My dad taught me to love music. Not all music, but good music. Mostly what we would call classic Rock; rock bands from his adolescence or early adulthood.
His favorite bands include Kiss, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Deep Purple, The Who, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the “Holy Trinity” Rush. In the past he’s been known to enjoy Offspring, but I’m not sure of this is still on his hits list.
I can’t remember ever riding in the car with my dad without something going in the background. Sometimes, if the song was especially good, he’d crank the volume up so loud the rearview mirrors would shake to the beat. Rock at those decibels gets into your DNA — that’s science.
Every car ride deserves it’s own soundtrack. These should be tailored properly to fit the mood, the errand, the length of the drive, and the passengers in the vehicle. Volume and audience participation will also vary depending on the music selection. An important note should be made; if you choose to sing along, please sing the correct lyrics or be faced with ridicule and mockery until the destination is reached.
The first step to one of my dad’s car ride concerts is search and find. He has a very particular posture for this, as well as for each listening mode.
If he’s in SCANNING MODE, he’ll spend time scanning stations to see if a good song is playing. For this he’ll be in an upright, attentive, and slightly forward sitting position. Left hand on the wheel and right hand scanning stations. He knows exactly which buttons to press on the radio, so his eyes are always on the road. Once he’s scanned thoroughly, he’ll either decide on a station to wait on or find just the right jam to fit his mood.
With his perfect song of the moment found, the concert would begin. To rock your car ride simply remember; car ride music is usually heavy metal or classic rock and it’s usually loud.
As my father will tell you, all rock must be identified — as a sort of pop quiz — before fully enjoying. I am terrible at naming bands, song names, and song lyrics. My strategy for answering the ever looming, “who is this?” question was to respond the same way every time hoping just once it’ll be right.
“Tool!” I would confidently shout over the blaring stereo. But the band was never Tool. Not one time.
Once my dad finished shaking his head and chuckling at my terrible guess, he’d ask my siblings (if they were in the car) before revealing the answer or congratulating the correct guesser. Then he’d switch gears to a very specific listening mode — ROCK MODE.
For ROCK MODE, my dad’s posture will be that of a drummer mid-concert. Sitting upright, but without tension. The steering wheel is his main drum and they keys dangling from the ignition are his cymbals — use these sparingly. He’ll drum along to the song and rely on anything from his lap, the dash, the windows, or the door to add to his drum set. Passengers beware — your leg could become part of his drum set. Deal with it.
For ROCK MODE drum set, make sure you beatbox heavily along with your hand drumming. Bob your head to the beat and don’t be shy — all rock drummers get into it. Drumming, after all, is a physically demanding talent. If you don’t believe me, ask Neil Peart. (Pro tip: always be Neil Peart — he’s good — really good).
With a flourish, the keys will clatter. This finishing touch signals that the drum solo is over and it’s time to switch to air guitar. Usually, for ROCK MODE, the air guitar is limited to guitar solos or amazing riffs. Air guitar uses the left hand on the wheel as the guitar fret hand and his right leg for strumming.
For ROCK MODE air guitar, be sure to scrunch your face up tight and making wailing sounds along with the song. (Pro top: always be Kirk Lee Hammett, unless you can be Ritchie Blackmore, then be Ritchie Blackmore. Also – style matters people!)
To fully enjoy ROCK MODE, don’t just be the lead singer. That’s boring. Don’t be boring. We can all sing along to the lyrics — no skill involved there. Play an imaginary instrument — even the synthesizer is better than being a bump on a log! Also, don’t even try to sing just like the recording artist responsible for your rock. They got famous because they are talented and probably work super hard. No points will be awarded even if you can screech like some of the best. (Pro tip: every song could use more cow bell. MORE COW BELL!)