Road Trip Revelations

sign 4My 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.

This is your brain on Sirius Radio.

I’ve written many times on this blog about my love of satellite radio. As mentioned above, I drive a lot so many days the only thing holding me back from full on road rage is the wide range of content available to me on my Sirius Stiletto. I’ve always considered it a wonderful perk to have in my work car and it wasn’t until recently that I realized my total dependence on it.

cheeseOver the years my satellite system has been very durable and I’ve had very few problems with it. All was good until a few days ago when I got into my car for a rousing 4 hour drive through the cheese fields of Wisconsin. That’s a little known fact right there. In Wisconsin, cheese is grown in fields. As you drive through certain parts of the state you’ll see vast landscapes of sharp cheddar, pepper jack and smoked gouda all growing in curd, block, and wheel form. Children try to catch summer sausage and bratwurst in rivers of nacho cheese warmed to a perfect fondue serving temperature by natural hot springs. It’s all very impressive. So is the smell. Wow! The whole state smells like a foot.

Anyway, when I turned on my radio the other day, the display read “No Antenna Detected.” I immediately got out of the car to check on the magnetic antenna stuck to the roof. When I pried the magnet free, the wire that ran into the car broke right off. Panic swept through my body. I was faced with the daunting task of a long drive with no satellite radio. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Oldies, not so oldies, sports, news, sports news, Howard Stern, Playboy radio! All that beautiful content was gone. What was I supposed to do? Listen to (shudder) regular radio? 4 hours of switching from one awful station to the next? Suffering through 10 minutes of commercials for every 5 minutes of content? Not this guy.

bingoAt that point I felt like I only had 3 options:

  1. Make the drive with no radio. Sing show tunes and play car bingo with myself.
  1. Set the car on fire and tell the office I couldn’t make the drive due to major, and I mean major, car trouble.
  1. Go to the nearest truck stop and offer a handy to any trucker that would give up his satellite radio antenna.

 It didn’t take long for me to choose the obvious way out of this mess.

As I was pulling into the truck stop, the panic started to wear off. I thought to myself, “Hey you don’t have to do this. You have a job that pays you money. Money can be exchanged for goods and services. You can buy a new antenna. Or better yet, check your garage. You’ve had several satellite radios over the years. Maybe you have a spare stashed away in there.”

As luck would have it, I did have an old antenna hidden away in the back of my garage. Crisis averted. Did I learn anything from this experience? Yes I did.

  1. Always have an alternate form of audio entertainment in the event that radio quits working. I’ve since burned several CDRs full of music and stored them in my glove box for just such an emergency.
  1. Stay calm and use your head. Don’t make any rash decisions when faced with an obstacle.
  1. Truckers do not like it when you renege on a deal. Especially when it involves a handy.

Walt Disney will break your kneecaps.

Mad_Mickey_Mouse_by_sasori_my_manA week or so ago, I was on one of my road trips and my wife called me. Apparently, we received 3 letters from our internet provider threatening evil things like jail time and monetary fines because we “allegedly” downloaded some copyrighted material. She read me the file names and I had no clue what they were talking about. Based on the titles they almost sounded like some Z grade porno titles. Then I started thinking about it…I asked her to check those file names with some song titles of a rather famous Radio Disney star. Bingo. They matched up. How did they get on my computer?…

My daughter has recently become more and more interested in music. Not a surprise growing up in our house. While she is still forced to listen to my music a lot, she has developed her own musical tastes. Right now, as with most pre-tweens in this country, she is into any singer that has a hit on Radio Disney. A station that mostly plays artists that appear on Disney Channel shows or are connected to Disney in some way. A few weeks ago she heard a song by one of the artists in the Disney stable and asked me to download the album. Of course I wanted to make my daughter happy so I looked the album up on iTunes. They wanted $12.99 for it! Now that’s a lot to pay for something she’ll like for 2 months and forget about. So I “allegedly” did what all desperate music lovers do at times like these and found a delightfully free torrent for said album. My daughter was ecstatic and “allegedly” I was too having saved some scratch.

