Christian Slater acting a fantasy every radio DJ has had some variation of.

In general, I don’t listen to but one radio station in my hometown, but while on the road, I scan the airwaves.

I do this for the same reason I always try to catch a local newscast. Listening to whatever local radio keeps in rotation gives you a good sense for the vibe of the town you’re in. And I find I’m almost always surprised by what I hear.

While in Reno recently, I was driving back from the Tarantino XX thing, and on one station alone I heard the following four songs in order: “No Rain” by Blind Melon, “Dude Looks Like a Lady” by Aerosmith (a song I haven’t heard in the wild since it was used in Mrs. Doubtfire in 1993), “Blue Monday” by New Order, and “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow. That is one fucking bizarre lineup. Who put that together? That’s a playlist that looks like it was assembled by otherwise boring people who all got stoned together and started randomly demanding their iPod selection be heard next. (I had no objection to this playlist by the way, it was damned enjoyable on a lonely highway and better than most alternatives.)

On that same trip I heard “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” by Motley Crue on a different station. Who is that song for?

Likewise, when I was in Hawaii, a station legitimately played “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful, a song I was certain was relegated to the commercial dustbin to sell airline upgrades and appetizers at chain restaurants that decorate their walls with wacky shit.

In Bozeman, MT “Land of Confusion” by Genesis came on, a band I normally loathe fiercely, and I cranked that fucker up and drove into town rocking my balls off. I don’t know why.

Nor can I pinpoint exactly why I belted out “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle on a long car trip through rural Utah.

Travel allows you a departure from your hometown. Local radio played during travel allows you a departure from yourself. Sing and rock out with impunity.

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