Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Want to Rock and Roll All Night and Part of Every Day

An old Austin music scene friend updated her status on Facebook the other day by saying that her eight-year-old son is driving her crazy. He’s playing a KISS CD. A lot.

My first reaction was, “So what’s the problem?’

Then she added that she’s giving him all of her old “hard rock CDs” including some by Soundgarden, the Clash and the Foo Fighters, to try to get him to listen to something ”better.”

So my second reaction, logical for a rock critic, was, ‘Those groups are not hard rock.’

She wound up by saying her kid is not going for her music.


Everybody knows it’s a kid’s job to drive their parents bananas. It’s been that way since at least the nineteenth century, when young Bavarians started telling their folks, ‘Yo, Beethoven is dope.’ What’s more surprising is that my friend may have thought her family would be different.

Years ago, another musician friend of mine proudly announced to me that his sixteen-year-old son was listening to exactly the same music that he did. My friend had a noise band—they built their own instruments, which included electrified drainpipes and two-by-fours with guitar strings. So his teenage son was listening to the Pixies, and telling all his high school friends that hip hop and Christina Aguilera sucked. He was just like his dad. It was one of the creepiest father-son things I ever saw.

Besides, it’s all relative. My kids, Adinah and Ms. V., they love the Kiddie Contest CDs. These feature the music from an Austrian TV show in which a group of irritating rugrats and Celine Dion-damaged teens perform clever remakes of pop hits. One contestant turned Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” into “Handy,” a song about her relationship with her cel phone. Listening to that these last hundred times or so has been better than drinking Drano. But not much.

So I’d love it if my girls discovered “Detroit Rock City.” Or even “Calling Doctor Love.”

But do you see me complaining about Kiddie Contest?

No, you do not.

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