Now, if I did commit this heinous act of terrorism, it would have definitely been the one and only time ever. I’ve never scoured the internet for free torrents of tracks, albums or full artist discographies before. Every song in my library was paid for with hard earned money. Money earned with sweat, grit and good old fashioned American work ethic. So I will ask the jury to go easy on this “alleged” 1st time offender. Isn’t a child’s musical happiness more important than lining the pockets of a bloated billion dollar corporation that pimps out the pre-pubescent bodies and voices of 15 year old singers? I rest my case.

It takes every kinda people

 As always on my road trips there comes to a point were I require a jolt of energy that only some loud thunderous rock music can deliver. Today was no different. I switched the station from Howard Stern to what I thought was Hair Nation. I must have mixed up my presets because the ‘70s channel came up instead. I was about to change the station when quite possibly the most pleasant song ever recorded hit my ears. It was Robert Palmer’s “Every Kinda People.” The funky bass line, steel drums and silky vocals of Mr. Palmer took over my body. Suddenly, I was grooving along to the music and weaving from lane to lane while going 85 down the interstate.

A wave of absolute Palmer induced peace washed over me as I rocketed across the countryside. That’s a totally different feeling than the ones I had as a boy watching videos for other more well known Robert Palmer hits  like “Simply Irresistible” and “Addicted to Love.”

Well today I road those pleasant Palmer vibes all the way home.

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes.  Plenty of lawsuits. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. If I’m not busy stealing music, I might wave back .

If you enjoyed these moronic thoughts, there’s plenty more where those came from. Check out some of my previous “Road Trip” posts.

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Road Trip Revelations

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.

SpongeBob SquarePants has invaded my soul

SpongeBobThe Aussie electro-pop duo, Empire of the Sun, have a new album out and I’ve really been enjoying the first single “Alive.”  It’s a catchy little song that keeps the toes tapping during a long drive. Although, there was always something about the song that bothered me a bit. Today I figured it out… SpongeBob SquarePants. Skip to the 39 second mark of  “Alive” and tell me you don’t hear a resemblance to the SpongeBob theme song. More specifically, the part where kids chant the name SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!!!! Ever since I realized the similarities, I’ve not been able to listen to the song without replacing the actual lyrics with SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!!!! It’s both maddening and comical all at the same time. Take a listen for yourself and see if you hear it too. Maybe just I’m crazy. Well, crazier than normal.

Many of today’s male musicians annoy me (Or: Many of today’s male musicians make me jealous and I’d like to punch them in the face only after watching them play a three hour live show consisting of all my favorite songs, shaking their hand backstage and maybe hanging out for a bit talking about cool stuff)

slashWhatever happened to vapid, ugly dudes making music? Remember Slash? Dude was put on this earth to do one thing, play the guitar like a god. He wasn’t pretty. He didn’t really have much to say other than “where’s my Jack Daniels and cocaine?” He didn’t appear to be a particularly hygienic fellow. But Slash could play that fucking guitar. That’s where the sex appeal was. In the talent. I was never really that jealous of Slash. Sure I wanted to play guitar like him. And I don’t begrudge him the throngs of women that flocked backstage to do unimaginable things to his nether regions. That’s the rock and roll life style baby. I’d be kind of pissed at him if he or any other dude in that position didn’t partake in all those feminine delights.  But times have changed. There’s a new generation of guys that seem to have it all.

EzraTake Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend for example. He’s a talented musician of course. Sings well. Plays multiple instruments proficiently…bla bla bla. There’s a ton of those guys out there. What bothers me about Ezra is the way he does it. He somehow writes rock songs that are incredibly intelligent lyrically, frequently comical and always catchy as hell. A smart rock star…OK that’s fine I guess. But then add to that the guy’s annoying good looks and style.  He looks like a damn fashion model when he’s on stage. I’ve never seen him wear anything without wanting something similar for my wardrobe. And don’t get me started on that mop of hair on his head. Makes a bald guy like me very angry. He should be punched. You can’t have it all Ezra!

Another guy that annoys me is Justin Timberlake. That wasn’t always the case. When I first became aware of him, he was just some goofy looking kid making awful boy-band music. And his style? Forget about it. Remember these pictures?

