Tunes from the Team: Motorcycles

The music that reflects the freedom of the open road, and the feeling of a hog between your legs.

Standard Daniel here, and I have a confession to make. I’ve never seen the classic film Easy Rider, staring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicolson. It premiered on July 14, 1969, almost 52 years ago to the date, and focused on the counterculture movement happening in America and it focused on characters who were very much defined by their motorcycles.  Very few things seems as American as a Harley-Davidson motorcycle: powerful, loud, and dangerous. That could describe many Americans now that I think about it.

For the record, I’ve never ridden on a motorcycle. I don’t think they’re for me, but our other developer Seth loves them, so I assume they’re awesome. Either way, here are some songs about motorcycles.

Speedy Motorcycle

Daniel Johnston is somewhat of a folk hero in Austin. Johnston was a singer-songwriter and visual artist that many labeled an important figure in outsider, lo-fi, and alternative music scenes. His record voice on this track is genuine and somewhat childish and pure.  It has a feel that is odd, unique, and weird. It’s the spirit that some might think used to describe our capital city.

Daniel Johnston developed a cult following around Austin in the 80’s by handing out tapes of his music while working at a McDonald’s near the UT campus. His status as important voice was stamped when Kurt Cobain (the singer from Nirvana) was seen wearing a T-shirt of Johnston’s artwork from his 1983 cassette album Hi, How Are You.

“Cause we don’t need reason and we don’t need logic, We’ve got feeling and we’re dang proud of it!”

There is something I can’t define about this song that reaches me. I think it is a very earnest and fun song, and it makes me smile.

Hi how are you

Motorcycle Ride

Rancid is one of my favorite punk bands, partly because of the amazing bass playing and the horrible singing. If you want to be the singer in the band but you’re too shy about your voice, don’t be. Tim Armstrong wasn’t, his voice sounds terrible. Although, it’s terrible in the perfect way. This song came out on 1994’s Let’s Go, a year before their classic record …And Out Come The Wolves. The opening lines of “Motorcycle Ride” are reused again on “Time Bomb”; a slower more ska-influence song.

Ace of Spades

I imagine if you ride motorcycles than Motörhead is a band for you. Lead singer Lemmy’s snarl is a Harley Davidson Shovelhead engine come to life. The man sounds like he gargles with gravel. I can’t picture him in another type of footwear other than a black leather boot.

I Need Your Clothes, Your Boots, and Your Motorcycle

Ok, you’re not going to believe this one. There’s a subgenre of metal known as metalcore; it’s a combination of metal and hardcore punk. And for every genre, there’s a Christian version. As I Lay Dying is a metalcore band from California that has been labeled by some Christian metal. That designation isn’t 100% accurate, but the band has stated many times that all of the members are practicing Christians. I personally don’t care one way or the other what any musician’s faith is, but if you go on record saying you live your life a certain way, so be it.

The lead singer for AILD is Tim Lambesis. He was voted “Most Like Jesus” in high school, and went on to study Religious Studies at Liberty University. When not being in a metalcore band, he enjoys lifting weights, and getting tattoos. I hope you’re starting to see a picture.

His side project from his main band is Austrian Death Machine, which is a thrash metal band that writes songs exclusively about Arnold Schwarzenegger films.  For the record, I think that’s brilliant.

In 2013, Lambesis was arrested for attempting to hire a hitman to murder his estranged wife. He was sentenced to jail for 6 years. I just find this story fascinating and need to see the Dateline about his life.

Ruff Ryders’ Anthem

This song was played so much when I was in 7th and 8th grade. “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” was released in 1998 of It’s Dark and Hell is Hot by DMX. It is a prime example of hardcore hip hop from New York. I think the music video had people riding on four wheelers which is essential a motorcycle. You have to listen to this song all the way through, listen to the gun shots at the end of the song, and then here the acoustic guitars of the next song “Motorcycle Drive By” by Third Eye Blind.

That juxtaposition is intentional. I don’t just put random songs on a playlist and call it a day. Give me more credit than that.

Quick hits

  • Neil Young‘s voice on “Motorcycle Mama” seems so much like Neil Young, and I’m not even sure what he sounds like.
  • Free Throw is making really good pop punk, and that is important for the youth of America. I have faith in pop punk. Also, it’s important to practice your free throws.
  • I love the way the singer from L.A. WITCH sings “I love you and your toy, Motorcycle boy.”
  • Deano‘s Harley Motor Bike kicks ass. That song kicks so much ass.


I’m gonna ride my Harley motor bike, Big fat tires and the long chrome pipes, Ride it all day – ride it all night, I’m gonna ride my bike ’cause that’s what I like!

Here’s the playlist

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