When you're the driver, the object of everyone else in the van should be to keep the driver awake and happy.
This has its upside and downside.
My co-driver and I had a basic agreement: I'd drive mornings and he'd drive afternoons. It'd end up working out about equally, particularly since we started early and ate late lunches.
The driver also got to control the radio. This too made sense. Keep the driver awake and happy. So the first day back I pounced on every rock station that I could find unless they were playing Nickelback. This elicited an involuntary visceral reaction from everyone else in my vehicle. The requests poured in to turn the Fade up front or to switch it to NPR. I remained steadfast in my convictions. But I went ahead and turned the Fade up front.
Then we switched drivers that first day and our van had Sing Along With the Oldies Time. And at that moment I realized that I'd been cooped up with these people for about long enough.
The second morning I decided that I wanted to introduce my van to Robert Randolph. We'd just come from New Orleans, and he's got a little bit of New Orleans-ish stuff in there, so I figured it'd seem less offensive to my vanmates' ears. After the CD was over, one comment that came up front was, "We need a break." Sigh.
We did listen to a lot of Garrison Keillor on this trip when the other guy drove. I didn't mind that. But I was otherwise clearly in the musical minority. Don't get me wrong...I like plenty of music from decades past...but this trip I was introduced to how to exploit and accept the nuances of road trip radio etiquette. The only measure of justice that I'd failed to take was leaving the Fade in the middle and blasting Gov't Mule at them whilst watching them claw at the locked doors trying to escape.
My one attempt to encourage people to sing along with a Twisted Sister song was met with complete silence. I did enjoy that.