Wow. That's just bad.

Wow. That’s just bad.

jessica-biel

Wow. That’s not bad.

Then he started making his own music and shock of all shocks…it wasn’t that bad. Suddenly, he’s in movies (Social Network was the shit), hosted Saturday Night Live five times and married Jessica Biel. Jessica Freaking Biel dammit! Come on! And I actually look forward to his appearances on SNL. Some of the best shows in the last 10 years were shows he’s hosted. Now he’s back  making music and his latest album, The 20/20 Experience, is really good. What a slap in the face. He should be punched. You cant have it all Justin!

It’s alright guys. I love to hate you. Just watch your backs after any upcoming concerts close to my hometown.

Autograph knows the appropriate time to rock

Then, as usual, towards the end of my day I was in dire need of some serious adrenaline filled hair metal. I switched the old satellite radio over to Hair Nation.  Earlier in the day, I was thinking to myself that I was working pretty hard lately and maybe needed some “Me” time. Apparently, the band Autograph agreed with me. They told me so in the first verse of their song “Turn Up the Radio.”

I’m working hard, you’re working too
We do it every day
For every minute I have to work
I need a minute of play

Then I wondered, “Yes, but when is it appropriate to abandon responsibilities and rock out?” They answered that question with the next verse.

Day in, day out, all week long
Things go better with rock
The only time I turn it down
Is when I’m sleepin it off

Gotcha. Anytime’s good. Then I questioned, “But how can I accomplish this state of rock and roll bliss?” All was answered in the song’s chorus.

Turn up the radio
I need the music, gimmie some more
Turn up the radio
I wanna feel it, got to gimmie some more

Of course, I turned my radio up for a moment of pure metal enjoyment. Check out the YouTube clip below and do the same.

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes.  Plenty of annoying dude musicians. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. If I’m not busy turning up my radio, I might wave back .

If you enjoyed these moronic thoughts, there’s plenty more where those came from. Check out some of my previous “Road Trip” posts.

Road Trip Revelations

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.

We’ll break these chains of love…together

In previous road trip posts, I’ve discussed my car singing bashfulness. Normally, if another vehicle pulls up beside me and I’m wailing along to a good tune on the radio, I clam up until said vehicle passes me by. I could be in full on Mick Jagger, lip pucker, finger waving, front man mode and stop right in the middle until that car passes.

Well that didn’t happen today. Today I was in a synth pop trance singing along to…Erasure. Yes Erasure. Their song “Chains of Love” was on the ‘80s station and I was hooked in hard. Here is the video for the song.

I was doing my best falsetto filled Andy Bell imitation when unbeknownst to me, a tow truck pulled up along side of me. The driver probably watched me for a solid minute until I looked over. The truck driver shook his head and accelerated away. Was I embarrassed? Yup. Did I stop my performance? Hell no! It’s impossible to stop singing along to that catchy chorus.

Come to me, cover me, hold me
Together we’ll break these chains of love
Don’t give up, don’t give up now
Together with me and my baby
Break the chains of love

I did have a question after this experience though:

Why could I sing along to Erasure but not something more, let’s just say manly, like say Guns N’ Roses?

I realized that for some reason, as the levels of ‘80s new wave increase, my inhibitions decrease. Henceforth, we shall call this new metric… “The Coefficient of Synthpop.” Now, to get a little perspective on this new number, I will give you a few song examples with their “The Coefficient of Synthpop.”

Pet Shop Boys, “It’s a Sin” Two dudes. A lot of keyboards. C.o.S. = 8.9

Flock of Seagulls, “I Ran (So Far Away)” Five dudes. Totally key-tastic. C.o.S. = 8.3

Mumford and Sons, “The Cave” Four dudes. Lots of strings. One accordion. C.o.S. = 2.5

Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built” Two dudes. No keyboards. C.o.S. = 0.0

The song I was caught singing today, “Chains of Love”, has a C.o.S. of 9.8. As you can see, we were approaching maximum levels of pop perfection in my car today. No wonder I couldn’t hold back.

