Damon Wood

Driving: Smoking Section songs

May 17th, 2007

Funny. I drove to work today, and as I usually do I picked up a pair of passengers at the BART station to carpool with.

As any of you who do the Casual Carpool thing probably know, there aren’t really any rules about what to play on the car stereo during the ride, though the default seems to be NPR. These days I can’t stand NPR, so when I’m by myself I listen to KPFA; but when I have passengers on their way to work, I philosophically feel that it’s not my job or right to fill their heads up with news or opinion of any stripe. (I wish all drivers felt this way. Especially the ones who listen to AM talk radio. Yikes.) So I like to play music instead. Let them get mad at the news on their own time. I’d rather help them start their day neutrally and peacefully with some good music.

(It’s obvious that I’m over-thinking this. I think I’m turning into Kramer from Seinfeld. If I’m not careful I’ll start cooking up ways to provide my passengers with hot espresso and Le Monde.)

Anyway, the question then becomes: what music is okay to play? My answer to this is either classical or jazz, and since the only classical station in the bay area is horrifically commercial, I default to KCSM, which is a listener-supported jazz station, and not too bad as far as they go.

So of course, this morning I find that KCSM is still in the middle of a pledge drive; and of course the next acceptable option, my beloved KALX, is in a typically daaaark mood. And it just so happens that what’s currently in my CD player is the disc I just burned from the old Smoking Section demo tapes.

Now, it’s not that I’m sheepish about the quality of my music, but it bugs me when someone “casually” forces me to listen to their music. It’s, I don’t know, sleazy in a way, desperate. So I’m really leery of making anyone, especially innocent bystanders who happen to be stuck in a car with me for 45 minutes, endure my music.

But I broke my own rule and figured, well, I’ll play it reeeaaaallly quietly, and maybe it won’t bother anyone. It’s better than the pledge drive.

And sure enough, the gentleman in the front passenger seat eventually asked me what we were listening to, so I told him. He was very complimentary. What a nice fellow.

I didn’t get his name (sorry about that, sir), but I did tell him I’d post some of the songs. So here they are, in 128kb mp3 format. There will be much more on the way soon.

1 Comment Comments»

  1. Eric says

    haw! that’s very amusing, i know whtacha mean about the “forced listen” approach. in fact all bands should be required to listen to this! haha hi damon. stumbled onto your page here, and it’s great to hear the smoking section tunes again. i always remembered “red idea” and it’s uncanny how well my memory of it live at nightbreak matches with that recording. fun fun fun. hope all is well with you. – eric

    August 2nd, 2007 | #

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