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.
Essays will be posted on a regular basis. We want to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com
When my two kids - now aged 7 and 5 - were toddlers, people said to me: "I bet you make a children's record now." This was never really on the cards, but perhaps as a substitute for that never-to-be-made record, I wrote a novel instead - WONDERKID - about a band who make children's records, a genre now called "Kindie Music". When you're a parent, you spend a lot of time listening to, and singing or making music, with your kids, and thus you spend a lot of time thinking about what music means to them. You also end up thinking, particularly if you're a musician, about the people who make the music your kids are enjoying: hence the novel.
Perhaps our family's greatest musical collaboration so far - and we may or may not become the von Stace Family Singers - is something we call the Ultimate Playlist. It's the twenty songs my kids love most at any given time, an ever-evolving selection, always handy on the iPhone. The songs have come to them from different sources.
Music has dominated my life ever since I started watching American Bandstand every day in second grade. I saw (and heard!) the Beatles in Paris before they ever came to the US. In college, I was chummy with The Band. So despite my marriage to a man from a different cultural background with divergent musical tastes, it was inevitable that my children would be music people. When they were still too young to drive, I took them to concerts in Albuquerque (No Doubt, the Pointers Sisters, Coolio, Aerosmith) and when we visited New York, there were multiple nights of Bruce, Bruce, Bruce. But I still have some difficulty charting how my son Pablo progressed from an early infatuation with Michael Jackson to the heavy metal songs he writes and plays today in his band, Savage Wizdom.
He still listens to some rock and roll like John Mellencamp and still goes to those Springsteen shows if they are fairly close to home, but will travel around the country to see multiple performances by Motley Crue, Dokken and especially Iron Maiden. He even convinced one of his metal heroes to sing on a track of his new CD. Pablo is a good guitar player, and I once hoped that he would get interested in the blues but it never happened. Jimmy Vivino once told me that young men need to play heavy metal for a time, maybe get it out of their system. But now that Pablo is past 30 and still devoted to metal, I have come to accept that it’s where his heart lies.
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.