Gene and Paul know the true origins of Rock n’ Roll

After my Erasure sing along I was in dire need of some adrenaline filled rock. As I flipped channels to Hair Nation,  I wondered, “Where does the Rock n’ Roll come from?”  Then I thought, “Who invented Rock n’ Roll and just handed it over to the world?” Lastly I questioned, “Who puts the Rock n’ Roll in the soul of everyone?” All of these questions were soon answered when the song “God Gave Rock n’ Roll to You” started playing over the stereo. Not “God Gave Rock n’ Roll to You I” by British band Argent but the no makeup era K.I.S.S. cover version, “God Gave Rock n’ Roll to You II.”  You know, the version that appeared on the soundtrack to Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Didn’t everyone have that CD?

God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Gave rock and roll to everyone (oh yeah)
God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Put it in the soul of everyone

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes.  Plenty of Erasure. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime give me a wave. Depending on the C.o.S. of the song I’m listening to, I may stop singing and wave back.

Road Trip Revelations

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.

No Sir, I Will Not Honor Your Thumbs Out Gesture

The-HitcherI drove past a freezing cold hitchhiker today. He seemed harmless enough. Clean-ish clothes, presentable face and a not too worn backpack. I thought, “Man what a shitty day to be stuck out in the cold. The guy probably had car trouble and just needs a ride to the nearest town.” A co-worker of mine tells me stories all the time about picking up hitchhikers. He thinks it’s fun and good for a story or a laugh. So I think, “It would probably be fine to pick him up.” Then I remember that I have an irrational fear of hitchhikers, road weathered tramps and Rutger Hauer. That’s right. The Evil Rutger Hauer. This all stems from when I was 11 and watched the movie, The Hitcher, starring a post-pubescent C. Thomas Howell and, of course, The Evil Rutger Hauer. That dude is just plain scary. Check out this scene if you dare.

He’s like a more determined version of The Terminator, an unstoppable killing machine. There’s a scene where he draws and quarters C. Thomas’ stglove interest with semi-trucks. Terribly disturbing for a young lad like myself. The Evil Rutger Hauer was in another movie called, Surviving the Game, where he was equally as sinister. In this one, he plays a rich dude that holds an annual hunting excursion where they hunt homeless people…you know hitchhikers and such. One might think that after The Evil Rutger Hauer created my fear of hitchhikers in The Hitcher, I would root for him as a hitcher-killer in Surviving the Game. No way. I’ll not get fooled by your crafty evil beguiling ways. Plus, I’m not looking to get stabbed to death by some psycho mobile hobo whose only fear of death is that he won’t be the cause of mine.

My Satellite Radio Kicks Can Kick Your Satellite Radio’s Ass

fooI have written many times on these road trip posts that I love my satellite radio. Great content, no commercials and minimal DJ babble. My radio is portable so I hook it up to the car stereo using an FM modulator. I pick a nice unused radio frequency and I’m like a mobile broadcasting force. Sometimes I drive by other commuters that are doing the same thing. They come up from behind me and I hear a little static then maybe a hint of another song or talk radio station. Occasionally, these cars completely wipe out my station altogether. More times than not, when I hear that static noise, my radio overpowers the HowardJonesother cars radio and wins the battle for the airwaves. I love looking over to the car next to me and seeing the confused and irritated driver. The irritation continues until they get outside my 100 sq ft broadcasting range. This morning I heard that familiar static sound as an SUV pulled up beside me. I had my radio tuned to Sirius Alt-Nation and was enjoying the Foo Fighters song “No Way Back.” That song started to fade out as the car came up beside me. The ‘80s gem “No One is to Blame” by Howard Jones fought its way from the SUV radio into my car radio. The lights in my car dimmed and the engine revved harder as the stereo pulled extra power from the battery and fought back. Soon Howard Jones could be heard no more and the other driver reached for the tuner on his radio. This is the standard sign of defeat. Better luck next time Howard Jones Guy.

