Rolling Stone piled all of its day party performers into the SXSW Rock Room and asked a simple question: What was the musical act that changed your life? The results were varied and enlightening.
For Michael Fitzpatrick of indie soul outfit Fitz and the Tantrums, it was a classic. “I would have to say it’s MJ for sure. I inherited all of those first records from my older brother,” he says. “I bow in the presence of him.”
The soul singer Charles Bradley fondly recalls when his sister told him, “Charles, I want you to see this guy, James Brown.” In 1962, a 14-year-old Bradley agreed to go. “When he came onstage, spinning around, I was mesmerized,” says Bradley.
Surfer Blood’s guitarist Thomas Fekete’s transformative moment came during the credits of Fight Club. “I was sitting on my friend’s couch and we were eating Chinese food that his parents ordered,” he says. “‘Where Is My Mind?’ came on, and I’m pretty sure food fell out of my mouth. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is music.'”
Interviews by Eric R. Danton; text by Joe Pinsker