Road Trip Revelations

If you’ve read any of my previous “Road Trip” posts, you may have noticed a certain pattern to them. I usually start with some thoughts on whatever new music I’m listening to. Then, I share a few observations about the road or driving in general. Finally, I close it out with some comments on a long forgotten hair metal song. If you were hoping for a change in format this time… too bad. Take heart people. Routine is good. You always know what to expect. No shocks. No surprises. Life may pimp-slap you at every turn but you can always rely on “Road Trip Revelations” for some stability. Doesn’t that make you feel all safe and secure? And away we go…

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. On these trips I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After many hours alone in the car though, I tend to have quite a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road.

Most of my Favorite Bands Have Stupid Names

Here’s a list of a few bands I’ve enjoyed this year: Japandroids, Tennis, Youth Lagoon, Pop Etc, Bear in Heaven. All pretty dumb sounding names. Even when a group has a decent name, they have to go and spell it weird like Diiv (pronounced Dive) one of my current favorites. I don’t know why this trend is happening but my theory is that all of the good band names where used up by 1978. Post 1978 we had band names like this:

One of my favorite things in the world is when I’m listening to a new band and my wife asks me their name. I’ll answer her with the stupid band name already knowing that her response will be a sarcastic “Well of course it is”. She has a hard time getting past the stupid band name. My favorite response to her is “Aerosmith was already taken.” This usually pisses her off and we go back and forth about band names and how Aerosmith sucks. Well, new Aerosmith sucks. Hey, that’s not bad! Why couldn’t you start a band and call it The New Aerosmith? Didn’t that happen all the time back in the day? When the Yardbirds broke up wasn’t there a New Yardbirds about two minutes later? After The Animals disbanded, The New Animals came stampeding out of the rubble to help heal the world’s broken heart. Just a thought.

What’s with the Biker Wave?

Did you ever see the biker wave while driving down the road? I just recently noticed it. When two motorcyclists get close to each other while driving in opposite directions they lower their left hand down and sort of point to the ground. What’s that all about? Where did they learn that? Is it part of the motorcycle safety course? Are they pointing down to remind the other biker to watch out for the ground? “Hey man, we are rocketing across the earth at breakneck speeds on a high-powered two-wheeled vehicle. Don’t fall off. It hurts.”

1st biker waves: “Remember, the ground hurts us.”

2nd biker waves: “Yes, I understand. The pavement is our enemy.”

It is pretty cool to witness. I want a secret wave for us music-loving mid 30’s dads driving around in SUVs. Maybe we could just stick our thumbs up and then point them to the back seat. This could signify that “I would like to turn up my music louder but I got these damn kids in the back seat watching a Spongebob DVD and I can only play my music at barely audible levels.” Let’s work on that one guys.

I Don’t Care About Your Stick Figure Family

Over the last year or so you may have noticed a new trend amongst mini-van drivers. “The Stick Figure Family”. Little decals of stick figure people to represent everyone in the mini-van driver’s family. I must ask why? Why do you want the world to know that you have 3 kids? Going by the stickers, one boy and 2 girls. The boy is the oldest and based upon the baseball bat over his stick figure shoulder he must like baseball. The oldest girl must love soccer based upon the soccer ball in her stick figure arms. The youngest girl is in a stroller so no one really knows what she likes yet. In time we will know because mini-van driver idiot will update the stick figure as soon as stick figure baby slips on her first ballet shoes. One day I saw a van with two adult stick figures and 10, yes 10, variations of the stick figure kid. A standard mini-van has a seating capacity of 7. How are you getting 10 kids plus 2 parents into that Dodge Grand Caravan? The answer is you’re not. You’re taking 2 cars to the “I Have 10 Kids and Hate Myself Convention”. Your stick figure family is a fraud and I hate you too.

Europe isn’t “Superstitious”

As always, after a few hours on the road I was in need of a hair metal fix. So I flipped the station over to Hair Nation . Today I was greeted with the sweet sounds of Europe’s “Superstitious”. It had everything I wanted in a hair band break. High pitched vocals and those keyboards you’ve come to expect from Europe in other songs like “The Final Countdown” and “Carrie”. The special treat comes at the 3:20 mark when after the last scathing guitar solo, the boys slow it down a bit with a funky bass driven pre-chorus bridge. Break it down for me fellas.

Keep on walkin’ that road and I’ll follow
Keep on callin’ my name I’ll be there
And if a mirror should break it’s easy to take
Cause deep down I know that you care
I´m not superstitious

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes. So many stick figures. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and throw me a “Dad Wave”. I might just “Dad Wave” back.

The Search for My Personal Soundtrack: “The Pink Room”

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how cool it would be to have your own theme song or soundtrack. I was sort of inspired by Peter Griffin from The Family Guy.

