This Thanksgiving weekend, AAA estimates a record 38.7 million Americans will take to the roads to visit family and friends. Chances are that includes you, and chances are you’re preparing for the grueling journey by doing the one thing within your control—stocking your iPod with the perfect road trip soundtrack. To further your efforts, we surveyed our own resident experts, aka local touring bands, on how they’ve prepared for their travels.
Good Neighbor Policy
Fresh off of a two-week tour that traveled to Arkansas and back, Missoula’s most promising indie rockers rattled off a long list of well-worn road tunes. Favorites included Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads and Ryan Adams’ Jacksonville City Nights, two albums right in the band’s wheelhouse. Among their more unexpected choices, however, are mainstream metalcore stalwarts Converge and All That Remains.
“We did, in fact, listen to a little speed metal,” confesses erudite keyboardist James Palmer. “[Drummer] Pete [Shanafelt] used to be in Sharktopus, so he brought in a little different stuff. And let me tell you, when you’re driving for 20 hours or so straight, it’s exactly the sort of road fuel you need.”
Tom Catmull and the Clerics
One of Missoula’s hardest working bands—and the reigning favorite, according to Indy readers—spends more weekends than most traversing the Northwest en route to bars, clubs, weddings and festivals. In fact, when we caught up with Catmull and company they were loading up for a three-show jaunt through Idaho and Washington.
“[Drummer] Travis [Yost] brought all 250 of his CDs for this trip,” said Catmull. “But lately we’ve been listening to a lot of Elvis Costello. What’s his first one? Yeah, My Aim is True. That’s been real popular.”
The Cleric’s interests are similar, so whoever’s motivated to bring their latest turn-ons usually gets the chance to DJ. That opportunity prompted Catmull to go deep into his collection for Texas legend Jerry Jeff Walker’s rowdy ¡Viva Terlingua! and some old albums from another Lone Star singer-songwriter, Shake Russell.
“I’ve been going back to some albums from my childhood,” said the Texas native. “For some reason I just wanted to hear some music I haven’t heard in a while. The road’s as good a place as any to do that.”
Although Butorac was named music director of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra six months ago, he still resides in Northern Arizona and travels to Montana by plane for shows. That leaves a lot of airport iPod time for the up-and-coming 30-year-old conductor.
When he’s not listening to his favorite classical offerings—Puccini’s Tosca, Verdi’s Rigoletto and Bach’s Cello Suites—Butorac goes for an eclectic mix of world music and orchestral pop.
Specifically, his ideal mix includes “Bamboleo” by flamenco darlings Gypsy Kings, “Dos Gardenias” by Buena Vista Social Club and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” by Edith Piaf. He’s also partial to “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and The Papas, “I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow” by The Soggy Bottom Boys (from the O, Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack) and the road trip tune immortalized by Wayne’s World, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
No word on whether any of these will make it into an upcoming MSO performance.
Two Year Touqe
This infectious indie-pop quintet has perhaps the biggest challenge among local bands: touring with two kids.
“Most bands stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning and then get to sleep in until noon,” explains guitarist/dad Paul Copoc, “but we’re up at 7 every day. So you need to have music that’s like a get-up-and-go, get the party started, good times sort of thing.”
On a recent seven-day tour, that music included Butterfly Joe’s eponymous 2000 album; anything by Butterfly Joe band members Joe Genaro and Dean “Clean” Sabatino’s former band, Dead Milkman; and the band’s road staple, Dutch duo Junior Senior, which traditionally kicks off every trek.
Stereo issues only arise when the kids get sick of the band’s usual CMJ offerings.
“Whenever they start to melt down, we reach for They Might Be Giants’ Here Come the ABCs,” says vocalist/mom Sarah Copoc. “And we reach for it pretty fast.”
The Four Horsemen
These thrash metal youngsters from Stevensville haven’t toured outside the Treasure State yet, but in three years they’ve logged quite a few miles to and from all-ages gigs in Missoula, Bozeman and the like. Not surprisingly, these purists—The Four Horsemen don’t just play thrash, they fully embody the ’80s metal ethos with their long hair, white high-tops and sleeveless jean jackets—stick close to their roots en route. Anthrax’s Among the Living, Metallica’s Master of Puppets and Exodus’ Bonded by Blood are in regular rotation.
“It’s what we play, so it’s what we listen to,” says 20-year-old guitarist and lead singer Jared Kiess.
“It’s who we are,” adds his 16-year-old brother and fellow guitarist Matt.
But when the band needs a mellower sound, they turn to…Bach?
“A lot of ignorant people would say that thrash is just grunting and screaming, but that’s just the new metal that you hear,” says Jared. “The way true thrash is structured and the melodies, it’s very similar to Baroque classical. It’s more complex than most people think.”