Chick’s Corner: Tunes For The Dunes (And Mud And Rocks)

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Famous Beat author Jack Kerouac once said, “The only truth is music.” And truth is something to be cherished, folks. We as humans have used music for as long as civilization has existed.

From carved-bone flutes to the Minimoog Voyager XL, it has given joy and amusement to all sorts of endeavors. Today, I wanted to look at what types of music best complement the various ways to off-road.

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Sand/Dirt – Punchy

Chief Genre(s): Alternative Rock

Artists: Cake, Beck, Big Black Delta, Battle Tapes, The Offspring, etc.

Sand and dirt are best suited by music that makes your hair stick up on end. Prerunning through Ocotillo, kicking up rooster tails in Stoddard Valley, or taking off in Glamis; you want the notes you hear to be encouraging your feast of speed.

Alternative rock is where you’re bound to find a lot of good stuff. Start with the easy stuff like Cake or Beck, to carry you through whoops and washboards at a modest yet spirited speed. Songs like “Going The Distance” and “E-Pro” should do the truck in this instance. Going up a level, Battle Tapes’ “Valkyrie” and The Offspring’s “Self Esteem” will be the soundtrack to either your glorious 100-foot jump or tragic 60-foot barrel roll.

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Mud – Hardcore

Chief Genre(s): Metal, Country, Dubstep, Shredding, etc.

Artists: Skrillex, Knife Party, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Pantera, Nine Inch Nails, Steve Vai, Greg Howe, etc.

You and I both know that mud is where the fun’s at. When you see rooster tails of soppy, wet earth out the back of a square-body Chevy or whatever, you’re in for some good times.

Mudding is not the time for finding your pace or taking things slow. Right from the get-go, the experience is angry and no-holds-barred. It follows that the music should be just as furious and unfettered.

So what do we have on deck? The first song that comes to my mind is “Rage Valley” by Knife Party, back when Dubstep was pretty big. I might follow it up with “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, and then “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead. That last one is especially choice. Nine Inch Nails’ “The Hand That Feeds” might work well here, too. Shredding tends to start off a little light, but master guitarists like Steve Vai and Greg Howe can really take off when they get into it, so consider them as well.

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Rocks – Inspirational

Chief Genre(s): Classic Rock, 1980s Rock, etc.

Artists: Bob Seger, Mr. Mister, The Who, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top

Rockcrawling is a slow slog up and over gigantic obstacles. It takes meticulous input and careful consideration, as the terrain can look easy from a glance, but be a whole different beast once it comes time to prove your mettle.

Given the nature of rockcrawling, the last thing I’d recommend is high-intensity, heart-pounding music. You need to be on your A-game so you don’t roll down off of a boulder and die; pure and simple.

In these situations, the dulcet tones of classic rock and 1980s rock are the way to go. There was plenty of headbanging to be found during these periods, but we want the more poppy or power ballad-y selections that bless your patience; also, preferably on the slower side of tempo.

Mr. Mister’s “Kyrie” is inspirational as all get-out, as is “I Can See For Miles” by The Who. Following those two tunes, hit the “Play” button on ZZ Top’s “Rough Boy” and then “Hollywood Hills” by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

What are a few of your favorite songs to play while off-roading? Or do you simply prefer the sounds of your rig’s exhaust? Let us know your thoughts below.

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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