Lafayette Afro-Rock Band, “Darkest Light,” off Malick (1975)
I quit my job the day [It Takes A Nation Of Millions] came out. I was cutting onions and potatoes as a short-order cook for this 50s-style restaurant chain. I would walk 12 blocks to work everyday, from West Philadelphia to the University of Pennsylvania, where the restaurant was. Before Nation of Millions, I would usually show up five minutes late. I didn’t care, I just had the job to earn extra money so I could buy records.
But when I bought that album, my entire walk changed. I wound up getting to work 20 minutes early, simply because you almost had to walk to the bpms of what you were listening to. And by the time that I got there, I just made it to “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” and, at work, I couldn’t stop singing that sampled horn line from the Lafayette Afro Rock Band. I went on my lunch break and was just like, “Fuck it, I’m not going back to work.” So I went to 7-Eleven, purchased about four Duracell batteries, and sat in a park from about 1 p.m. until about 6 p.m., just listening to that record.
It’d be fun to compile a list of art that’s made artists quit their day jobs. Art Alexakis (Everclear singer—remember those guys?) quit his job after hearing The Pixies’ Doolittle:
I bought the cassette and popped it in my Walkman and headed back to work. I was so overwhelmed by the first song that I went to a pay phone and called in sick to work. I got on a city bus to go home and ended up staying on the bus for three hours until my batteries died. I went home and told my wife that, like it or not, I was going to get into a band.
Any other examples? Hit me on Twitter: @austinkleon
art begets art