Sammy Hagar Knows How Many Ways There Are

And of course, by the end of my day I was feeling tired and in need of a serious hair metal fix. I thought, “What if I rock incorrectly? I know I need to rock, but is there more than one way? If there are multiple ways to rock, how do I know which is best suited for this particular occasion? I could look quite the fool.” I quickly flipped stations over to Hair Nation in search of answers. Luckily, Sammy Hagar’s “There’s Only One Way to Rock” was playing and curbed my anxieties. His message is so simple…

Crank up the drums, crank out the bass
Crank up my Les Paul in your face

There’s only one way
There’s only one way to rock!!!

Just rock baby! You can’t screw it up!

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes.  Plenty of dangerous hitchhikers. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, don’t bother sticking your thumb out for a ride. I’ll just scream and drive right past you.

 

Road Trip Revelations

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.

Be leery of the “Lost ‘80s Hit”

I was listening to the ‘80s channel today and there was a segment called “Lost ‘80s Hits”. They usually play some song that was really good but has been collecting dust on the record shelf. I love when they do this. In the past, I have been reintroduced to great old tunes like, “Romancing the Stone” by Eddie Grant and “Mother’s Talk” by Tears for Fears. So I was all prepared for another great “Lost ‘80s Hit” when over the radio comes a song called “Superwoman” by Karyn White.

I was completely confused. I’d never heard it. Not only that but the song was awful. She starts the song off by singing about coffee and cream and what she made for breakfast like she’s narrating her day. How was this a “Lost Hit”? How was this even a hit? What constitutes a hit? Shouldn’t people have had to hear the song to label it a hit? When I got home, I asked my wife if she knew the song. Not only did she know it but she sang along when I played the YouTube clip. But one person having heard a song does not make a hit. Admittedly, I listened to a different kind of music back then but I still heard a ton of pop songs on the radio. How did this one slip by? I decided to do a little digging to prove or disprove the hit status of this horrible song. Here are the Billboard Chart rankings for “Superwoman” by Karyn White.

Billboard Adult Contemporary – It reached #12

Billboard Hot 100 – It reached #8

Billboard Hot Black Singles R/B Songs – It reached #1

So technically it was a hit. Apparently there were a lot of “Superwoman” lovers. What were you all thinking? No offense Miss White.

What’s with the 6AM phone conversations?

I leave for work fairly early in the morning. When I do, I just want to sip my coffee and listen to Howard Stern on the radio. Lately, I have noticed that a lot of the people driving around me at that early hour are on the phone. I may get a random call at 6AM from a co-worker but they are very brief and full of sleepy monosyllabic words. This is generally how those calls go:

Co-worker: Are you on your way?

Me: Yes.

Co-worker: What time are you going to be here?

Me: Eight.

Co-worker: Okay. Hurry up.

Me: Suck it…(click)

The people I see driving are not having these basic early morning conversations. No, they are having very animated and seemingly important conversations. Heads are bobbing. Fingers are waving. Hands are gesturing. Who are you all talking to? Besides annoying co-worker guy, everyone that I know is in bed and they wouldn’t be too happy to have me call them at 6AM to chat. “Hey Chris. You weren’t asleep were you? Did you see last night’s episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?” I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how that conversation would end.

It’s like these people have the “If I’m Up, You’re Up” mentality. It’s a very selfish attitude to take. Kind of like a toddler. “I’m up. I’m the most important person in the world. I want to talk to you. Wake up and listen to what I have to say. I don’t care if you’re sleeping. I I I Me Me Me .”

I don’t want to keep disparaging women drivers in these posts but I must admit that at least 90% of the morning talkers are women. Maybe these ladies were running late and hadn’t finished arguing with their significant others yet.

“I’m not done fighting with you yet so I’m going to call you when I get to high speeds on the freeway!”

I used to work with a woman who would walk into the office every morning at 7:30 with her cell to her ear already cussing out her husband who she couldn’t have left more than 10 minutes previously. What could he have possibly done in that span of time to piss her off? I always wondered why he even picked up the phone. Don’t answer that phone dude. Have some self respect!

This all has to stop. It’s not natural. We should all be miserable sleepy zombies, plying ourselves with caffeinated beverages in order to make it to our miserable destinations and barely tolerate another miserable work day.

