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Everything's Connected: Omar Rodríguez-López Favourite LPs
Stevie Chick , September 10th, 2020 08:43

Former At The Drive In and Mars Volta member Omar Rodríguez-López speaks to Stevie Chick about the records that shaped his life, from Latin traditionals to how Janet Jackson got him into punk


Betty Davis – Nasty Gal
Obviously, she's the prototype of the attitude that can be found later in Madonna, Janet Jackson and the people that come after her. She had an electric attitude, a defiant attitude. Her attitude, her politics, her unapologetic vibe, the crazy outfits she would wear… It's obvious that, for every empowered woman artist who comes after her, this is the blueprint.

You could choose any of her records but I picked this one, her third album, because it's the one that moved me the most. You can hear this embodiment of her whole vibe on this record – on the opening track 'Nasty Gal', she yells out right at the beginning and you're like, “There she is”. For me, from putting the needle on that record and hearing that voice, I knew this was an artist that was going to stay with me forever.

She revolutionised Miles Davis's world, she turned him on to rock & roll and electric music. For me, she's in the canon, or whatever you want to call it, along with another artist who's very influential to me, Erykah Badu. Like Erykah, you can see her direct influence on the artists she was with, and how she opened up their minds, and how they changed their styles. 
She was an inspiring artist all round, and her attitude and her rebelliousness, and the sound of it, taking these funk musicians to a whole new level, that's her influence. It sounds like funk music, filtered through punk. I don't know if she ever heard punk, but again, it's more of an attitude thing.