Does music influence your writing? How so? Do you listen to music while you write? And, if so, what kind of music? What groups?
To answer these questions for myself, I never listen to music while actually writing fiction, although I do sometimes while writing non-fiction or miscellania like emails and reports. The reason is that fictional prose has its own music to me, and listening to outside music interferes with the inner music that I need to feel to get into the proper rhythm. Non-fiction is more about the facts than about the music, and hearing outside music doesn't bother me as much.
However, music has definetely influenced me. Listening to powerful music often makes me want to write, and sometimes whole visual scenes will pop into my head from hearing a snatch of song or a particular lyric. I've identified at least two cases in my writing where particular lyrics had influence on a title or the very phrasing of a sentence or paragraph (they're are probably many more), and for years I've been trying to write poetry that would have the power of U2's lyrics for "Bullet the Blue Sky."
As for the type of music that influences me, well there's classical, such as Holst's "The Planets" or much of Bach, there's hard rock, such as Z. Z. Top, and AC DC, and there's metal, such as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, White Zombie. Metal has been by far the biggest influence. It was the metal bands who really began to sing about things other than girls and sex and drugs. And much of it was very dark and surreal. And the heavy lyrics were accompanied by a driving musical thunder that opened your very chest to the power.
At the moment, my band of choice is Rammstein, a German heavy metal band that only rarely sings in English. Last night, on the recommendation of several folks, I bought the Wolfmother CD, which is a band out of Australia. Wolfmother is pretty interesting because their songs are so filled with clearly identifiable musical influences, most of which, fortunately, I like. The primary sound of Wolfmother is a combination of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, but I picked up clear elements of Styx, Led Zepplin, The Yardbirds, and The Doors. I even heard some Jethro Tull and a fragment of the Clash. Fascinating, and they have a site on Myspace where you can go and listen to a few of their songs if you're considering them.