Twisted Sister can read my mind

As always, after a few hours on the road today I flipped the station over to Hair Nation in need of a metal fix.It was as if Dee Snider read my mind because Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” was playing. Yes, Dee. I wanna rock too. I turned the stereo up as loud as it could go and fist pumped along with Dee and the boys. It may have looked something like this scene from one of my favorite movie comedies, the aptly named, Road Trip.

Here’s the awesome original music video. 

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes.  Plenty of morning talkers. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just fist pump you back.

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.

Even More Road Trip Revelations

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 a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road.

I Totally Missed the Boat on Beach House

Back in 2010, the dream pop duo Beach House was all over indie radio with their 3rd LP Teen Dream. Several songs from that release were in crazy heavy rotation and “10 Mile Stereo” was picked as “Song of the Year” on my favorite station Sirius XM U. To be honest, I just didn’t get it. Maybe it was the constant air play. Maybe I didn’t really try that hard to like it. Maybe it was just bad timing, but I basically hated Beach House.

That was until I heard the new Beach House song “Lazuli” on the radio. For some reason the music filled me with emotions (other than annoyance) and left me thinking “Has Beach House always been this good?”. When I got home, I logged onto iTunes to get the new Best Coast record that happened to have come out that day (Holy shit is that good. Seriously, check it out) and on a whim I started listening to clips from the new Beach House record, Bloom. I was kind of blown away. By the 3rd song clip I had to download the entire thing and listen to it. Since then, Bloom has skyrocketed to the upper echelon of my uber-prestigious  “Best of 2012” list. I am ready to admit that I was wrong…. Beach House is awesome….I suck. Man, I’m slipping.

Here is my favorite track “New Year”. It’s got a bit of a My Bloody Valentine feel and scratches all my shoegaze itches.

 

Most Men Would Want to Move Here

Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they name a road or housing development. I recently ran across this sign in my travels. What’s the story with this road’s name? Is it short for Bluejaysville? Is there a prominent family in the area with the surname B’jay? Do I just have a filthy mind? The world may never know. It does seem like a happy little lane. It’s nestled nicely between Fellatio Road and Cunilingus Court. The guys from the area seem to always be smiling … weird.

It’s a Miracle I Have Avoided Being Arrested in some Homicide Road Rage Related Incident

I must have incredible patience because it seems like I’m constantly being bombarded by jackasses like:

  1. Tailgaters
  2. People driving in my blind-spot
  3. Some asshole driving slow in the fast lane that refuses to get over

Most days, depending on my mood, I can handle this just fine. But other days I feel like strapping a railroad tie to my bumper and crashing my way down the interstate with no repercussions like in some Grand Theft Auto style video game.  So if you see me looking extra agitated on the road some day, clear some space. That might be the day I finally lose it.

Tesla’s “Love Song” Will Find a Way Back to You…Yeah

During most road trips, at some point the radio channel gets switched over to Hair Nation. Well this trip was no different. What bad-ass late 80’s gem was playing this time? Why Tesla’s “Love Song” that’s what. The perfect combination of soft acoustic guitar work and in your face ROCK!  This power ballad takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotion. If I had had a lighter I would have sparked it up as I was singing along with the “doot doot doot n’ doots” at the end of the song. Revisit all the hair bandy goodness below. There are a lot of sweet mullets in this video. Careful ladies, don’t fall in love.

Unfortunately, the official video from back then excluded the killer guitar solo at the beginning. If you want to hear the entire song as God and Tesla intended, check out this link.

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of road rage. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop the “doot doot doot n’ doots” and wave back.

Still More Road Trip Revelations

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

Even My Beloved Sirius XMU is Guilty of Massive Repetition

One of the reasons I bought satellite radio, besides the variety, was because I was sick of the repetitive crap on regular radio. I’ve noticed that over the last few road trips my favorite station, Sirius XMU, is terribly repetitive at times. There must be a quota on certain songs because they get played a lot. Ever since Wild Belle took SXSW by storm, their track “Keep You” has been played almost hourly. It’s a great song but come on, let’s not ruin it.

Another song on ridiculous rotation is Tanlines “All of Me”. Over a 10 hour period, I ran a test to see how long it took to them to play “All of Me” after I tuned into the station. Here are the results in the S.H.I.T. scale “Songs Heard In-lieu of Tanlines”.

