This all started when our daughter was born almost 18 years ago. From the very beginning I sang to her and she would sing back to me. Sharing music together has been one of the best parts of being a father and it inspired the song "Collide the Generations" which is also partly about the feeling I think all parents have about their kids passing them by at the speed of light. That got me thinking about how over the years just about everyone I know gets excited when they talk about sharing their favorite music with their kids and that younger musicians talking about older musicians influencing them is pretty interesting too. So here's a place for all of that stuff. — Garland
Stories about how music gets passed down the line, whether parents talking about sharing music with their kids or young musicians talking about the older performers who inspired them.
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When my first son Jimmy was born in 1997 my wife went back to work within a few short un-European months and I was left at home to watch him not do very much at all. Jimmy was a pretty stoic buddha of a baby and between naps and diaper explosions we would amuse ourselves watching VHS videos of great rock bands. I thought this was an important part of his early learning. I had a video of Black Sabbath live in Paris in 1969 and would bounce Jimmy happily on my knee and sing along with War Pigs and Electric Funeral.
Imagine my surprise when 14 or so years later I'm dropping him off in Grant Park to see the reformed Sabbath play Lollapalooza. I never saw them play but I love them dearly. Jimmy told me later that he did not appreciate Ozzie's clapping and grunting through Tony Iommi's guitar solos. Now he turns me onto wild stuff like Death Grips, Killer Mike and Twin Peaks and fronts his own dynamite teen garage punk band called the UnGnomes.
We presented music to our girls in the same way we presented food — diversity was the norm and never was there any acknowledgement of “different” or cajolement to “just try it”. That our children developed a culinary breadth was evident from watching them consume sushi and vindaloo as readily as chicken nuggets. How they were internalizing their exposure to music was not as easily discernible.
One day when Maddy, our youngest, was 10, she accompanied me to that place of irrational consumerism, the mall. While we waited in line to make a purchase, Maddy suddenly and with some urgency insisted that she must go to the nearby record store. I started to suggest that she wait just a few minutes so that we could go together, but she was gone before I could finish my sentence.
In the short time she was gone, my brain ping-ponged between extreme discomfort that my 10-year-old was on her own in the mall and extreme curiosity about what CD was so compelling as to cause her to bolt. I had just finished my purchase when she returned clutching a small bag. Sixteen years later, remembering that moment when she opened the bag and pulled out a Miles Davis double CD compilation, I still bask in the feeling that all is right with the world.
My daughter Natalie was about 11 when the Spice Girls hit with "Wannabe," and naturally, with other kids her age falling prey to their dulcet tones - or perhaps more importantly - their awesome stage names, she was not immune to the charms of this fluffy piece of pop.
Then she heard the Beatles. Or rather, saw them on TV. The combination of old Beatles footage and those timeless songs had her in thrall, and even when she found out that one member was dead and the rest were older than her parents and that they had not even been the Beatles since 1970, it didn't dent her enjoyment one bit.
I tried but failed to turn her on to the Stones, though. She found Jagger absurd and just laughed at the very idea. How about some Beefheart? I thought. Well, as any young man in 1971 found out to his chagrin, if you asked a girl "So...do you wanna come back to my place and listen to some Beefheart?" you would find yourself going home alone that night.
The Captain didn't impress any better in the 90's either, and my daughter - after suffering half a side of "Safe As Milk" - cracked up laughing and told me that in her mind she pictured Beefheart and his musicians as a bunch of really old men, dressed in overalls and straw hats, and performing on a porch like something out of a black and white western.