Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Neverending Workout

I don't exercise much these days, but when I do, I enjoy listening to my iPod. I like setting it on "shuffle" and seeing which of my 5,886 songs comes on next. When I'm especially bored, I try to think of reasons why one song is linked to the next. Sort of like playing a rock and roll Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Last night, I wasn't actually planning on working out. I was merely taking a short walk after dinner. Then - I hit play on my iPod. The Breeders "Little Fury". Great song on an underrated record. I started to imagine what song would come up next. Guided By Voices. An obscure song from one of their earlier records. Easy to connect. Kim Deal from The Breeders was romantically linked to GBV, and had even produced them. Kim Deal and Bob Pollard recorded a duet together, and both bands covered each other live.

Most importantly to this story, however, was that I'd seen both bands live. Several times, in fact.
Next came the Clash. "All The Young Punks". Now, I'm sure I could have come up with a better link to the GBV song, but I settled for them both being bands I'd seen live. Up next was the Ramones "Rock and Roll High School" followed by Frank Black's "Farewell Bend". I could think of clever connections for all these songs, but now I was sort of becoming impressed with myself. I have hundreds of albums on my iPod. The fact that I'd seen all of these bands live was kind of cool.

As I headed back towards my house, I decided to not stop working out until my iPod played me a song by someone I had never seen live.

Jeff Tweedy, Jane's Addiction, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Pj Harvey. Not only had I seen every one of these live, I don't think there was anyone on this list I'd seen less than five times! (If you count Joe Strummer in lieu of The Clash)

As I got back to my house, I realized I was gonna have to get on the exercise bike.

The first song I heard as I pedaled was Mission of Burma covering the Stooges "1970". Ha! I's seen MoB and The Stooges! Then came Stevie Wonder. I slowed down for a second. I had never seen Stevie Wonder in concert. Could it be? Was I done? Then I remembered... Stevie Wonder performed at the TV Land Awards a few years ago. It wasn't a full concert, but I had seen him perform live! I continued to pedal.

Another Neil Young song. The Pixies. GBV. Beck. Mission of Burma, again. Elvis Costello.

At this point, I was starting to become really tired. My knees hurt. My back was sore. I couldn't remember the last time I sweated this much. I began to think about giving up. This was becoming perverse. But it would be such a copout to quit now.

The Sex Pistols "Liar". The Ramones "I Don't Care". This song is only a minute and a half. I can make it through this song. I decided that I would go on until my iPod played a song by a band I've never seen OR when it played a song by someone it had already played. Something had to give.

The Shins. The Who. Would I ever hear a song by a band I hadn't seen? Mudhoney. Cat Power. And then...

Guided By Voices. Finally. Based on the new rules of the game, I could stop.

20 bands. 25 songs. Nearly an hour and a half of exercise.

Of course, when I exercise again, my iPod will pick up where it left off, and this maddening game will continue. I don't know about you, but an hour on an exercise bike is hard. Why did I have to like music so much?!


1 comment:

Tamah said...

Interesting to know.