Name: Derek Jennings
Hometown: Camarillo, CA
Sounds like: Post-punk folk rock
Kindred spirits: The Weepies, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver
Listen now: “Don’t Forget About Me”
What’s the first album you ever purchased? The very first album I ever purchased was the Above The Rim soundtrack, strangely enough. Hip-hop was young at that time. I’m a fan of the process and evolution of music, and watching hip-hop develop via MTV was an unlikely influence. That said, I can’t really claim it finds its way into my music too much these days — aside from my general disdain for authority figures.
What’s the strangest thing in your record collection? Strange and out of place? Or strange like Zappa? This Heat’s Deceit is strange and brilliant and perfect.
If you could write a song with anybody, who would it be? I’d love to write a song with Yo La Tengo. They’re one of my absolute favorite bands.
What’s your most embarrassing onstage moment? I’m happy to say that I’ve escaped embarrassment so far, knock on wood.
What’s your most prized possession? My late ’70s Epiphone Cortez acoustic guitar. It’s one of the few things my father left in this world when he passed.
Beatles or Stones? The Stones are great, but the Beatles changed my life. They’re the reason I write and play music. The White Album is the quintessential indie-rock record. I spent Sunday mornings worshiping the radio during Breakfast with The Beatles. They’ve left an everlasting mark on my soul with the music they created.
Nirvana or Pearl Jam? Nirvana was another huge influence when my friends and I started picking up electric guitars and forming bands. They were an example of what a three-piece band could do onstage and in the studio. Raw sounds made by real dudes. Heavy dudes. Nirvana was an excuse to play fast and loud but also to further yourself as a musician — even if you weren’t able to shred or sing pretty.
What song do you remember most from your childhood? The Beatles’ “For No One.” I remember hearing the French horn part on the radio when I was a kid while rummaging through a closetful of my parents’ clothing. I can still smell the fabric from my father’s jacket whenever I hear that tune.