Vended’s Griffin Taylor: The 10 songs that changed my life

Vended vocalist Griffin Taylor guides us through the songs that made him who he is today – from Paul Simon to Maximum The Hormone and beyond…

Vended’s Griffin Taylor: The 10 songs that changed my life
Luke Morton
Alexis Gross

They might sound like most ferocious beast to crawl out of Des Moines, Iowa, in two decades, but Vended frontman Griffin Taylor doesn't spend his time listening to the most aggressive sounds imaginable. In fact, you're more likely to find him blasting musicals or maddening Japanese punk, as this tour through his record collection proves...

The first song I remember hearingYusuf / Cat Stevens – Father And Son (1970)

“When my dad and my mom were still together, that was the song that my dad used to play on acoustic to soothe me to sleep. Then when Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 came out and it was one of the end songs, that just sparked a past memory that came out and I started bawling in the movie theatre.”

My favourite karaoke songLa Vie Boheme from Rent (1996)

“When I first listened to that song as a child, not even knowing what Rent was really about or knowing the things they were saying, it blew my mind. The choreography of the movie, the rhythm of the music, it really touched my heart. I’m a big musicals guy – from Sweeney Todd to Rocky Horror, a little bit of In The Heights, Hamilton…”

The song I listen to in the gymOmerta – Garbage (2020)

“When we toured with Omerta, all of us unanimously saw them playing and said, ‘Holy shit, these guys are better than us.’ When I heard Garbage play, it was something that I hadn't heard in quite a long time, and it really inspired me to start learning the lyrics and hopefully perform with them at one point.”

The song I listen to before I go onstageRainbow Kitten Surprise – It’s Called: Freefall (2018)

“A friend of mine recommended me that song; the lyrics really touched my heart and just got to me. I think that there are different variations of it, but the version by Rainbow Kitten Surprise is phenomenally done and I love it so much. I don’t honestly know what the song is about, all I know is that it’s talking about the devil and how the devil is done with our shit, done with dealing our sins and always us needing that sin. It’s a very nice song.”

The first song that I learnedPaul Simon – Something So Right (1973)

“I can’t remember the first, but this is one song that I love to sing and will always come back to singing. I used to listen to Paul Simon to go to sleep when I was a child, and when I started getting Paul Simon onto my Spotify and looking through some of the compilations that he has, that song popped up, and I was like, ‘Holy shit, this song is deeply rooted in my memory!’ I like to sing it when I’m feeling depressive or sad, but it brings me to some light.”

My favourite song to perform liveVended – Ded To Me (2022)

“That song was lightning in a bottle. Those lyrics and the way that we tried to write that song really spoke to me and all of us in the band. That song we tried so, so hard – I had to go deep into a dark, dark side of me to write that song. It's about taking the parts of you that you’ve accumulated growing up, taken from the people around you who probably aren't good people, and basically trying to kill that half and take the good side that you have. Realising your flaws and realising the human that you have, but also taking the non-desirable version of yourself and saying, ‘This is not going to be me, this is not who I grew up looking forward to becoming.’”

The song that reminds me of my first break-upAni DiFranco – In Or Out (1992)

“That song is about bisexuality and about guys being guys, girls being girls… it’s a very tricky subject because my break-ups were purely just because I was way too young of a person to understand what I really wanted, or coming to find out that it was not what I wanted. Or the person just not being interested in me anymore, which is completely understandable. In Or Out really makes me think about my love life and the people that I would like to be interested in but am not able to because of the job that I have, because of the fact that I am gone a lot, because of the fact that I’m just a train-wreck and there are still demons inside of me that I need to figure out. But that is a song I point to when it comes to my love life.”

The worst song of all timeAny song by Justin Bieber

“I can’t think of anything that I hate right now other than the usual shit. I don’t tend to listen to songs or artists that I can’t particularly like.”

The song I wish I’d writtenMaximum The Hormone – Chū Chū Lovely Muni Muni Mura Mura Purin Purin Boron Nururu Rerorer (2007)

“It’s such an amazing song. It’s such a fucking tongue-twister and I love that song so fucking much. I love their song ‘F’ that I remember that song from Dragonball Z Abridged, the YouTube channel, but one of my friends really got me into different Maximum The Hormone songs. I really enjoy that band because I genuinely have to appreciate Japanese metal, Japanese punk and grunge – not only do they take inspiration from America, but they improved it and stylised it and polished it to the point where it’s way better than anything that any of us could ever fucking create."

The song I want played at my funeralAmanda Palmer – The Point Of It All (2008)

“My mother got me into Amanda Palmer and Ani DiFranco by listening to them in the car and I started listening to their music more and more. It’s just so deeply rooted in my childhood. Amanda Palmer is a beautiful artist, she is amazing at what she does. The Dresden Dolls, I found out she was the singer, and they’re fucking amazing. My Alcoholic Friends is my favourite song of theirs. But from her solo stuff, The Point Of It All really does resonate with me and I don’t really know why – just the things that she says really got to me.”

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