I recently wrote a quick list of Tom Petty songs to include on your road trip playlist. Below is an extension of that (sort of). Since we all know (and miss) Tom Petty, I thought it might be neat to make a list of perhaps not-so-common songs for your driving playlist. As I say with every “best-of” list we do here at Automoblog; this one is also by no means extensive. And this list of songs is mainly inspired by my time on rock radio in Omaha almost two decades ago (where does the time go).
There was an ad that ran in the mid-2000s for a service called OmahaHelpWanted.com. The tag line was “long name, amazing results.” That’s fitting here for …And You Will Know Us by the Trail Of Dead, a Texas outfit described as everything from the more fancy garage rock revival and artsy rock to the more standard alternative rock. Call it what you will, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (shorted usually to just Trail of Dead) is unique with two drummers who provide the foundation for Conrad Keely’s vocals.
The Rest Will Follow appears on the band’s 2005 album Worlds Apart. Inspirations for the Texas rockers are as numerous as they are diverse, including Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Public Enemy, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Vivaldi.
It was 2004, and the world was going off the rails, or so it seemed. The state of affairs at the time is wrapped up in The Faint’s audio odyssey Paranoiattack, track #6 on the Wet from Birth album. Seriously, only The Faint could piece together a string of what seems like random sounds into a coherent and collected commentary that appears equally as fitting today.
If you like what you hear in the video below, check out Fasciinatiion, which The Faint dropped in 2008. It was self-produced with bassist Joel Petersen serving as the record’s chief engineer.
#3: Nth Degree
This 2005 punchy pop track comes with a bit of a warning. It will get in your head. You will be singing it for days on end. You’re welcome. Our program director at KIWR said that if any of us DJs made jokes about the band’s name, we would be removed from the air. That didn’t stop one brave jock from doing so, who was never heard from again.
Oh, about the band’s name: Morningwood. So there we were as DJs, a bunch of 20-somethings, mostly unsupervised at night, surrounded by high-frequency equipment that likely fried our brain cells, loaded on Redbull and Rockstar (and some of us probably other stuff too) while trying to fumble around a studio on zero sleep. But no, why would we make a joke about this band’s name.
Fun Fact: Mercury used Nth Degree in a commercial for the 2007 Milan. Mercury was promoting how the 07 Milan was available with all-wheel drive. With $2,000 down, you could lease an I-4 Milan for $238 a month at the time. My how times have changed. Morningwood is no longer performing, Mercury is no longer selling cars, and today’s average new vehicle payment – anywhere from $450 to $600 per month – has shot straight to the Nth degree.
#4: Another Drink
Héctor Anchondo has always been a musical powerhouse, a veritable beat factory that cranks out riff after riff in a similar fashion to how we build cars here in Detroit. After helming the Anchondo band and releasing popular albums like Rookies of the Year and The Audience Is Waiting, Héctor went on to play the blues. And did he ever. Anchondo took home top honors in the 2020 International Blues Challenge, a well-deserved accolade after struggling and starving the way many musicians do.
“Winning this feels like a reward for having stuck with music for 24 years,” he said. “I had flashbacks of all the journeys, sleeping on floors, years of sleeping in the van, overnight drives, no pay, credit card debt for the cause, broken-down vans, the list goes on.”
There isn’t a video of Another Drink on YouTube, so I will link to the track on ReverbNation. The video below is of Anchondo performing at the Ron Hull Studio in Lincoln, Nebraska.
#5: Word Up!
If Limp Bizkit can marry The Verve and Mötley Crüe in the same song, and Kid Rock can mash Skynyrd and Warren Zevon together, and Eminem can go Berzerk on the mojo of Billy Squier and the Beastie Boys, then Nu-metal giants Korn deserve a stab at Cameo’s 1986 funk hit.
Appearing on Korn’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1, the Word Up! cover was joined by a rendition of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall. Korn absolutely nailed both cover versions, and until Godsmack’s take on Good Times Bad Times for their greatest hits, I had not heard a better cover by any band at the time. Shannon Larkin did John Bonham’s kick drum footwork justice.
As for Korn, diehard fans will fondly recall their early days with producer Ross Robinson. The band’s self-titled debut album ushered in a new type of metal, with groups like Limp Bizkit and Slipknot not far behind. Follow the Leader in 1998 yielded a bevy of hits, including Freak on a Leash, Got the Life, and Children of the Korn, the latter of which featured Ice Cube. A year later, in 1999, Korn would drop Issues with Falling Away from Me as the lead single.
Korn is still rocking. Their new album Requiem is set for release on February 4th, 2022.
What Are Your Favorite Road Trip Songs?
If you have something to add to this list, let us know on Twitter. I apologize in advance for the Morningwood song getting in your head; it really is catchy. Safe travels, and keep rocking!
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan. Before the automotive industry, Carl was on the air at popular Midwest radio stations KIWR, KEZO, KQCH, KJAN, and KELO-FM.