I created a playlist on my iPod for riding the trainer, running the treadmill & warming up before the races. Just about the only thing it’s missing is Minor Threat & that’s because the dirty scoundrel who lifted one of my favorite albums of all time hasn’t stepped forward yet. I could use a little Dead Kennedys too. Anyway, here it is with a short explanation of how it made the playlist.
We’re Gonna’ Fight – 7 Seconds
Instead of starting slow & ramping it up, I figure, what the hell? Let’s go hard from the word go. This song makes me want to go out and kick some ass (hence the title) – under the straight edge influence of sobriety, of course. You see, 7 Seconds was a straight edge band.
Voice of God is Government – Bad Religion
As an adolescent, this song sent me into a rage. I probably snapped a few bed springs jumping on my bed uncontrollably while blasting good old (not new) Bad Religion. Today, the lyrics, “…dig real deep, until it hurts. alleviate your guilt…” is perfect motivation to keep suffering (pun intended).
Clean Sheets – Descendents
Hell hath no fury like a teenager rejected for another.
City of Angles – The Distillers
I love to hear Brody Dalle scream in my ear. She’s a nice girl & makes me want to ride real fast.
Barroom Hero – Dropkick Murphys
“Face down in the gutter, won't admit defeat though his clothes are soiled and black, he's a big strong man with a child's mind, don't you take his booze away!” Sometimes, when I’m singing this, I change the word booze to bike.
Selfish Man – Flogging Molly
My least favorite of the traditional Irish rock bands, Flogging Molly still gets it done. Selfish Man is fast, hard (for Flogging Molly) & has a lot of screaming. The tone & voice of Selfish Man is just plain bitter, which translates into power to the pedals.
Violet – Hole
I love to hear Courtney scream in my ear even more than I love to hear Brody scream in my ear.
Hurt – Johnny Cash
One of the only Nine Inch Nails songs I can stomach. This song is probably the slowest song on the playlist, but has some of the most appropriate lyrics. “I hurt myself today, to see if I still felt. I focus on the pain. The only thing that’s real.”
Kick Out the Jams – MC5
For no other reason than the Motor City 5 was one of the original "punk" bands.
So What – Ministry
Bruce Brown said, “Motorcycle racing is a violent sport,” and anyone who knows it well can say the same thing about bicycle racing. I don’t know of many songs more violent than Ministry’s So What. “Kill for a thrill.”
Where Eagles Dare – Misfits
In the old days before I had an iPod, even before I had a CD walkman, I used to listen to the Misfits on my cassette-driven walkman at the Rialto Sports Center. Danzig could keep me concentrated on the stair climber for hours.
Suspect Device – Naked Raygun
Originally a Stiff Little Fingers song, I believe Naked Raygun perfected it. “Naked who?” you ask. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.
Sound System – Operation Ivy
The ska beat of this one makes for a good fast pedal cadence & that’s it.
Bottle of Smoke – The Pogues
Those who know me well, know that I’ve adopted Shane MacGowan, the longtime singer of the Pogues, as my own. Partially because of pity, but more because he’s a flat-out bad-ass. The Pogues & Shane have been a mainstay of mine for almost 20 years & I don’t see that going away. Bottle of Smoke is a fast & hard angry Irish number about horse racing, but more importantly, it’s a Pogues song.
Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones
“Hey ho, let's go Hey ho, let's go!” Need I say more?
Blank Generation – Richard Hell & the Voidoids
Blank Generation is just an awesome song. Richard Hell was just an awesome singer. With no Richard Hell, there would have been no Johnny Rotten, but that’s a story I’ve told many times. The bottom line is that the thought of belonging to a blank generation can stir up a lot of angst. And what better way to deal with angst than on your bike.
Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones
Don McLean said it best in American Pie. “Oh, and as I watched him on the stage my hands were clenched in fists of rage. No angel born in Hell could break that Satan's spell.” Sympathy for the Devil will put you into a 6-minute trance controlled by Devil. Trances are good when you’re riding the trainer.
Zero – Smashing Pumpkins
I’ll try to make this story as short as possible. One of the first times the Pumpkins performed Zero was on Saturday Night Live & they did it as their second song, late, late into the night. A bunch of us were drinking at Jackie’s apartment at Azusa Pacific & had all fallen asleep on the floor & the couches by the time the Pumpkins came on to play their second number. Something in this song woke everybody up. We all sat up from the floor or couch & just stared at the TV as they played Zero. No one spoke; we just watched in amazement. It was a sobering experience.
Back And To The Left – Texas Is The Reason
Denise & I consider Back And To The Left a perfect song. The fast drum beat & guitar seem to move around flawlessly in a circular motion. It’s hard to put into words, but Texas Is the Reason puts words to the song that fit perfect with the music. This song is best listened to turned up loud and repeated over & over again, which is how we used to listen to it. It’s just over 3 minutes & when it ends you’re left wanting more.
Date with The Night – Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs
Frontwoman, Karen O is just plain crazy. She sings like a nutcase. I think she’s insane or not right in the head. Either that or she’s in the middle of intercourse while she’s singing & for some reason, the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs make for good exercise music.
Irish Rover – The Tossers
“This is the last one you mailto:f#@s!” Any song that starts with a lead like that won’t disappoint. The Tossers are my current day Pogues & they do this old Irish classic harder, faster & better than anyone I’ve heard. On top of that, it’s a raw live recording from some small joint in their hometown of Chicago.
Now go out & do the right thing.