The Ultimate Driving Mixtape*


I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with my mental state. I’m off in the head.

For the past month and a half, my girlfriend has been in the hospital and I’ve managed to visit her three or four times a week. This is a bit of an inconvenience as she’s about an hour drive away**.

So last week I took a vacation day… to drive two hours in the other direction and take an introduction to solar energy systems and design class in the southern part of the state. It wasn’t until I was cruising back on the highway that I realized this isn’t something most people do. In fact, most people would probably say I’m in desperate need of a psychiatrist.

And after I finish installing these solar panels and save on my electric bill I’ll make an appointment.

The insane part is that I actually enjoy the drive. Southern Ohio/Northern West Virginia is filled with beautiful scenery. It was a gorgeous day, and I got to enjoy it in my own way.

The best part is that my new*^ car has one of those newfangled ‘radio’ contraptions so I was able to listen to music the whole way. When I needed a break from the Creedence CD I brought along I was able to scan through the stations and usually land on something descent that made time pass a little quicker.

This got me thinking “what would be on the ultimate driving playlist?” And because one of my hobbies is blogging I had to turn it into something.

Granted, most of this is low hanging fruit, but give me a break; I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately.


Tom Cochran “Life is a Highway”

The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter”

The Carpenters “Superstar”

 

Beastie Boys “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”

AC/DC “Highway to Hell”

Elton John “Tiny Dancer”

 

 

Meat Loaf “Bat Out Of Hell”

Heart “Barracuda”

 

Jimi Hendrix “All Along The Watchtower”

Red Hot Chili Peppers “Soul 2 Squeeze”

Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody”

 

So I know all of your typing fingers are burning up right now to tell me which I missed. And that’s great! I purposely left enough space on this virtual disc for a little feedback. That’s what comments are for.

Have at ‘er!


 

* I’m sure someone has already done this post in a different way, but now it’s my turn!

**But she’s totally worth it.

*^Actually, it’s a year older than my previous vehicle, but the owner took much better care of it so it’s like a new car.

 

The Best Singers


live-sound-microphone

I really enjoy “Best of…” lists. And I never shy away from the chance to do one for my blog.

My “Best Guitarist’s” post from last week managed to stir the pot and spark a bit of conversation. I’m hoping this post will do the same.

Of course, the problem with a “Best Singers” list is similar the problem with a “Best Guitarists” list: What am I judging them on? Do they get points for creativity? Lyrics? Emotion? I try to weigh several factors and think I came out with a list that should have something for everyone.

But I’m sure I missed a few

 

Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantomas, About 12 billion others) – I like Mike Patton. He’s a phenomenal singer with a very impressive range. He should be higher on this list but I hate is that he has the same effect on grown men as the Jonas Brother’s have on 13-year-old girls.

GG Allin covered in his own shit and still singing.

GG Allin covered in his own shit and still singing.

GG Allin – To this day he’s the only man I’ve ever seen take a shit on stage and not miss a note. Not that that’s a good thing, but it is really impressive.

Simon & Garfunkel – These two were way more than the sum of their parts. Paul Simon always wrote great songs, but they never shined as bright without him harmonizing with Art Garfunkel.

Tom Waits – Anyone who can have such a long and prolific career while sounding like they’re gargling gravel and broken glass is OK in my book.

Layne Staley (Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Class of ’99) – The thing that always impressed me most about Staley was how he could take songs like “Rooster” and “Would?” that were written by Jerry Cantrell and pump so much emotion into them.

Meat Loaf – I’ve heard a few people say that they don’t enjoy the way Meat Load mixes opera singing with hard rock. That usually ends the conversation for me.

Adele – I love that deep, smoky, soulful voice. She sings like a black girl. Which makes me think I must be racist because I didn’t put Tina Turner or Gladys Knight on here.

Elton John – I want to make a gay joke here, but I’m not that crude. So I’ll just let Tenacious D do it.

 

Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, Solo) – Not only does he have the most impressive set of pipes this side of 1988, he also writes some of the craziest lyrics this side of Dax Riggs.

Leonard Cohen – In ‘Tower of Song’ he sings: “I was born like this I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice.” But I’ve heard some of his older stuff and I don’t think he really started to shine until the mid-Eighties.

 

For more of these lists check out:

The Best Bassists

The Best Drummers

 

The Best Drummers


drum-2I’m not a huge fan of the “Name Four Musicians to Form Your Dream Super Group” game. I usually just rattle off the members of Alice in Chains or Tool. Sometimes it’s fun to pick a trio or quintet and add or subtract a member, but that was never my game.

I do really enjoy “Best of…” lists though. And I thought it would be a good idea to do some for this blog. That’s not because I’m running out of ideas or anything. I swear I’m not. I’ve got tons of ideas. Make sure you check in next week when I do this with Bass Players.

