Under the Influence

By George Dionne | Jan 10, 2011

I’d like to take the time to share with you the artists that influenced me growing up, and whom I try to take a little bit from during our Sound Tower performances.  There are many artists and groups that I enjoy through many different genres, but the following would be my top five (in no particular order).

Joe Lynn Turner – I’m willing to bet that the majority of you reading this have never heard the name, but if I could have one singer’s voice, it would be his.  It’s best described as melodic, a little raspy, and soulful.  Turner is a rock and roll journeyman of sorts.  He got his start replacing Ronnie James Dio in the band Rainbow.  Rainbow was the side project of ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.  Turner took the group from its neo-classical metal sound to a more mainstream commercial sound.  They had several hits under Turner including “Stone Cold” and “Street of Dreams.”  Turner’s masterpiece however was his 1985 solo album Rescue You.  Joe’s career seemed to ebb and flow after that.  He became a temporary member of several lesser-known groups through the late 80s and early 90s, but found great success in Europe and Japan as a solo artist.  He has a new album coming out this year.

Rick Springfield – Rick was my childhood idol.  When other kids were pretending to be firemen, policemen, and soldiers, I was Rick Springfield.  Springfield was so much more than “Jessie’s Girl,” but sadly that’s what he’ll go down in music history for.  Rick’s music is not over complicated.  He doesn’t try to be witty and deep.  He’s a man that isn’t afraid to express his feelings through his music and I’m willing to bet most guys can relate.  The hooks he wrote are quite catchy and girls were obsessively in love with him.  And they still are.  Springfield still releases albums today and recently published an autobiography.  I’m afraid if I read it, it will shatter my childhood admiration of him.

Alice Cooper – A lot of people are quick to dismiss Alice as a crazy “shock rocker,” but nothing could be far from the truth.  Cooper taught me that music could be presented not only through the ears, but also through the eyes.  A musical performance should be just that, a performance.  If I didn’t play such small stages, I’d love to bring the music we play to life.  If you take the time to explore Alice’s work, you’ll find a lot of music about social issues and relationships.  Sure, he has a few sarcastic songs about necrophilia and death, but what people sometimes miss is that Alice was a character, not a real person.  Alice was sort of a voice for the youth of America in the 70s and continued his message and theatrics well into the modern era.  Perhaps Alice is trying to tell us that the whole world is truly a stage and there are many characters and situations out there that bring it to life…even the creepy ones.

Megadeth – I began as a guitar player, and Dave Mustaine was a big influence on what I wanted to play on the guitar.  He played such fast and intricate pieces, yet claimed to have no formal guitar lessons.  Dave may have not have had the same success as his former group Metallica, but he carved a niche for himself in the heavy metal world.  Being a young adult that’s interested in the world and politics around me, Mustaine’s lyrics spoke to me.  While other heavy metal acts were trying to scare you with death, doom, and gloom, Dave was writing about why you should be fearful of our government.  Mustaine doesn’t speak much between songs, but emits a confident rock star image from the stage.

Styx – Styx is one of those bands I think people never took seriously.  Perhaps it was the song “Mr. Roboto?” Styx is essentially a rock version of a Broadway musical.  Each album told an elaborate story in an epic fashion.  Original vocalist Dennis DeYoung was the more theatrical side of the group, while guitarist Tommy Shaw brought rock and roll to the table.  Of course it was their two distinct styles that brought the group to an end.  Although fractured in two, Styx is still releasing albums and touring the country.  Dennis DeYoung also tours playing the classic Styx tunes as well as his solo material.  Beyond Styx I highly recommend DeYoung’s 1984 solo album Desert Moon, and Tommy Shaw’s 1987 solo album Ambition.

Upcoming 2011 shows:

Jan 19th:  British Beer Company [Cedarville]  2294 State Rd. Rte. 3A (9:00pm)

Jan 21st:  Piper Beau’s – 207 Main St - Wareham (10pm)

Jan 28th:  Buzzards Bay Tavern – 149 Main St - Buzzards Bay (9:30pm)

Feb 4th:  Shooter’s - 360 Wareham St. - Middleboro (10pm)

Feb 18th: Buzzards Bay Tavern – 149 Main St - Buzzards Bay (9:30pm)

Feb 19th: Piper Beau’s – 207 Main St - Wareham (10pm)

For more info:



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