But what song would I use? You could go a lot of different routes. If it’s going to play in the background all day long, you better like it. Also, I don’t think it should be some epic arena rock song that has multiple style and tempo changes throughout. No, the simpler the better. Sometimes while playing my guitar  I come across a chord progression that I enjoy so much I want to play it for hours on end. That’s what I think my personal soundtrack should be. Simple. Repetitive. Kinda bad-ass.

Today I came across a perfect soundtrack song candidate, Angelo Badalamenti’s “The Pink Room”. A weird little instrumental that was used on the crazy-cool TV show Twin Peaks and also in the awful follow up movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. It meets all of my soundtrack song requirements. Cool guitar riffs, it repeats over and over and I never get sick of it. The song title is cool too. “The Pink Room”. I’m guessing it’s a euphemism for “lady parts” like the Sheena Easton song “Sugar Walls”. I do love a good euphemism.

WARNING: Massive euphemism overload coming up.

I’d like to “paint” the “sugar walls” in your “pink room”.

Let’s get back on track here. Listen to the song below.

Having a song this cool playing in the background all day would have to change your life. This is what I imagine would happen if this song was my soundtrack:

My bald head would instantly grow a perfectly primped pompadour. My vehicle would turn into a classic 1950’s era motorcycle. Wherever I went women would be both frightened and titillated. Knowing they should keep their distance, they try to ignore me but the attraction is too overpowering. I’d shoot them a knowing glance. They would turn away blushing. Men would look suspiciously at me as I light up an unfiltered cigarette. That’s right. With this song as your soundtrack you can smoke anywhere you damn well please. Who’s gonna stop me? The local sheriff approaches.

Sheriff: “Where were you last night Johnny?”(My name would now be Johnny. Todd is not an appropriate name with this song as your soundtrack)

Me: “Nowhere. Everywhere. What’s it to ya Copper?”

Sheriff: “Laura Palmers’  body washed up at the lake this morning. The Log Lady said she saw you two together last night and The Backwards Talking Dwarf corroborated her story.”

Me: “Laura who? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hey man, I’m married.”

Sheriff: “You’re going away for a long time Johnny. Cuff him boys”

Me: “Uhhhh…There’s been a big mistake. I don’t know any Log Ladies and that backward talking dwarf always freaked me out. My name is Todd. This was just supposed to be a fantasy about having a song as the soundtrack for your day. Does anyone know how to turn this song off?”

So apparently I’m not cool enough to pull this song off as my personal theme song. I’ll keep looking though. Until then I guess I’ll have to stick with whatever songs happen to be on the radio. It’s probably safer that way. I’m way too pretty to go to jail.

Don’t do the dilly dally with Sally (A Public Service Announcement)

Do, however, watch this video all the way through. It’s important for all young lovers out there to hear this message.

(Yes, I saw this on Tosh’s blog.)

Original vs Cover: “Head On”

Is imitation the highest form of flattery? It can be. Take the cover song for instance. Nothing is more polarizing in music. The artist that covers a song either makes the song their own or totally misses the boat. There is rarely an in-between. Have you ever listened to a cover song and thought “That was OK I guess”? The answer is no, you haven’t. It’s either ” That was great” or “That really sucked “.

This is an example of a very bad cover song. Careful. Not for the squeamish:

What can a person say after witnessing such a catastrophe? My sincerest condolences to Pink Floyd fans. If we all stick together, we can get past this. Move on but never forget.

One of my favorite songs is The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On”. It might be in Todd’s Top 10 Songs of All Time list. Well…that may be tough to commit to. Maybe my top 100. It’s at least in my top 1000 of all time. How about this…it’s in my “Top 10 Songs of All Time Compiled on August 15th, 2012 at 5:15 P.M. CT”. That list may change tomorrow or as soon as another song plays on my iPod.

Back to the matter at hand, The Pixies included a cover version of “Head On” on there final full length album, Trompe le Monde. My Pixies obsession has been well documented on this blog so you can guess that I love their cover as much as the original song (Oddly enough, the Pixies version is not on any of my “Tops of All Times” lists. There are very specific rules governing these lists and at this time cover versions are strictly verboten. Legislation is being drafted right now that would allow their future inclusion. Contact your local governing body to voice your support). In their version, Black Francis and the Pixies gang decided to crank up the volume a bit. In doing so they changed the over feel of the song from dark and moody to frantic and angry.

Take a listen to both and tell us which you prefer in the poll at the bottom.The Original or The Cover?

The Jesus and Mary Chain original.

The Pixies cover.

MoSS? Monthly Mixtape: August 2012

Side A : Chris’ Picks

1. Crystal Castles, “Plague”

2. Purity Ring, “Fineshrine”

3. Dum Dum Girls, “Lord Knows”

4. Earlimart, “97 Heart Attack”

5. The xx, “Angels”

Side B : Todd’s Picks

1. Passion Pit, “I’ll Be Alright”

2. Dent May, “Fun”

3. IO Echo, “When the Lillies Die”

4. Teen, “Better”

5. Japandroids, “Continuous Thunder”