1. “Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses, 1987
I remember watching the video and thinking, “Wow, that’s a thing that I want to be.” I thought it was cool that Axl wore a kilt and an N.W.A hat. I realized, this guy is just himself on adrenaline, and he doesn’t care how he looks.
2. “Come Together,” Michael Jackson, 1995
I think I heard this before I heard the Beatles. I thought it was a Michael Jackson song. I remember seeing him on TV playing in front of hundreds of thousands of people, just standing still, like a statue, somewhere in Europe. That image stuck with me forever.
3. “You Belong to Me,” Bob Dylan, 1992
When I was in high school, a lot of Dylan’s songs didn’t resonate with me. But this one was kind of magical.
4. “Master of Puppets,” Metallica, 1986
This song is so theatrical, and the rapping at the end is just absolutely insane. I loved how fast they played. I remember having a yellow Walkman in the back of my parents’ station wagon, driving down Lakeshore Drive in Chicago and just listening to this tape to the point where I was ruining it.
5. “Start Today,” Gorilla Biscuits, 1989
From heavy metal I got into punk rock, and then I got into Green Day, and from there I got into Screeching Eagle and more hardcore stuff. Gorilla Biscuits was one of the standout bands. They were doing a little bit of melody — but just the slightest bit.
6. “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix),” Kanye West feat. Jay Z, 2005
When I heard Jay Z’s verse on this, I got chills. I think about “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man,” in terms of how we thought of Fall Out Boy. I am the brand. It’s one of those songs where every line is a zinger.
7. “I’ll Be There,” Jackson 5, 1970
This one shaped me in a way that was beyond. I heard this for the first time in the back of my dad’s car. It’s a warm memory in my head.