this song seems to encapsulate all of that. When you think about it, death is just one part of life, really, and if you focus too hard on it, then you’re gonna miss all these really great, wonderful things. You gotta give those people [at your funeral] the strength to move on and go about their day.”

Mutoid Man's second album War Moans is out now. Cave In are playing London on April 12 and Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Netherlands on April 13.

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