Defcon Hacker Con Road Trip DJ - song suggestions sought
July 11, 2004 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Every year I run a caravan from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for the annual Defcon hacker convention. We net about 50 cars and run a micropower radio station out of the pace car to keep them all up to date. Since listening to traffic updates for three hours isn't very compelling we liven up the mix by throwing down a mix of road trip friendly music spooled off a laptop in the off times.

Basically, I've played DJ [spinning everything from techno to punk to country] for the past five years and I'm starting to run out of fresh ideas. I thought I'd ask the collective at Ask.MeFi what they like to listen to when they take a road trip. Genre isn't an issue, as long as it has a driving beat I'd be likely to use it. Thanks!
posted by boogah to Grab Bag (34 answers total)
You're in charge of Cannonball Run, huh? A braver man than I.

Since it's only 3 hours I don't have any useful suggestions. For longer trips, we usually stick in the standard techno faire for the first couple hours, then put in Billy Bragg & Wilco's Mermaid Avenue to cleanse the palate, then back to techno stuff. Lately the girl's been into a lot of downtempo. Check out the "Hotel Costes" CDs for some crusin' (as opposed to drivin') music.
posted by falconred at 3:01 PM on July 11, 2004

Now that is just plain cool, a mobile radio station for the caravan. As to your question, I live in NJ so I like Bruce Springsteen, especially his acoustic stuff. However, you young hipsters probably think he is some sort of Paleolithic fossil.
posted by caddis at 3:03 PM on July 11, 2004

You should play a game of StarCraft: Brood War or C&C: Tiberian Sun on the laptop, and broadcast the audio from that. That stuff is fun listening, especially if you keep clicking on units to make them do their unit acknowledgements. That's just me*

*Disclaimer: I am insane
posted by ac at 3:10 PM on July 11, 2004

For desert driving I've always liked Art of Noise's Drum & Base Collection and Robert Miles' Dreamland.
posted by thewittyname at 3:19 PM on July 11, 2004

You can't go wrong, cruising across the Palm Desert, listenin' to Kyuss.
posted by ph00dz at 3:32 PM on July 11, 2004

I like listening to those "road epic" southern rock songs like Blackfoot's "Highway Song," The Outlaws "Green Grass & High Tides Forever" and of course "Freebird."

"Cowboy Song" by Thin Lizzy is not southern rock, but it fits moodwise.
posted by jonmc at 3:37 PM on July 11, 2004

Question: Are you wanting to drive madly above the speed limit, or just follow the speed limit? :-D
posted by shepd at 3:39 PM on July 11, 2004

Instead of whole records, here's some of great singles-for-driving-to, off the toppa my head:

Chemical Brothers - "Where Do I Start, Where Do I Begin"
Peter Gabriel - "Salsbury Hill"
The Frames - "Rent Day Blues"
The Beatles - "Twist and Shout"
The New Pornographers - "All for Swinging You Around"
Tom Ze - "Van (Menina, Manha de manha)"
Loudon Wainwright III - "Dump the Dog"
White Stripes - "Hotel Yorba"
Badly Drawn Boy - "Once Around the Block"
Loo and Placido - "DJ Love Affair"
Loose Fur - "Chinese Apple"
Wilco - "California Stars" (see falconred)
Doves - "There Goes the Fear"
Modest Mouse - "Gravity Rides Everything"
Damien Jurado - "Johnny Go Riding"
Reindeer Section - "You Are My Joy"
Professor Longhair - "Go to the Mardi Gras"
Pavement - "Stereo"
John Vanderslice - "Do You Remember"
Tragically Hip - "Poets"
Spoon - "Don't Let It Get You Down"
Sun Kil Moon - "Si Paloma"
REM - "Drive" [ha]
Zoobombs - "Mo' Funky [pt 1]"
Broken Social Scene - "Looks Just Like the Sun"
Four Tet - "She Moves She"
Long Winters - "Cinnamon"
Mogwai - "My Father My King"
Soul Coughing - "True Dreams of Wichita"
Dismemberment Plan - "You Are Invited"

