It’s amazing. No sooner had I finished basking in the glory of my incredibly successful Perfect Day Soundtrack, than the phone rang and once again Hef was on the other end.
“My days have been perfect since I started listening to your soundtrack, Jim.”
I beamed in exaltation. “Now I know you can do me one more small request. Spring Break is coming up fast and some bunnies and I are gonna do an old-fashioned road trip. We’re starting in New York, and driving to Malibu. Make it upbeat, and East to West, Jim… East to West.”
When I think of bunnies I don’t think much of guitar fans. So I started a list of bunny-friendly bouncy electro numbers. But I road-tested them, and it was all wrong. Let’s face it: No one’s a bunny on the road. Guitars and cars… it works. Techno is good for city driving, but changing oil is like changing strings. Crusty road days and sloppy road food need rock and roll… fuel for lots of hand-surfing, wind-face-ing, and other more steamy road hijinks.
This list is gleaned from the best road trips of my life. I’ve been all over and it’s all tried and true. The USA was made for road trips… not exactly a carbon neutral form of entertainment, but someone’s gotta keep those roadside mom and pops alive. Duty calls…
LYDIA LUNCH – SUICIDE OCEAN
As you pull out of New York, you gotta let go of all that drab, dark city-dweller poison and black clouds over your head. This one always works for me.
RENAISSANCE – CAN YOU UNDERSTAND
With that out of the way, start things right with prog and hippie philosophy. The city mind melts away and you get the larger view, man.
LED ZEPPLIN – FOUR STICKS
Perfect driving speed music, in 5/4 time. So groovy. You’ll want to hit this one more than once.
SLINT – BREADCRUMB TRAIL
A song about carnivals with spoken word in it… this is what the word roadtrip means. Hef loves Slint.
PAVEMENT – PASSAT DREAM
This one goes great with boring scenery and drive-thru. Mellow ones are important.
GRATEFUL DEAD – ST. STEPHEN/THE ELEVEN/TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT
This will kill a lot of time going cross country, and it works anywhere in America, just like the band did. This is Dead at their most heaviest. Even a bunny can dig the Dead when there’s nothing else to do.
JOHNNY RIVERS – MEMPHIS
As you approach the south and move towards Texas here are some choice tunes to dig the region with.
OZARK MOUNTAIN DAREDEVILS – BREAKAWAY
GARY US BONDS – NEW ORLEANS
ZZ TOP – ENJOY AND GET IT ON
THE DOORS – RIDERS ON THE STORM
For your first nighttime rainy stretch whether in the desert or city lights.
LEONARDO FAVIO – MI AMANTE NINA, MI COMPANERA
If you happen to drive through Las Cruces this will be the best protection you can hope for.
SPRAY PALS – DEAD SEA
As you approach the West coast, you might have some grey days where a more contemplative mood is in order.
THE BREEDERS – DRIVIN ON 9
THE RAMONES – DANNY SAYS
JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS – CRIMSON AND CLOVER
AC/DC – HAVE A DRINK ON ME
Save this one for the last night you’ll get to rip in to some serious partying.
Alas, your trip over, suddenly you’re thinking about all that laundry you’re going to have to do, and reuniting with friends and family members, who just won’t understand what they missed. This tune came up in the mix on a road trip I took in my teens, two days before reaching home, and we just about fell out of the car we were so gutted. Tough love. Essential to finish things off with no loose ends or false hopes.
THE DOORS – SUMMER’S ALMOST GONE