 

Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion, Suicidal Tendencies) – Wackerman lands on this list not only because of his awesome chops and stamina, but also for his great last name. It’s like his ancestors knew that someday one of their brood would become the drummer for a great punk band so they picked the coolest surname they could think of.

Frank Beard (ZZ Top) – Yet again, here is a man who’s name is as great as his ability to keep a beat. He gets bonus points for being the guy without a beard but having the name beard. God, will that ever get old?

Jimmy Chamberlain (The Smashing Pumpkins) – The best of the pumpkins if you want my opinion. And you must or you wouldn’t be reading this.

sexy drum machineMax Weinberg (E Street Band, Meat Loaf, Max Weinberg 7) – I had to add someone to make this list ten names. He was the most obvious choice.

A Drum Machine (Too Many To Name) – I was in a band with one of these for a while and I have a ton of praise for these guys. He was always on time (both for and during practice), never got too drunk to play, never had girlfriend drama and never threatened to quit. Aside from his lack of stage presence and sleeping with my old lady he was perfect.

Tommy Ramone/Marky Ramone (The Ramones) – I’m not sure if the trophy should go to Tommy for inventing the Ramones’ drum beat or to Marky for perfecting it.

Raymond Herrera (Fear Factory) – I’ll just let his feet do the talking:

 

Tim ‘Herb’ Alexander (Primus) – Both he and Larry LaLonde are pure geniuses just for being able to work with Les Claypool.

Sean Kinney (Alice in Chains, Jerry Cantrell) – Do you know anyone else who could come up with those great intros to “Angry Chair” and “No Excuses”? I don’t.

Neil Peart (Rush) – I’m honestly not a huge fan of Rush. I like them, but I can’t say I love them. Still, Neil deserves a spot on this list.

Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, Probot, Scream) – I read him saying in an interview once that he is completely overrated as a drummer. And that may be true. He isn’t flashy, over the top or as machine gun fast as some other guys. But he has been very prolific as a timekeeper and has a knack for playing beats that accentuate the song without overpowering it. Sorry dude, you may be the best drummer ever.

#bottom12onthe17th


When I was preparing my list for the Top 15 on the 15th I came across a few albums that were close, but didn’t quite make the cut. I’m sure this happened to everyone and I noticed at least on person included them on their post. I didn’t do this because the original post ran long enough as it was and I didn’t want to clutter it up.

After Boppin’s Blog made the suggestion of posting the close calls I found it too hard to resist doing a second post for the almost made its. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a nice list post.

Plus I’ll milk a good idea until it’s completely drained.

 

The_Crow_soundtrack_album_coverOriginal Motion Picture Soundtrack The Crow (1995) – Definitely would have made the list if it had a better second half.

Fear Factory Demanucacture (1995) – I’m not really into heavy metal as much as I used to be, but this is still one of the defining records of the genre for me.

GWAR We Kill Everything (1999) – GWAR aren’t really a band known for their records. This one is the first I ever bought from them and features some of my favorite songs from like “Fucking an Animal” and “Fishfuck.” Classic.

Ministry Psalm 69 (1992) – Yet again, the metal thing. But this one is right up there with Pantera and Megadeth in terms of thrash brilliance.

Mudvayne The End of All Things To Come (2002) – This is what happened when good musicians played nu-metal.

Red Hot Chili Peppers BloodSugarSexMagic (1991) – I was surprised to not see more RHCP on the top 15 lists. This one is a classic, but for me it’s a Top 25 classic.

Meat Loaf Bat Out Of Hell (1977) – A classic hard rock album that has never been duplicated.

Dead Kennedys Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (1980) – Where would punk be without the Dead Kennedys? They’re definitely my favorite socially-conscious rockers.

Ozzy Osbourne No More Tears (1991) – I was also surprised by the lack of Ozzy on most lists; but yet again, Top 20.

Tool AEnima gifTool AEnima (1996) – This was right before Tool lost me in their strange heavy prog. But I love this album. Not just for the tunes, but also for the weird interludes.

Nirvana Unplugged in New York (1994) – It’s hard to pick a favorite Nirvana album because they’re all so different. I chose this one because even though it’s missing the loud, distorted guitars and scream-till-you’re-hoarse vocals it displays the beauty of Cobain’s simple songwriting skills.

Fiona Apple When the Pawn… (1999) – This album was right there with Madman Across The Water and Temple of the Dog on my list of “OK, I’m done drinking now and I want to go to sleep” list. As I always had trouble sleeping after too many beers I listened to it a lot. And I’m still pretty in love with it.

Happy Valentine’s Day


In honor of the loneliest day of the year for me (which I usually spend watching rom-coms and crying) I will present you with the most romantic song in existence.

 

Of course, the fact that I think this is the most romantic song in existence probably has something to do with why I’m using so many tissues today.

Happy Valentine’s Day!