Eek - the toppa my head must be embarassingly indie.
posted by Marquis at 3:44 PM on July 11, 2004 [1 favorite]

I know this is way offbase for this camp, but for plains driving, nothing can beat Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Just tell 'em to listen.
posted by vers at 3:50 PM on July 11, 2004

I won't be believed, but I think Capt. Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica makes good driving music. Really. Give it a shot. Thick as a Brick is ok too.
posted by kenko at 4:17 PM on July 11, 2004

Maybe it's a little silly, but have you considered just loading up the hard drive, sitting by the cel phone, and taking requests from the caravan? Or maybe pointing a directional antenna backwards, hooking up a wireless AP and one of those web accessible playlist managers? I'm willing to bet you can run up quite a playlist that way.
posted by majick at 4:24 PM on July 11, 2004

No votes for Convoy?
posted by sugarfish at 5:20 PM on July 11, 2004

falconred: Actually, TommEE is in charge of the Cannonball Run. I'm the guy who does the not nearly as popular Death Race [self link]. Funny that I'm saying it's not as popular, because we seem to get more cars than TommEE's caravan. C'est la vie.

caddis: Some Springsteen may do. Any reccomended tracks?

ac: You are insane.

thewittyname, jonmc vers, kenko: All great suggestions. I'll look into them.

Marquis: That's actually a wonderful list. Indie or no, I like to mix it up a bit and that should blend into the mix nicely.

ph00dz: Will some Eagles of Death Metal do?

shepd: Since there's 50 of us we end up pacing the highway at about 85mph [+/-5mph] or so. So not too fast but definitely not too slow.

majick: The thought crossed our mind but we've had some bad experiences with setting up ad-hoc wifi networks for the caravans in the past. Something about people getting upset with losing the signal and trying to zoom ahead of thier group to get back in touch with the AP. It's caused several near misses.

sugarfish: Are you taking the piss? I can see playing it for irony's sake - and I have put it on the setlist in the past. But everyone ends up yelling over the HAM/CB/FRS channels for us to turn it off.
posted by boogah at 5:49 PM on July 11, 2004

Jem - "They"
posted by SpecialK at 6:01 PM on July 11, 2004 [1 favorite]

Born to Run, Candy's Room, Cover Me, Born in the USA, The River, Jungle Land, Youngstown (live in NYC version), Muder Inc (pref. live version again), War, Because the Night, Land of Hope and Dreams, Thunder Road (killer live acoustic version out there), Countin' on a Miracle.
He has many other great tunes, but those are his more upbeat driving songs, though none of them are straight-up acoustic (the versions I have at least).
-ok, ok, I'm no caddis but I love me some Boss.
posted by jmd82 at 6:04 PM on July 11, 2004 [1 favorite]

They Might Be Giants' Flood. It's great to sing along!

J-Pop is fun. Careful, though: listening to the soundtrack for Initial D will add at least 15 mph to your crusing speed.

Actually, my favorite thing in the world when starting a road trip is playing the theme from Star Wars when I hit the freeway. Zoom, baby!
posted by SPrintF at 6:14 PM on July 11, 2004 [1 favorite]

boogah - No no, I've heard of DeathRace as well. But Cannonball was the first one I saw on when I went to refresh my memory. But I'm flying down from Seattle so whatever! :P
posted by falconred at 8:25 PM on July 11, 2004

ditto jmd82's suggestion of "Candy's Room" especially the live version on the box set. Also, a cheesy but appropriate choice Quad City DJ's "C'mon & Ride It (The Train)" and the Raspberries "Go All The Way" and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" which are inspiring songs no matter what the circumstance.
posted by jonmc at 8:28 PM on July 11, 2004

