Skip to content
5 Albums I Can't Live Without

5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Greg Camp of The Defiant/Smash Mouth

(Credit: Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Name  Greg Camp

Best known for  Being the guy that wrote that song you keep hearing at the grocery store.

Current city  Nashville, TN

Really want to be in Joshua Tree. Or on a remote island talking to an old deflated volleyball. Or in a treehouse. With an HVAC. I love people and I’m sure I would miss them a little. But seriously folks, it’s so good to sneak off and just be with yourself and listen to sounds around you that aren’t human.

Excited about  My new band The Defiant with Dicky Barrett, Pete Parada, Johnny Rioux, and Joey LaRocca, finished album, single and videos being released now and record out in the fall. Shows to follow. It’s absolutely the most important music I’ve ever been a part of.

I am also producing and writing with some up-and-coming artists who are going to blow minds, I’m very excited for them. 

My current music collection has a lot of  Tele Novella and Oberhofer while doing the dishes, but Marty Robbins and Loretta Lynn in the car. Every situation calls for a specific artist or playlist to enhance the journey or get me through whatever it is.

And a little bit of  Slightly obscure ‘80s, i.e. The Plimsouls, The Nerves, The Three O’Clock, Wire.

Preferred format  In my perfect world I would listen to everything in a large cathedral, I like lots of reverb and endless amounts of echo. I had a boombox that I took with me everywhere, it had a cassette [player], CD player, and some drum pads so I could play along to my favorite jams. I probably left it out in the rain too many times and it stopped working and like all great things “they” discontinued it. Like those delicious nacho cheese-flavored chips from Trader Joes, why Joe, WHY? 

5 Albums I Can’t Live Without


10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, Midnight Oil

I took my little brother to see UB40 because he didn’t have his driver’s license yet and Midnight Oil opened. Peter Garrett came out…arms and legs flailing, to the point where I thought his limbs were broken, steam was coming off of his head and he looked like he was actually on fire. I bought the record the next day and it’s been at the front of my collection ever since. The band has so much energy live and in the studio, it’s raw and melodic, it’s angry yet hopeful, it’s smart and political and there’s always a point with a solution. They don’t make bands like that anymore, or do they? (Wink.)


Walking in Space, Quincy Jones

I’m not a big jazz dork, but this one transcends the genre, I don’t even hear it as jazz and maybe it isn’t, how would I know, I’m not a jazz dork. From start to finish it is perfection because it’s imperfect and loose, there are mistakes and little clams all over the place. The ‘60s were funny ‘cause of all the funny mushrooms and grass. It is best to hear it on vinyl (surprise) in its entirety with someone who has never heard it before and doesn’t talk until it’s over. I love turning people on to it.


Check Your Head, Beastie Boys

I mean, do I have to even go into it? Okay, if I must, from top to bottom it embodied every style of music I was into at that moment: punk, funk, dub, hip hop, the list goes on. That record taught us that we could do anything, there were zero limits, no fences and no apologies for what might happen next. PLUS, it taught us how we were going to dress for the rest of our lives. Come on, who doesn’t still rock a pair of Adidas and a beanie. “So What’cha Want” may be my favorite song of all time, it has it all. 


Deathray, Deathray

Producer friend Eric Valentine and I saw these guys in a little club in San Francisco and our minds were immediately blown, but when Eric recorded this album a short time after that it became my most played album to date. The songs are so well written and arranged, every sound and part makes perfect sense. If you suffer from ADD or ADHD or AT&T or any sort of control issue where you just want everything to be in its right place – look no further, this is the record for you. 

It reminds me of an amazing time when the music biz was still taking chances and giving the weirdos a shot. And I mean that in the most respectable way.


Pretenders, Pretenders

This was a very important time in this young man’s life, the lines were clearly drawn, you were a jock, a stoner, a social, or a loser. A skater or a BMXer, a punk, a mod, a dirt head, a rocker…you had to pick one back then and the music you listened to defined that as well as your stupid teenager costume.

Myself and my friends who played music were torn, we didn’t know what to be, we liked it all but you couldn’t be caught riding a Diamondback BMX bike if you wanted the chicks to think you were a skater. You couldn’t wear your freshly bought Van Halen T-shirt to school on Monday if you were gonna try out for a punk band on Tuesday. 

The Pretenders, along with a few other “neutral” bands, bridged the gap. They were a band that both sides could get with. There was something dangerous going on, something rockin’, something beautiful and a little strange. It opens with “Precious,” basically a punk song, later there’s a Kinks cover and then the big single “Brass in Pocket.” But the song that still kills me every time is “Kid,” my favorite of all Pretenders songs, with Chrissie’s haunting vibrato and James Honeyman-Scott’s perfect guitar solo, it sounds like it could’ve been written decades earlier. Add some space invader sound FX and viola, our new favorite band had arrived.