At no time did they NOT play “All of Me” before I turned the station. So I make a plea to the Sirius XMU DJ’s, “Please, take it easy on the repetition. You’re killing songs for me before they’ve had a chance to live their natural life span…….Fuckers”.

Nothing Oozes Class Like a Set of Fake Testicles on the Back of Your Truck

We’ve all had this experience. You know you’re super cool. Your friends know you’re extra classy. How can you let strangers know this same information while driving your truck around town? Why, trailer hitch testicles, that’s how!

It seems like I’ve seen a million pairs of these truck nut sacks hanging low lately. Here is one I saw on my trip today.

Is this meant to be cool? Is this meant to be funny? Does this guy know he just upped the Hillbilly Coefficient on his truck by an exponential rate? Was the Calvin & Hobbs sticker with Calvin peeing on a Ford logo too highbrow? It just seems spectacularly dumb to me. Maybe I am missing something…nope it’s dumb.

2012 Has Been the “Year of the Women” in Indie Rock

Last year, almost all of my favorite albums were made by male artists. Class Actress’ Rapprocher was the only album by a female artist to make my Top 10 and Cults barely squeaked into the Top 20. This year is totally different. The women are stepping up their game. Frankie Rose, Tennis, Grimes, Mr. Little Jeans (odd name for a solo female), Sleigh Bells, Memoryhouse, Blouse, Field Mouse, 2:54 and Wild Belle have completely taken over my playlists. Granted, some of these are male/female duos, but the dudes are hiding in the background while the chicks are up front kicking ass.

There have been a few dude rockers that have fought there way into my iPod. Bear in Heaven, Tanlines and the aptly named The Men have had short stints in my ever-changing “Love That New Song Smell” playlist. Very few have stuck as long as the women. Congrats ladies. Keep it coming. Hey guys! Wake up! You’re looking bad in 2012.

Van Halen’s “Eruption” is Still Bad-Ass

I flipped to the classic rock channel today and was greeted with the opening guitar lick of Van Halen’s “Eruption”. I turned my car stereo up as loud and these 37 year old ears could take and air guitared along with Eddie just like the old days. It was exhausting, but Eddie and I can still pull off one of the best guitar solos in rock history. Revisit all the Van Haleny goodness below.

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of low hanging trailer hitch testes. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop my Eddie Van Halen air guitar and wave back.

More Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. So, on days like today I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After four hours alone in the car though, I tend to have a few random and mostly moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road today.

Bon Iver is Pretty Awesome

I have never been a big fan of the 2011 darlings of indie rock. I always found the high register singing of the lead man Justin annoying and indecipherable. Why do you sing so high that no one understands you? The music was always pretty good but I couldn’t get over the vocals. Bon Iver’s song “Towers” played several times on my favorite SiriusXM channel today and I fought the urge to skip it.

I asked myself: “Hey Todd. Wasn’t your #4 Album of 2011 Future Islands, On the Water?”

My answer back: “Well, actually it was my #5 Album of 2011. Why do you ask?”

My response to me: “Doesn’t that have some pretty shitty and distracting vocals?”

My response back to me responding: “Touché. By the way, you smell terrific today my handsome friend”

So I realized that I need to get past the vocals and just enjoy the music. Who cares about lyrics anyways? Kurt Cobain is considered a genius and no one new what the fuck he was singing either. Here’s the video for Bon Iver’s “Towers”.

Catherine Wheel Should Have Been Way Bigger

I had a couple of Catherine Wheel CD’s in the early 90’s but didn’t give them much airplay. There were a few go-to tracks that I would play on occasion but that was really the extent of my listening. After flipping to the classic alt-rock channel I heard Catherine Wheel’s “Black Metallic”. Holy balls, that song is good. With oozing soft vocals and washed out guitars, it’s a 7 minute long shoegazer’s wet dream. I don’t know what I was thinking back then. I totally missed the boat on these guys. Check it out for yourselves.


