Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Indie Rock Dad

In the most recent issue of Magnet, Phil Sheridan writes about his influence over his kids' musical tastes. In the commentary, Sheridan describes his efforts to turn his daughters into the same sort of indie snob he is by constantly bombarding them with all the essential albums of his life. He experiences some success as well as minor setbacks but finds that in the end, his kids were listening.

Since the beginning of time (or at least my lifetime), parents have tried to influence the musical choices of their offspring. Some of these parents have tried to shield their little ones from adult messages not appropriate for young ears, while others have simply tried to instill good listening habits that reflect their own tastes. My parents fit in the latter category.

My parents tried to steer us toward a variety of well-crafted music from their childhood and throughout by playing the records they loved and by programming every car radio to all of the oldies stations in both Columbus and Dayton. I remember them going through their Willie Nelson phase, exposing us to the virtues of true country music. I have since become a big fan of nearly anything featured in No Depression. Mom would play Carol King or Janice Joplin opening the possibility of strong women in rock to a boy who mostly idolized male performers. We learned to love the Stones and appreciate the Beatles. Motown was not left out providing soul and groove to our lives. Mom loved rock 'n' roll rebels, but could appreciate the subtleties of a heartfelt, acoustic piece. Dad loved to dance and sing with the music (usually slightly off time, but with plenty of style).

The 'rents had a tremendous influence on my siblings and myself. To this day, music is the linchpin (along with our blood) that connects us. The majority of our greatest concert memories were experienced with two or all three of us together. While my brother and I expanded our listening tastes throughout the early and mid-nineties, our little sister was making dubs of all our albums. My brother now plays in a band. My sister can't go a day without mentioning bands like the Arcade Fire or Sonic Youth or Pavement or whoever she's listening to currently. I write about music all the time on this blog and keep another blog totally dedicated to one band's catalog (an "oeuvre blog" I'm told).

And it continues. When I read the Sheridan piece, I thought of Dr. Fabulous and his new daughter. (I don't mean to disregard the mother, but I'm relating to the dad as a male...damned gender!) This dad doesn't have tastes like Sheridan's (or mine), but he has a pretty deep connection to music. I've wondered how he chooses which music to play around the house. I wonder what it's like to have so much influence over another human being's musical tastes. I mean, his daughter can't change the station or switch the cd. She's helpless to whatever music Dr. Fabulous spins.

I used to get really annoyed by parents who attended concerts with their kids. My dad's been to a Pavement show (where the bartender offered him some moonshine from beneath the bar) and both of my parents saw Guided by Voices with my sister in Chicago. I guess this didn't bother me, and it really doesn't bother me so much now that I'm close to the same age as some of the parents and to that point in my own life.

The day after I saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs here in COMO (Karen O is a god.), I checked out their MySpace page to see if anyone had left a comment about the show. What I found was a very grateful father for the awesome show he witnessed with his two teenagers. At first, I was taken aback that this forty-something dad had a MySpace profile, but then I was touched. I knew how he felt. The show was super, but, more importantly, I understood how that dad felt to connect with his kids, to be a part of something that means so much to the human condition: music.

This post turned our sappy, but it holds a lot of truth. Parents want to influence their kids anyway they can. This is their legacy. This is how we live on forever by passing down traditions or interests to children. No other thing has influenced my life more than music. I'm obsessed at times. It informs my opinions, politics, relationships, my entire life. There is no other gift that I want to pass on to my children more than a love for good music...as long as it's my music.

(It should be noted that the YYYs' "Honeybear" came up on my iTunes while writing about the dad at the YYYs show.)

On a side note, Interpol was great last Wednesday in St, Louis. I took notes expecting to blog about all the frat boys, but alas, there was no time and it's old news by now.

Also, my mix made it onto Good Magazine's website with some nice commentary on their part.

Be sure to check out the new survey...


Unknown said...

If Vered loves Johnny Cash as much as we do, I'll be happy. That's all I hope.

comoprozac said...

I think that's what every parent wants. Right?

Mike said...

re: your poll. I voted "None of the Above," because you shouldn't go to 9th St. to see the show because you have to pay. You should hang out a block away and listen for free! Dr. Dog's the opener, and they're good, though. So maybe going would be worth it.

comoprozac said...

Thanks for the tip, mike c.

Mike said...

Another tip. Arcade Fire is playing a show in KC on Sept. 28 (the day after David Beckham, my mancrush, comes to KC!!!). Tickets go on sale to the public on Saturday, but I've figured out the ticketmaster presale password...if you're interested in cheatin' the system, let me know.

comoprozac said...

Yes. I'll cheat.

Raymond Cummings said...

Aw, damn. What up, TLC Moving?

My wife and I have had our share of moving-related misfortunes, but jeez. What you went through with TLC Moving is a whole nother world of BS. For shame, TLC Moving!

Inevitably moving companies charge more than they promise upfront; it’s like standard operating procedure in that industry, and TLC Moving is obviously no exception. (TLC Moving = These days whenever we move – and we’ve moved a heck of a lot in the last 7 years - we just rent a Uhaul truck and bribe friend/family into helping with a promise of a Fuddruckers dinner. (Take THAT, TLC Moving!) Sore muscles beat broken/lost/dented furniture and hidden fees sprung on you at the last minute by mooks who don't give a damn about you.

comoprozac said...

It's now been two weeks and we haven't paid a dime...

Huey said...

Excellent post!!!

I too think about the music I want my daughter to listen to. Not so much for tings I don't want her young ears to be exposed to but as you seem to be writing, to influence her to like "my" music. Unfortunately my tastes are not as polished as yours but I'd like to have several bands to share with her. Albums to listen to together and remember fondly.

I also liked the reference to your parents and the oldies stations. My parents loved pumping the oldies and motown in our car and living room. Like your dad, they liked to sing and dance even if it was off time and get us to join.

Ah, good memories. Ones I want to pass down to mine. And the only way I could get my dad to let me go to a Public Enemy/A Tribe Called Quest show when I was in high school was if he went with me. So I guess I was one of "them."