ROAD ROCK TO BLACK ROCK

the rolling stones – bitch
grinderman – no pussy blues
bush tetras – too many creeps
james chance – contort yourself
the modern lovers – roadrunner
patti smith – rock n roll nigger
the fall – totally wired
the stranglers – no more heroes
the stooges – shake appeal
beck – gamma ray
999 – the biggest prize in sport
david bowie – hang on to yourself
devo – girl u want
bad brains – the regulator
the damned – new rose
the pretenders – the wait
the ramones – commando
sham 69 – borstal breakout
the cramps – surfin’ bird

 


MIX NOTES

Every year I make road trip mixes for driving in the desert. Usually from LA or Vegas to Burning Man. Though I decided to sit this year out, I did make mixes for my boys who were still making the trip. It’s filled with bad ass driving music, that gets faster and faster with each song, before completely going off the rails at the end.

Road To Nowhere – This acapella snippet seemed like a good way to set the theme of the trip. I had to re-time it to match the Stones’ 135bpm tempo.

Bitch – Earlier this year The Stones released an awesome remastered version of their 1971 “Sticky Fingers” LP. It has a few alternate takes, an acoustic “Wild Horses”, some live versions, and this extended, looser version of “Bitch”. And they even released it on vinyl! The Stones didn’t always use a horn section, but when they did it often had this sort of Muscle Shoals punch to it. They recorded the album at Stargrove, Mick’s massive country estate, the same place where Zeppelin recorded most of “Houses Of The Holy”.

No Pussy Blues – Most of the tracks on this mix are from the 70s, but I made room for every punk rocker’s hero Nick Cave. It’s a track from Grinderman’s 2007 debut LP. Nick summed up the story as “it’s just about not getting any pussy when I grew my mustache.” He’s one of the great ones.

Too Many Creeps – If you ever wondered where LCD Soundsystem and Bikini Kill got their sound, look no further. I was too devoid of funk in 1983 to really get the Bush Tetras. Better late than never.

Contort Yourself – The same LCD Soundsystem comment from above surely applies to James Chance and the Contortions. He was the original white punk with funk, taking James Brown and Ornette Coleman and making it his own weird awkward dance music. This is definitely music for passing slower cars.

Roadrunner – You pretty much can’t not like this song. It’s beauty is its simplicity. I don’t even care that its practically a direct ripoff of the Velvet Undergound’s “Sister Ray”. It just works. There was even a petition to make it the Massachusetts state song LOL.

Rock n Roll Nigga - I credit Shari Taranovich, the it girl of my 20s, for lovingly insisting that I adore Patti Smith as much as she did. It was never immediate for me, for some reason. I think as a kid I associated Patti with some of the 70s Jersey pub rock that punk rock was trying to get away from, but in hindsight I sort of hear her as a bridge between the two – in the best way. And twice as poetic as both, by a mile. Also any song that calls Jackson Pollock a nigga is awesome.

Totally Wired – This song was made for post-gas station, coffee-infused, 15-miles-over-the-speed-limit night driving. This single preceded their 1980 album Grotesque, but was omitted from any album release until the re-issues came out. They played The Jockey Club when I was in high school but like an idiot I missed it.

No More Heroes – This was probably the Stranglers biggest hit, from their 1977 LP of the same name. My entire life I thought the lyrics mention Trotsky then Lenin. Only much later did I find out he’s referring to Lenny Bruce. Makes sense. And even later did I bother to look up who the fuck Elmyr de Hory was: the Hungarian homosexual dissident, artist, concentration camp escapee who made a living as one the master art forgers of the 20th century before taking his own life in 1976.

Shake Appeal – Good GOD just listen to the thick crunch of this fucking guitar. It doesn’t really get any rawer. From one of the greatest albums of all time, 1973’s “Raw Power”. I have Karl Meyer to thank for my backseat-of-his-car Stooges education at age 14. What better gift can you really give a person than music that lasts forever?

Gamma Ray – One more dip in to the 21st century from Beck’s 2008 “Modern Guilt” LP. It’s pretty much a surf rock song when you think about it. The music video stars my downtown dream girl Chloe Sevigny and looks like the kind of thing shitty After Effects students were putting on their demo reels in 1997.

The Biggest Prize In Sport – This 1980 LP was one of those records that was easily found in the punk section of used record stores when I was a kid, so everybody I knew owned it. This goofy song about teenage sex always sounded like something Mick Jones from the Clash would have written in high school.

Hang On To Yourself – Bowie actually first released this track in 1971 with a side-project band called Arnold Corns. No lie. You’ll surely agree that Ziggy Stardust version on this mix stomps all over the original

Girl U Want – One of Devo’s biggest hits and the first single from their 1980 “Freedom of Choice” LP. The clarity of the production on this is pretty much perfect for their sound.

The Regulator – Almost ten years after The Stooges “Raw Power”, the Bad Brains 1982 ROIR Cassette probably comes closest to capturing that same unrelenting guitar crunch. Many would claim as I do that this was the zenith of American hardcore punk. I credit Handsome Clem Carpenter with educating me and spreading Bad Brains music all over the midwest in the early 80s. He was doing God’s work, for real.

New Rose – Back to 1976 and the Damned dishing out their own share of relentless raw energy. Everytime I listen to this, I always think to myself “Rat Scabies (the drummer) must be fucking exhausted”.

The Wait – Speaking of The Damned, Chrysie Hynde had just been kicked out of the band shortly before they recorded “New Rose”, when they were calling themselves Masters of the Backslide. Malclom McClaren had formed MOTB to be the UK’s version of Richard Hell and The Ramones. “The Wait”, produced by Nick Lowe, came out as the B-side to The Pretenders first single (“Stop Your Sobbing”) in 1979.

Commando – Definitely music for fast driving, from their 1977 masterpiece “Leave Home”. I guess its fitting that the world’s first Ramones Museum opened in Berlin in 2003.

Bortsal Breakout – This 1978 song is about as classic, bad-boy-gonna-break-out-of-jail-to-see-his-baby as it gets, and when i was a kid, if you ever wanted to see a club full of skinheads lose their shit, this was the song.

Surfin’ Bird – Well, have you heard about the bird? It’s a simple question.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.