Daniel Blue tells the story of his life and his band through some of his favorite songs.
“Metamorphosis 1” by Philip Glass
I was 18 days overdue when I was born. I didn’t want to come out into the world. This song builds and builds and builds and you’re never sure if it’s going to break. It’s just an endless arpeggio.
“The Wind" by Cat Stevens
This is a song about trial and error, about being a kid and having to figure it out. “I swam upon the devil’s lake/I’ll never make the same mistake.”
“Back Door Man” by the Doors
I decided I was going to be this real rebellious guy and do it my own way. I wasn’t gonna go to school, I wasn’t gonna get a job. This song is about getting a woman to cheat on her husband, but it’s also sort of the Rebel’s National Anthem.
“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" by the Flaming Lips
The more I learned about the world, the more I wanted to save it. I decided I was going to battle the pink robots of capitalism. I had a lot of causes.
“Welcome to the Machine ” by Pink Floyd
After I started Motopony and moved to Seattle in 2010, this label from New York, Tiny Ogre, showed up at our door with all this money. I was thinking of this song when we were being wined and dined. I knew it would be hard to hold onto who I am.
“The Weight ” by the Band
This song sets the stage for what it’s like to be on tour. Your bags are heavy bags and there are strangers all around you. You need a lot of help because
you’re a ramblin’ mess.
“Out on the Weekend ” by Neil Young
I recognize that I’m fated to play this role—and I love it. But as I think about the future, the band is gonna have 200-plus dates for each of the next five years. I’m gonna have to embrace a little loneliness in my life. I’m gonna be out every weekend.
“Tiny Dancer ” by Elton John
I’ve always thought of this song as a retrospective of a successful musician looking back at his life and how he was able to make it work. It’s a peaceful picture of the way things could be.
Illustration by Tiffany Prothero.