Heavy metal thunder!
August 3, 2018 1:38 AM   Subscribe

 
Without wishing to distract from fearfulsymmetry's excellent set of links, can I strongly recommend the rest of the Guardian's How We Made archive - it's excellent.
posted by dowcrag at 2:33 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


How we made Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild
  1. Got our motors runnin'
  2. Headed out on the highway
  3. Looked for adventure
  4. Or whatever came our way
posted by jontyjago at 2:49 AM on August 3 [40 favorites]


This headline format is super weird. I spent a good while wondering who they were interviewing exactly, until I had time to read the article properly. It's an interview with members of Steppenwolf. So to my mind it should be less "how we made Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild" and more "how we made our song Born to Be Wild" to avoid implying that the interview subject is a third party. But then it's the Grauniad I suppose.
posted by Dysk at 3:19 AM on August 3


Twelve years ago, my wife and I sold all our music business assets and ploughed everything into wildlife conservation: helping endangered elephants that were born to be wild

This is incredible. Although unless he actually owns the Born to Be Wild master, I don’t know how much that might be worth. (As Mars says, the songwriting financed a lifetime of free living, which is also pretty great.)
posted by uncleozzy at 3:20 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


Absolute cracker of a song. One of the funniest things I've ever heard was a (rather good) school fete band, made up of school parents, which around here is a cohort bound to include some good musicians, start to play this with a genuine Hammond organ and Leslie speaker on stage. It turns out Hammond organs take their tuning from the mains frequency, if you are plugged into a cheap generator behind the stage they will just kind of make up what tone they want to play as they go along. The look of confounded confusion, very much giving the vibe "are you really screwing up that badly?" in both band and audience makes me giggle every time I think of it.
posted by deadwax at 5:00 AM on August 3 [7 favorites]


from the first link:

It’s ironic that a song so associated with motorcycles and rebellion was inspired by a medium-sized family car – although I always drove it with the windows down.

gotta love where the imagination can go
posted by philip-random at 7:04 AM on August 3


can I strongly recommend the rest of the Guardian's How We Made archive - it's excellent.

thanks. I had plans for this morning. important stuff. Now I'm watching Outnumbered (series 1, episode 1)
posted by philip-random at 7:26 AM on August 3


How we made Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild
1. Got our motors runnin'
2. Headed out on the highway
3. Looked for adventure
4. Or whatever came our way
posted by jontyjago


5.???
6. Profit
posted by lalochezia at 7:32 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


5.???
6. Profit


No silly! You missed some steps:
5. Outsource some activities to your Darlin'
6. Take the world in a love embrace
7. Fire all of your guns at once
8. And explode into space :(
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:17 AM on August 3 [5 favorites]


The first time I ever visited the west coast was for a MacWorld conference in San Francisco in 2007. On my last day there I had a free afternoon so I rented a car and headed north to the Muir Woods for a few hours. It was a lovely day; I had the windows down and the radio tuned to a classic-rock station. Just as I approached the Golden Gate Bridge the opening guitar riff to Born to Be Wild started up. I drove across the bridge with the volume cranked up, grinning like an idiot.

That was the start of a wonderful and life-altering experience - that afternoon among the redwoods I fell in love with the west coast. A year later I made the move across country from the southeastern US where I'd spent my entire life. I've been here 10 years now an haven't regretted it at all.

And I still rock out to that song now and then, though I haven't had a chance to do so while crossing any more iconic bridges.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:41 AM on August 3 [8 favorites]


Great song, great story. Thanks!
posted by freakazoid at 9:23 AM on August 3


I spent fully half of my (none too short) life just a few blocks away from Oshawa, Ontario, and didn’t learn until a few months ago that half of Steppenwolf was from there.

Upon learning that, it suddenly made sense that such a random place was, until recent crackdowns, pretty much Hells Angels HQ.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:25 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


an old friend of mine who grew up in the vicinity recalls sneaking into some kind of dance hall as a preteen to see what I guess was still The Sparrows.
posted by philip-random at 10:02 AM on August 3


Fun trivia: an early version of The Carpenters once opened for Steppenwolf at The Whiskey.
posted by ovvl at 11:17 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


A few years ago, my normal offramp to get home was resurfaced. After the resurface I'd get tire squeal when exiting pretty consistently even when going at a reasonable speed. One day, I was heading home and had Born to be Wild on the radio and the top down and the tire squeal harmonized perfectly with the music.
posted by caphector at 12:28 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


6. Take the world in a love embrace
7. Fire all of your guns at once
8. And explode into space :(


Am I wrong to hear that as saying, "Get rid of all our weapons by launching the missiles and firing the guns harmlessly into space"?
posted by straight at 4:16 PM on August 3


It’s Steppenwolf, dude. “Magic Carpet Ride” is about a stereo, full stop, and “Born To Be Wild” is about a car, full stop. They’re great songs, but, like, you can hit bedrock with a pushbroom. It ain’t that deep.

Fire all of your guns at once = “Gun the engine, which is firing on all cylinders.”
Explode into space = “Go real fast.”
posted by Sys Rq at 5:29 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


(Hence motorik.)
posted by Sys Rq at 5:44 PM on August 3


That old phrase about If you remember the 60s you weren't there rings true for me, here: I saw Steppenwolf do this song, Magic Carpet Ride, and maybe others in 1969, but had totally forgotten about it until now. Nice to see that one of the members is doing wildlife preservation recovery now.
posted by kozad at 8:48 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


You forgot what is probably the best cover, which is by Moog Cookbook
posted by MCTDavid at 6:47 AM on August 4




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