November 06, 2013 12:00 PM

• First concert? Johnny Cash in Brisbane. I was 5 and my brother was 7. My dad bought us little western shirts and bolo ties. I’m guessing we had terrible seats – we were a real working-class family – but I remember the roar of the crowd and then this you-can-hear-a-pin-drop silence when he sang. It was electrifying. I get chills thinking about it.

• Best concert? John Mellencamp, the Lonesome Jubilee Tour, 1988. It was the closest thing to a musical epiphany. I was at the point where I wanted to start writing songs but didn’t know what sort of music I’d make. A lightbulb went off, and I went, “Whatever’s going on down there is the answer.” It was as if someone said, “Take the things you love and make your own music.”

• Song you recently downloaded? “Supersoaker” by Kings of Leon. It feels fresh, but they were able to fuse in the classic sound of their 2005 album Aha Shake Heartbreak. My wife and I courted to that record.

• Chill-out music? I have this mix I made called Euro Poolside, and it’s just ambient electronica music, which I love. It’s a compilation made from months of Shazaming obscure things in restaurants in the south of France or shopping in SoHo. I Shazam stuff all the time—it’s expanded my whole awareness of music.

• Music your daughters love? Sunny sings “I Love It” by Icona Pop all the time, but we’ve had to figure out the clean version of the song because she’s 5! And I love that sometimes they get the lyrics wrong. The other day she came in singing [Maroon 5’s "Moves Like Jagger"] as “I gotta move my jacket.” It’s adorable.

• Song that makes you cry? “Raymond” by Brett Eldredge. It’s a song about Alzheimer’s, and I don’t have a personal connection to it, but it destroyed me. The first time I heard it, I bawled my eyes out.

• Favorite rock-out-in-the-car song? Katy Perry‘s “Roar.” It sounds so damn good. Katy has a way of singing empowered songs and making them work. Other people can sound preachy, but she blends the right amount of joy and optimism.

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