Four Wheeled Riffs: A Day on the Radio

I love my dads truck. It’s nothing special, a fleet model Sierra. Power nothing, cloth everything, no carpets, just rubber floors. It’s about as bare bones a truck as you can buy. This starkness is carried into the stereo system. No tapes, no CD’s, no AUX-in. Just two knobs on an AM/FM receiver and some halfway decent speakers.

So as I loaded up the truck with some furniture to take to school along the four hour round trip, I knew I would only have the radio to keep me amused as I barreled down the freeways.

I have a pretty love/hate relationship with the radio. I’ve had some pretty sublime moments involving motor vehicles and some random radio stations but then again, I’ve been subjected to years of radio-rock white potato mishmash, sellouts and a heaping helping of garbage programming.

So with that at the back of my mind, I loaded up my presets and got ready to surf the radio waves.

The choices for this ride were 89.5 CIUT (Toronto), 104.1 The Dock (Orillia), 94.9 The Rock (Oshawa), Rock 95.7 (Barrie) and Q107 (Toronto). A hefty combination of cock and classic rock on a 30 degree Sunday. Windows down and the radio up, here’s a collection of songs that really hit the sweet spot today.

The Rolling Stones: Sympathy For The Devil

The Rolling Stones are most assuredly one of the most commercially successful and massively influential bands of our time. They took rock ‘n’ roll through it’s golden age, lavishing in the drugs, booze and women that every rock star dreams of. It goes without saying that Mic Jagger was also one of the best front men of our time, even though he’s almost a dried up cadaver, what he did back in the day can never be touched.

“Sympathy For The Devil” has long been a favorite song of mine, one of the few that always raises the hairs on my neck and gives me that little tingle. Suffice to say, I was pretty pleased to start the trip with this.

George Thorogood: 1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, 1 Beer

This is one of those rare radio treasures. It rarely gets played, due to its long run time and slightly off kilter groove. So it makes every time you hear it that much sweeter. I was surprised to find out this was a cover of the original 1952, Rudy Toombs version. I scoured around for a while but I couldn’t find it for comparison.

Some sweet, sweet, sweet blues guitar and what could be considered the best chorus (and bar order) in recent memory. You always know it’s coming and your always ready to sing along when it does.

The Headstones: Tweeter & The Monkey Man

The Headstones were a foundation of Canadian cock rock in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Fronted by Hugh Dillon (Hard Core Logo), they made arena rock, plain and simple.

“Tweeter & The Monkey Man” was original written by The Travelling Willburies in collaboration with Bob Dylan. It tells the story of two down and out drug dealers, their undercover cop nemesis and his sister Jan.

I usually stick by the original but in this case the remake just rubs me the right way, with a meaty fucking riff serving as the canvas for the story of Tweeter and Monkey Man to be told. Both versions are below for you to decide on.

Boston: Rock and Roll Band

I fucking love Boston. Classic and classic can get, upbeat and as infectious as the plague. It never fails to put a smile on my face because it sounds so damn good. Keyboards, minty solos, and everything is instantly memorable. It’s fun and lighthearted, which is exactly what I want to hear on a sunny day without any commitments.

Those are just a couple of the choice songs from my drive today. If you’re every looking for something to do on a sunny day, hop in the car and burn some gasoline. There is something unmistakably sublime about an open road and songs you enjoy. It sounds cliché but it’s true, so go give it a try.


3 Responses to “Four Wheeled Riffs: A Day on the Radio”

  1. I don’t know what it is, but i think alot of those 70s rock anthems sound best thru shitty speakers cranked up over 75 mph of wind noise. Something about the way they are mixed.

    I haven’t heard Tweeter and the Monkey Man (either version) or the Headstones. Good tunes.

    Enjoy school.


    • They were accounting for wind noise back in the day. It’s kinda like the vinyl argument, somethings just sound better with a little bit of grime.

  2. Tweeter and the Monkey Man is one HELLUVA song. The Headstones version is anyway. After ripping through it….The Wilburys’ version was like elevator music. I’ve never heard of The Headstones…..we’re sheltered I guess down in Alabama. But I will be checking them out. Somehow.

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