Women Text While Driving

I’m not trying to be sexist here. I’m just going by scientific data gathered firsthand with my genetically superior man-brain. Several times today, I noticed that if you roll up to a car driving slowly in the fast lane, it is usually some ditzy dame texting. She’s probably texting her friends about getting her period, not getting her period, the perfect lipstick or that bitch Kathy from accounting that she knows ate her yogurt from the office refrigerator.

OMG! THE YOGURT HAD MY NAME ON IT! THAT BITCH IS TOTES CRAY! 😡

So quit the texting while driving all you batty broads out there! 10 and 2 baby doll. 10 and 2.

I Am Very Self-Conscious When I Rage Against the Machine

That’s right. I only rock out with no inhibition until another car drives up along side me. Then I react as if it’s a police car and I have a warrant out for my arrest. (Just act natural and no one will know you were Steve Perry’ing your way through the na na na’s at the end of  “Lovin’,Touchin’,Squeezin’”).

This is actually contrary to most opinions of what you should do if you are cruising around town with a warrant and you see the police. Most people will tell you to turn up your radio and belt it out like you haven’t a care in the world. Then the police will think, “There’s no way that could be the serial killer we’re looking for. He’s much too carefree. Carry on sir. Godspeed.”

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of dangerous texting. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop my Steve Perry impersonation and wave back.

Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with quite a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me valuable time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly rock out! So on days like today I sit back, relax and turn on my Sirius Stiletto. (Special thanks to my brother who so foolishly gave up this beautiful piece of technology. I love it. Endless commercial free channels of fantastic music) After four hours alone with my thoughts and the radio, I came away with a few revelations.

Lana Del Rey is over-hyped but talented

Yes, she’s been over-played. Yes, she tanked on SNL. Yes, she talks like Betty Boop. I don’t care. She’s great.  I listened to her song “Radio” around four times today and defy you not to sing along by the 2nd chorus.

Now my life is sweet like cinnamon
Like a fucking dream i’m living in
Baby love me cause i’m playing on the radio
(how do you like me now?)


Too much coffee makes you piss a lot

Side note: If your trip is over 2 hours long, cap the coffee at 12 oz.  Today I had roughly 24 oz and found myself with that uncomfortable feeling. Not to worry. I have the entire eastern half of the state mapped out by establishments with suitable bathrooms. I try to avoid the rest stops. I’m tired of the long looks from bi-sexual truckers named Carl. I’ve found that the best location for an emergency pit stop is McDonalds. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a McDonalds in this part of the state and you usually don’t run into some hobo washing his testicles in the sink…usually.

Anyone can cover Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and it will be awesome

Today I heard versions of “Running Up that Hill” by Placebo and The Chromatics. Surprisingly enough they are both pretty damn good. I guess this Kate Bush gem is the perfect song to try and make your own.  You can’t get much better that the original though.  Check it out below.

Jack White is in a lot of bands. Also, there are a lot of bands with “Bear” in their name

The White Stripes, Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and now Jack White solo stuff. I listened to it all on the road today. Good god man. Take a break. We get it. You can write a lot of songs. 15% of them are good. Slow down a bit and maybe you could get that number up to 75%. Please just think about it Jack.

Today I also heard songs by: Bear in Heaven, Grizzly Bear, Bear Hands, Panda Bear and Minus the Bear.  I will pose to myself the same question once asked of Dwight Schrute from The Office . Which Bear is Best? I’m glad you asked. That’s a toughy. While all have their merits, today(based solely on car stereo volume levels) Bear in Heaven is the best bear.

I will skip any song by Wilco, Neutral Milk Hotel, or Animal Collective

I’ve tried to like these bands. I just can’t do it. I even change songs if I’m on the phone and one of these bands come on. Nice try Sirius but you cant sneak one by me while my celly’s blowin’ up.

I will not skip any song by Modest Mouse, Pixies, or Whitesnake

Yeah that’s right, Whitesnake. Sometimes you just have to tune in to Hair Nation and bang your head. Still of the Night! Still of the Night! Still of the Night! Rawk!

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of pit stops. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime in the future go ahead and wave. Just please don’t laugh while I’m doing my David Coverdale impression.