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Aaron Bruno of AWOLNation talks to Bella Todd the musical influences that have shaped his life...

The first song I remember hearing is… Something from Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’, on cassette tape in the car.

The first instrument I picked up was… A nylon string acoustic. I was fascinated by it.

The first gig I went to was… Sting at the Greek Theatre [LA], when I was in the fifth grade. My friend had an extra ticket and I loved The Police. It was a little bit watered down and very heavy on the Sting side of things, and he was so far away on this huge stage. The first great show I went to was Strife, Undertow, Snap Case and 1134. That saved my life forever right there. I probably had no right to do so because it was my first hardcore show, but I was so stoked I just got right on stage and jumped off it. In fact, there’s a clip of me somewhere on YouTube, jumping off stage to Strife with ridiculous long blonde hair.

My musical epiphany was… With my mum on my way to soccer practice, listening to a Paul McCartney song on the radio. There was just something about the bridge of the song, the way the chords changed and came back together again. I didn’t know what had happened, but it just blew my mind the feeling I got from a well crafted chord progression.

The album I could not live without is… Neil Young’s Harvest. You play it and go ‘f**k yeah’ and just drive.

The worst gig I’ve ever played was… In club Barcelona, New York, to our crew, the bar tender, and one fan.

My karaoke track of choice would be… Africa by Toto, just because my bassplayer Dave and me would kill that shit together. We’d fight over who did the higher harmonies.

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