A lot of people I know can’t run without listening to music and I feel lucky to have started without it. Most running races will let you get away with it, but Ironman will chop off your dick if you try to sneak in ear buds or even have your phone on the bike. So . . . I normally don’t run with music, but lately it has really helped get me motivated for New Orleans, and maybe even . . . Louisville.
And now to the answer you’ve all been waiting for . . . what does Mike listen to while he’s running?
In the past it has been a mixed playlist, but the last few times I have gone specific to the best band most of you have never heard of, The Pimps. Occasionally also known as “The Goodyear Pimps,” they are guys I sort of knew when I lived back in Rockford, Illinois and they have a really interesting story (which I don’t totally know but will paraphrase).They started playing music together as kids, a true childhood rock n roll dream, and have more or less been a band ever since. They had marginal success stories until they “hit is big” when Hollywood records signed them to a two record deal and bought the rights to an album the band had already recorded in Rockford. Some dollars exchanged hands and the next thing they knew, they were on the road opening for Insane Clown Posse.
Evidently those early shows were lathered with hatred, slurs, and flying objects, but eventually the Pimps figured out the audience and “won over” some very loyal ICP fans. This tour gave them a lot of exposure, which the band promptly parlayed into a string of medium-sized shows in a continuous loop around Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Our favorite rockers were flying high and did what most bands do when they get a big chunk of money . . . bought a brick fourplex in one of Rockford’s worst neighborhoods. They had a little practice space in the basement and habitually rolled out of bed in the afternoon to work on their chops.
My introduction to their music was by, Jimmy “The Johnson” Johnson who owned Rockford’s only recording studio at the time. The “Noise Chamber” was a jewel and often used by “Cheap Trick” as a pre-production house before they went off to LA or NY to record the final product.
I had just moved back to Rockford and stopped to say “Hi” to Jimmy. When I was leaving he casually handed me a record he’d just produced. I started unwrapping as I walked and put it into my CD player for the ride home. To say I was blown away is an understatement. I listened to the whole record, then sat in front of my house and listened again before I went inside. To a Cool Person, Stay That Way was the album Hollywood Records eventually bought and it made a big mark on my musical tastes that day.
Shortly after signing the deal, the Pimps recorded “Rocket Science” which landed as the 5th track on the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack that included cuts from Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Chris Cornell, Rob Zombie, Tori Amos, and the Butthole Surfers. Hollywood Records was anxious to get the Pimps to LA and record the second of the two-record deal, but the Pimps were never about the glam of Los Angeles.
“Just Give Us the Grammy Now,” the second Pimps recording for Hollywood Records, was tracked, mixed, and mastered in Rockford. Evidently the executives weren’t too pleased with this move and it was the beginning of the end of the relationship between the the Pimps and the LA suits, but the band has never looked back.
I now live in Nashville, so I don’t use these words lightly, but I can honestly say The Pimps are one of the best live bands I have ever witnessed. They were a single conscience and audiences were either sent to hysteric places or captivated by the seductive dynamics.
I try to keep up, but the Pimps are true rock-n-roll rebels and masters of what I like to call “the takeaway” which means they do what they want when they want; including making their music or merchandise un-available through traditional sources. I think is one of the main reasons I like running with the Pimps in my ear. Their music is raw, energized, catchy, rebellious, hilarious, and super tight. Perfect for losing yourself on a long run.
The Pimps are the band you will never hear of, unless you check them out on your own.