Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

Mike Pinera’s Image of Freedom

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Free Ride* muses on the songs of rock guitarist and vocalist Mike Pinera, who turns 64 today. He began his music career in Tampa, Florida, where he formed the group Blues Image. The group moved to Miami to be the house band for a local club that featured touring bands the likes of Cream and the Grateful Dead.  Some of these artists took note of Pinera and the band, and they soon had their own recording contract, and in 1969 charted their biggest hit, Ride Captain Ride. Pinera would soon leave the group and join another group of psychedelic rockers, Iron Butterfly, before moving on to a solo career and stints in other groups, most notably Alice Cooper. For a look at his contributions to the songbook of freedom, we’ll first look at one of the few songs from Iron Butterfly that made it into the charts of mainstream rock, 1970‘s Easy Rider from the Metamorphasis album:

Pegs of people line the street
A ball and chain around their feet
Waitin’ for a weekend treat
But Easy Rider’s got ‘em all beat ’cause
Easy rider, he’s a glider
(Easy) Freedom, every day
(Rider) Easy rider, easy glider
Lettin’ the wind pay the way
That’s all he ever does

A second look at the freedom theme comes from that Blues Image hit, Ride Captain Ride, that has woven its way far more tightly into pop culture, as it is a staple on classic rock radio stations and has been used in various movie and tv show soundtracks. It expresses the classic notion of the call of the sea, a call to the freedom found in the wild blue yonder, and the reality that many people miss the call:

Seventy-three men sailed up
From the San Francisco Bay,
Rolled off of their ship
And here’s what they had to say.
“We’re callin’ everyone to ride along
To another shore,
We can laugh our lives away
and be free once more.”
But no one heard them callin’,
No one came at all,
‘Cause they were too busy watchin’
Those old raindrops fall.
As a storm was blowin’
Out on the peaceful sea,
Seventy-three men sailed off
To history.
Ride, captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends
You have here on your trip.
Ride captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
On your way to a world
That others might have missed.

Happy b’day Mike Pinera. May you continue to sail and laugh and be free in the mystery.


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