by Jason Haines

The Hour of Freedom

Imagine the hours in the day when you really do get to listen to your music exclusively... Are you counting? It's sad but usually we are at the mercy of the radio and employment music gods and they aren't very forgiving in their putrid programming. My workday is spent listening to Hispanic radio full blast because it's what my crews are craving. The only hours that are truly mine are the ride into work and the ride home. I drive slow as hell 'cause it's all good as long as the drive home lasts and you have good music. I'm jamming and grooving and irritating all the people that normally irritate me. And all this will last until my wife gets in the truck and plops in Tartaros or Sentenced and tells me we're meeting Mom and Ted at Rio Bravo's for dinner. Except for "The Hour of Freedom," it's either a Salsa Feast or a Death Metal Dessert.

I remember when I was a kid and my mother always told me that when she first came home from work every day, the first thirty minutes were hers to relax and calm down from the day. If you ever disturbed her during that half-hour exile, you soon learned that she may require longer than thirty minutes to calm down and I wanted her to take all the time she'd need. I think a whole hour might help her unwind better.

The polar opposite of my mother is my grandmother. She would rise at 4:30 in the morning to have her own preparation time for the day. She'd clip coupons like crazy and love every second of her time. It was easier for her in the early hours when none of her obligations were up and tearing into everything or foraging for food. As soon as someone rose, Mama would be cooking breakfast and starting the day.

They both, even though leading drastically different lives, still need their time alone and a little touch of freedom. That hour allows them to think back on accomplishments and plan for the future, carry out hobbies not shared with their spouse, and accomplish whatever they wanted without disturbances. I require a couple of hours to gear up and calm down. I prefer the ride to work in the morning (5-6 a.m.) and the ride home (fluctuates but usually 5-6 p.m.).

My mornings usually consist of the normal struggle to get up and moving. Sometimes 5 a.m. is a little rough on my system, but you gotta do your job. Once I've managed to wake up enough to disturb the Chihuahua and my wife, grab my phone and creep the Silverado out of the driveway, the last thing I want to do is fall asleep at the wheel and die, or worse yet, be a vegetable.

Most of the time I use this hour to gear myself up for the day, prepare schedules in my head, and think up alternate schedules in case of employee "illness." My morning ponderings take place while driving to the construction site which may be 20 minutes or over an hour-and-a-half away from the house. Different types of music apply to different situations. This is the polar opposite of my wife who believes she is being liberal by listening to punk and metal. I like a wide spectrum of musical styles; my only nitpicking facet is that it has to be good...and I have to be in the mood to listen to it.

When I need to get energetic in the morning, I prefer hard rock anthems along the lines of "Sweet Home Alabama" or "Saturday Night Special" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Shout at the Devil" by Mötley Crüe or virtually any AC/DC song. When I'm behind and I feel the need for speed--I pop in Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar for "Beautiful People" (the beginning could jump-start most diesel engines). Other favorites for speed are D.R.I.'s "Suit and Tie Guy" from Four of a Kind or Iced Earth's "Something Wicked Trilogy" from Something Wicked This Way Comes.

When I'm craving good old jamming music, I'll listen to "Monkey Wrench" by the Foo Fighters or "Kryptonite" by Three Doors Down when in the alternative, thinking man's mode. Sometimes you just have to reach for the classics like "Kickstart My Heart" by Mötley Crüe, "Dyers Eve" by Metallica (from ...And Justice for All) and "New Order" by Testament (from New Order). When I was younger I would rotate in a few rap songs like Dr. Dre's "Chronic" off of The Chronic or the entire Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg. Lately my jamming song supreme has been Kid Rock's "American Bad Ass" (the only good song on History of Rock) or Metallica's magnificent "Hero of the Day" (oddly enough, one of the few good songs on Load). All the fun doesn't have to end at the job site; on occasions they let me switch stations, but the songs from the ride in just echo around my head while I work.

I'm pretty worn out at the end of a day from working in the hot, Florida sun. I'm not afraid of falling asleep at the wheel because I just want to get home to my wife...and relax. I need something mellow and nerve-calming on my way home. The musical rotation will range from Jimmy Buffett's "Changes in Attitudes," Metallica's "Poor Twisted Me," Pearl Jam's "Black" and Guns 'n' Roses "Don't Cry."

In the winter, much to the dismay of my wife, occasionally I like to listen to country music. When I was a little boy I would visit Kentucky and my grandfather would play his guitar and the only thing he played was old country like Hank Williams, Sr. and Jimmie Rodgers. So in the wintertime, when I think of Papa I play country and it makes me feel closer to home. Plus I grew up in the South and it's played a lot down here--it's very hard to avoid. Of course, it's also fun to play country just to watch Sabrina go into convulsions like a vampire dripping with holy water. When I begin to feel the pressure of keeping it all together at work I'll listen to Garth Brook's "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)" or Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone." If things are going great, I might crank up some Hank Williams, Jr.--especially "A Country Boy Can Survive"--or Alabama's "Dixieland Delight" and "Tennessee River."

A lot of the time I long for my wife after being gone all day so a few sentimental ballads usually get a lot of airplay in my truck. The romantic rotation usually consists of one or more of these sappy classics like Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" from the Armageddon soundtrack, "Amazed" by Lonestar, "Carrying Your Love" by George Strait and my favorite, Tesla's "What You Give." I know there are a lot of guys out there that hide these discs/tapes in their truck for those sentimental moments that we will never admit happen unless it can get us laid. Men are dogs, but even we have our softer side. It just doesn't show often. Thankfully.

My choices for my 60-minute-soundtracks probably won't be the same as anyone else writing for Earpollution, but it fits me and my moods well. I have always had this taste that was never quite in sync with the world. When I love a song I love it forever, but it seems like some people only love a song for a millisecond and move on. I've always been criticized by friends and family for my taste in music--until you marry a woman with really extreme taste--and I hope I won't hear any complaints that I'm not hip enough after this article. Music is timeless, trends and fashions go away, good quality music will always survive. I'd like to think that my "Hour of Freedom" gives you the freedom to broaden your musical boundaries.

The Hour of Freedom

"Monkey Wrench"   Foo Fighters  The Colour and the Shape
"Saturday Night Special"  Lynyrd Skynyrd  Second Helping
"Sweet Home Alabama"  Lynyrd Skynyrd  Second Helping
"Tuesday's Gone"  Lynyrd Skynyrd  Pronounced LEH'-NERD SKIN'-NERD
"Beautiful People"  Marilyn Manson  Anti Christ Superstar
"Dyers Eve"  Metallica  ...And Justice For All
"Hero of the Day"  Metallica  Load
"Poor Twisted Me"  Metallica  Load
"Kickstart My Heart"  Mötley Crüe  Dr. Feelgood
"Kryptonite"  Three Doors Down
"Chronic"  Dr. Dre  The Chronic
"American Bad Ass"  Kid Rock  History of the Rock
"Doggy Dogg World"  Snoop Doggy Dogg  Doggystyle
"Dixieland Delight"  Alabama  Born Country
"Tennessee River"  Alabama  Born Country
"Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)"  Garth Brooks  Garth Brooks
"Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"  Jimmy Buffett  Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitides
"Don't Cry"  Guns N' Roses  Use Your Illusion, I
"Amazed"  Lonestar  Lonely Grill
"Black"  Pearl Jam  Ten
"Country Boy Can Survive"  Hank Williams, Jr.  Hank Live

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