Jun 25, 2012

Music to Ride By

Now I'm on a roll. Listening to Heartbreaker, I'm reminded of all of the rock and roll songs I used to crank up in my head to get motivated before a race. I occasionally get asked why I don't listen to music while I ride, especially on long distances. First, I don't want to be deaf. Second, I have a lifetime of music on-line everywhere I go. I have a head full of rock and roll, blues, jazz, and classical music. The audio quality is dramatically better than any crap MP3 player and cheesy helmet headphone rig. I don't have to worry about batteries (although I need to recharge with breakfast and lunch). The selection is practically endless and I don't have to fumble with the player's tiny controls when some tune I hate accidentally slips into the cue. So, in some particular order, I've decided to list some of my favorite racing and riding head-tunes:

  • Heartbreaker - Rolling Stones (The Stones' best song from their best album.)
  • Frankenstein - Edgar Winter (My moto gate go-to song from 1973 on. Synthesizers should have been abandoned as musical instruments after Edgar put this tune on tape. They've done nothing new or better since.)
  • Medicated Goo - Traffic (Pretty much anything quick from Stevie Winwood and/or Traffic will do when the road is twisty, rough, or missing altogether. I've been a fan since he was "Little Stevie Winwood" with Spencer Ward.)
  • Hocus Pocus - Focus (The band Van Halen wishes it could be if Eddie had the chops and Roth had a sense of humor and  Van Halen had a rhythm section.)
  • Scatterbrain - Jeff Beck (Actually, all things Jeff Beck are worthy of riding and racing. All other guitar players are just cheap imitations. Get the real thing, listen to Jeff. Once, I thought I could play guitar but Jeff reminded me that I just own guitars.) 
  • Give It Everything You Got - Edgar Winter's White Trash (I freakin' love this song. The closest I ever came to winning a moto was when I had this going hard in my skull. The Rickman caught nothing but neutrals in a big sweeper and down I went.)
  • Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo - Johnny Winter  (Rick Zerringer wrote this one for Johnny. It didn't hit, so Zerringer renamed himself "Derringer" and did it again.)
  • Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who (I used to drag out the synth intro in my head until the gate dropped, then . . . not much. I could never ride as fast as Pete can windmill. It is a good covering-miles-tune. A solid block pass motivated by a Townshend power chord is hard to forget, though.)
  • Living in America - James Brown (I can ride for days on this song. It should be the 21st Century's national anthem. It isn't because we're a nation of pussies and other sorts of gutless conservatives. On my way back from Canada, I have to get this tune going or I might immigrate.)
  • Ballroom Blitz - Sweet (Racing is semi-organized war. What better music than a bar fight tune?)
  • Whammer Jammer - J. Geils Band with Magic Dick (One of the great, rarely heard rock motorcycling tunes. When Hancock started with this jam, I knew I was gonna like that movie. I did, thank you for asking.)
  • 1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky (Not a race tune, but a wonderful thing to be able to replay on long, boring cross-country trips. You wouldn't believe how loud the cannons are in my version.)
  • A Night In Tunisia - Dizzy Gillespie (Dizzy's music got me into music. I hear this song a half-dozen ways; from his New York 5-piece combo  to this big band which I was blessed to hear in the 70's.)
  • Traveling Lady - Manfred Mann Chapter Three (Traveling music, not racing music. There are a few songs from this album that I get going on a great day: Snakeskin Garter, Mister You're A Better Man than I, and Time. I recently converted my LP to digital audio and have been re-enjoying this music a lot lately. I need a trip to somewhere a long ways away.)
  • High Falls and One Way Out - Allman Brothers (I think I did the entire Alaska and British Columbia mountain section with High Falls in my head. I saw this band -- the High Falls band -- in '73 and have never forgotten how great a rock and roll band can sound. The best day on the road almost always coincides with my being able to pull up the entire Live at the Filmore East album from memory; lead parts included.)
And my "new" (post-racing) travel-pump favorites:
I'm not even close to running out, but I am getting bored. I think I'll go for a ride and listen to music. See 'ya.


Paul Compton said...

June 15th was the Morini Riders Club trackday. What came into my mind before venturing out on track is 'Cat's Squirrel' the version by Mick Abrhams of Blodwyn Pig on the 'Ahead Rings Out' album.

T.W. Day said...

Very cool. I'd never heard that one. Thanks.