Bruce's acoustic stuff is not too upbeat in terms of the stories, but the music is great. Some of my favorites include Youngstown, Nebraska, the Ghost of Tom Joad, Sinaloa Cowboys and Johnny 99. If you can find it on bootleg, Pilgrim in the Temple of Love (also known as Santa Gets a Blow Job) is pretty funny. For upbeat, the fans go wild for Rosalita (Rosy) and Born to Run.
posted by caddis at 8:45 PM on July 11, 2004

Calexico. Gram Parsons. Marah's "kids in Philly". And, I hate to say it, Blues Traveler's "four".
posted by notsnot at 8:58 PM on July 11, 2004 [1 favorite]

I'm going to be caravaning up from phoenix with the local d00dz... Dunno what they have planned, but apparently, hijinks always ensue.

Anyway, boogah, nothing can touch Kyuss. Not the Queens of the Stoneage. Not Fu Manchu. Not Unida. It's all about "... And the Circus Left Town"
posted by ph00dz at 9:16 PM on July 11, 2004

Or you could get all of TMBG's songs (all, like, 500 of them). Hit shuffle, and drive. You would probably crash your car, though... and... um..

I dont know about the music but I just cannot get over how cool the radio thing is. Maybe if you had Wireless G, with signal boosters, and repeaters in some wellplaced cars? THAT would be cool. How do you transmit on the radio? Curious.
posted by ac at 9:17 PM on July 11, 2004

as much jimmy smith as you can get your hands on.
posted by juv3nal at 10:34 PM on July 11, 2004

Bon Scott-era AC/DC, and Ray Charles. You can't beat it.
posted by dong_resin at 2:46 AM on July 12, 2004

I love LA - Randy Newman: My favourite cheesy driving song.
posted by loquax at 4:37 AM on July 12, 2004 [1 favorite]

come on guys... KRAFTWERK. all kraftwerk all the time.
posted by clockwork at 6:25 AM on July 12, 2004

Brazilian Drum and Bass - Marky and LX....Patife etc - great driving music...
posted by mattr at 7:37 AM on July 12, 2004


posted by headless at 7:41 AM on July 12, 2004

This is a popular topic on the Road Trip America forums--see threads here and here.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:29 AM on July 12, 2004

For long car trips, I seem to like long old songs:

Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann
Sympathy for the Devil - Rolling Stones
American Pie - Don McLean

that sort of thing.

Another option would be to run a "guess the movie" contest. Collect 100 scenes from (semi-)famous movies and broadcast them over the radio and see who can guess the most correctly. Have each car in the convoy submit an entry with their guesses at the end of the trip.
posted by grum@work at 8:42 AM on July 12, 2004 [1 favorite]

Little Feat's Dixie Chicken (whole album). Great driving tunes.
posted by gnz2001 at 11:50 AM on July 12, 2004

"I Know You're Out There Somewhere" -- Moody Blues and a couple of the other tracks from their "Legend Of An Band" CD

and of course, the all-time, number one driving song:

"Jessica" -- Allman Bros
posted by baylink at 6:03 PM on July 12, 2004 [1 favorite]

Wagner - Flight of the Valkyries on loop
posted by alex3005 at 1:27 AM on July 14, 2004

We listened to a lot of music on the multi-day, many-stop trip from SF to Bman99, but of it all, "Texas Funeral" by Jon Wayne is kind of "the soundtrack" for me. That and the Glueys.

ac: How do you transmit on the radio? Curious.

An iTrip, the most compact FM transmitter I have seen, can broadcast for several feet outside of the car, or broadcast to the car when outside of it [we have used this to keep a firm grip on the mix sequence for tailgate parties].
I recently read that, if you crack open its little white case and extract the antenna, it will broadcast even farther. So I would imagine you could connect another, less compact, FM transmitter and conceivably broadcast across several car-lengths or more.
posted by britain at 12:39 PM on July 15, 2004

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