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Balthazar Getty On the 10 Music Acts That Have Influenced Him Most

Balt SOLARDRIVE (Nick Psinakis).pngBalthazar Getty has been acting since he was 13 (starting with a lead role in Lord of the Flies, he's gone on to produce ) but, perhaps more remarkably, he was making music since even before that. Over the last twenty five years, Getty's helped produce a number of different hip-hop and electronic projects, most notably his own indie rock band, Ringside. Most recently, the actor-cum-producer has embarked on a new project that's the culmination of three weeks in which he taught himself Pro Tools from scratch and recorded tracks with musician friends. The result, Solardrive, features a slew of styles ranging from funk to hip-hop and electronica, and guest vocals by folks like Ozomatli mutli-instrumentalist/lead vocalist Asru Sierra and Rain Phoenix. Taken as a whole, Getty considers the record to be a reflection of the albums and artists who most influenced his adolescence and musical "coming of age" -- reflections that bring to mind his love for acts as varied as Prince and Massive Attack. Along those lines, we asked Getty to reflect on the ten artists that have influenced him most. Read his answers below.

Wu-Tang Clan

"You had never seen anything like them before -- nine of the grimiest but coolest guys you had ever seen coming out onstage. It felt like punk or rock. They were breaking the rules. I went to their first show. I actually had a group at the time called Starship of Fools and we might've even opened up for them at this place called Glam Slam, which is downtown. They were completely uncompromising with their records. They didn't have hits the way artists chase after them now."


"When you think about their song "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and the build-up, it's one of those timeless songs and so moody. The first two minutes are just this baseline and drums. Wherever you are when it comes on, it's just spell-binding."

Bob Marley

"I was even ridiculous enough to get a Bob Marley tattoo in my teen years. It was the cover of the Burnin' album, which is a reverse negative of Marley's face -- a sort of abstract version. For me, he was more than a singer or a songwriter: he transcended everything. I almost feel like he was a modern-day prophet -- we had him and then we lost him. It was almost biblical in a way. His charisma, his energy, his appeal -- he stands out as one of the greatest...hands down."

Nina Simone

"Those vocals. And the stories she told and her bravery and the haunting songs. When the songs come on, you feel it. That voice just pierces through you."

Massive Attack

"Those guys did in the '90s what people are doing now -- with disco, dance, electronic...[blending that with] rap, reggae, and soul songs. They were mixing genres very early on."


"I remember being a young teenager and getting their cassettes. I was 13 and in Jamaica shooting Lord of the Flies, which was my first movie, and these two twins from Texas had that first Eazy-E album. You had never heard those lyrics or anything like that before. They had this swagger and, obviously Dre, one of the best producers ever, who was producing a very West Coast sound. Being from L.A., they were kind of like the home team. They're still a huge part of the movement today. I mean, who doesn't love N.W.A.?"


"They always made their own records -- it was always unwavering. When they dropped "Bombs Over Baghdad," or when they did their double CD, the way they incorporated instrumentation and tempos and a production you had never heard [before], harmonies and their raps, it was so authentic. Still some of my favorite hip-hop stuff. When "Ms. Jackson" came out, they took it to a whole other level. People are still singing that song in, like, Dubai. It's a classic."


"As a kid, Purple Rain -- the movie and the soundtrack -- was gospel. He's one of the greats. There's not many like him. He's really a prodigy guitar player."


"Even her last album Soldier of Love -- she was gone forever and then she comes out with this bitchin' video and that song with the military drums on it and she's still as beautiful as ever and killing it. And then if you think of her older records, those were the makeout CDs when you were a teenager and shit. "No Ordinary Lover" and all those great, old songs. You'd light your candles, the breeze is blowing through the windows and you'd put on your Sade."

Curtis Mayfield

"That voice. He was singing for a generation. There still is lots of racism today but in his time, it was when America was supposedly coming out of it and he captured that. That voice and those feelings -- he's one of the greats. Fifty percent of the biggest hip-hop songs are samples of Curtis Mayfield. He spawned a generation of rappers -- any one of those '90s hip-hop albums is gonna have a Curtis song."

Solardrive is out now via Getty's own label, PurpleHaus

Photo by Nick Psinakis

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