"To the West, We Will Run"

Yesterday we listened to the Minutes rough mixes on the way out to The Lake. I think it was John Fogerty who said you need to listen to a record on a car stereo before you determine if it's ready. Even without mastering, these Minutes songs are fantastic: Varied, rich, heartbreaking.

We thought we were headed to a new beach. I've heard people reference this beach and how great it is for years, but never knew where it was and couldn't find directions on the interwebs. Someone finally gave me directions, so we grabbed our respective Krakauer books (Banner of Heaven for me, Where Men Win Glory for my special man) and a couple of pounds of blueberries and flew lakeward across west Michigan. It wasn't until we pulled into the parking lot that we realized that we'd been to this beach dozens of times, we'd just come from another direction and called it something different. It's the beach I where I spent many late nights and early mornings after closing the coffee shop, and one we've been taking Zu to since we had to lug their diapered ass up the dune. It's actually in our top five of Places to Pay Respect to The Lake. I was glad we got the opportunity to check out a different route, though. At one point, during a somewhat Galaxie-500-y guitar break, while passing a field of nothing but Queen Anne's Lace, I said, "I love driving on roads I've never seen before."

Manfriend said, "You're about to do nothing but that." That was the first time I got excited about the trip. I think I've been so distracted by details that I forgot to be stoked.

This got me thinking about the specific alchemy of music and driving. Until recently, my vehicular listening options were radio and whichever tape I could score at Goodwill. We now have cd and ipod available to us. If you haven't been in subsistence listening mode for the last decade, you may not understand just how decadent this new arrangement is for me.

All four of us on this upcoming trip are obsessive about music. It is as much a life force as breath and blood. Fortunately, we share a lot of musical tastes. Led Zeppelin is a go all around, as are White Stripes, Beatles, Minor Threat, The Evens, PJ Harvey, The Pixies, Prince (duh), just to name a few. There are some areas in which we go cattywampus, such as in any discussion of reggae and a great deal of new folk. With 80-some hours in the car together, it is imperative that we find some perfect foundation on which to balance this issue. I've devised a system of selection which I'm hoping is failproof. We begin with the driver and, working in clockwise fashion, each traveler selects a record. Volume is negotiable relative to circumstance, selection is not, unless chooser forfeits their turn. Complaints (esp. in the form of whining) will lose one's subsequent turn. This will be fervently recognized in the case of complaints about Bob Marley or Bob Dylan. Both Bobs are beyond reproach for the duration of our excursion.

I'm mulling my options. I want to make my selections count. I want stuff that's expansive but not domineering. I don't want the musics to dominate the possibility of either fresh conversation or peaceful reflection. Perfect From Now On. To Bring You My Love. What's Going On? Get Evens. On the Mouth. Artificial Horizon. OK Computer. Instrument Soundtrack. Abbey Road? Revolver? The White Album?