Juan Alderete de la Peña is a highly in-demand bass player who has lent his talents to everyone from Racer X to Mars Volta and continues to actively explores the highest sonic realms of bass playing. His website pedalsandeffects.com is an amazing resource for effects reviews and pedalboards, and he’s an all-around great guy. We caught up with Juan fresh off the road from 2 years of steady touring with Deltron 3030 to ask him for a list of 10 albums he finds to be particularly important.
Jimi Hendrix, Band Of Gypsies
This record is essential rock music improvisation. Jimi kills you with sonic, melodic, groove/feel and just overall expression that was not heard up to that point. I can sing every guitar solo, note for note, on this record. In band arguments, I was always Band Of Gypsies over The Experience. Let the criticism fly!
Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Pure punk rock ethics with the best hip hop production at the time. The Bomb Squad was just murdering everyone in production (they also did production on Ice Cube’s first solo record Amerikka’s Most Wanted) and what this group stood for was in align to any disenfranchised group in America. I took this as my punk rock record.
More real sound innovation. I was a young and unhappy/depressed kid in a NorCal suburb and this was music that resonated with me. I bought a peacoat and grew my hair like Bono’s. Right music for the right time and timing is everything when it comes to musical preferences as a kid. The Edge took sounds beyond all others. He and Van Halen were the most unique rock guitar voices when I was coming up. Loved the first four U2 records but this one is my favorite. So dark/depressing sounding.
Led Zepplin, Physical Graffiti
This was their funkiest record. I played this record more than any of their other albums. JPJ owned this record. Played a wicked clavinet, bass, synths and other instruments. I heard from people who worked on their records that though JP got the production credits, JPJ was as deserving of those credits, if not more. JPJ just didn’t have the ego to fight for it, from what I understand.
Killing Joke, Night Time
This is a band I loved right after my U2 phase. I went to Rasputin’s Records in Berkeley, CA and asked the record store dude what bands sound like U2 because I was burned out on them. He handed me Killing Joke records and Joy Division records. I loved Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures record and Killing Joke’s debut (1980 album) and What’s THIS For but Night Time was the best songwriting so I picked it. It has original very original sounds/tones with great songs and very unique aesthetics. I attempted to make my 80’s bands try to sound like them.
Van Halen, Van Halen
I love this record for all the same reasons of my other choices. The innovation on the sounds and approach were the attraction. Eddie trailblazed and all followed…including bassists. There was no better time in my listening life than waiting to hear the newest Van Halen record and check out what hadn’t been done before. Eddie accomplished that for 4-5 records. Just leading the pack for years.
Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On
The vocals are some of the most musical and deep performances ever recorded. His heart is front and center. The bass playing is like a second vocal, too. Just the perfect marriage of lyrical content and profound sincerity.
John Coltrane, Giant Steps
Music harmony was never the same after this record. He made choices on this album that were ahead of it’s time and still have not been surpassed. John was a sonic, melodic awe inspiring composer/musician/improviser/humanitarian. All the world’s potential may be heard in this record…good and bad.
Prince, Sign ‘O’ The Times
The songwriting on this record is genius. Prince put one of the best double albums together by himself. His output, writing, soloing, singing, production was nonpareil. No one, at this time, touched the most complete artist that Prince was. I was always buying his records the day they came out but this one had more than all of them.
Fela Kuti, The Best Best of Fela Kuti
This is an amazing collection from a man that had so much originality. The jams are endless dance parties with really great lyrics in english and his own language. His saxophone playing and sound is stand alone greatness. He had a political agenda that transcended aggression and, instead, moved/changed people spiritually.
Check out Juan’s website: http://pedalsandeffects.com/
Read our interview with Juan here: Interview with Juan Alderete de la Peña