Saturday, July 20, 2013

Good Dad Bad Dad Stage Dad Sad Dad

I had a kid. I had a plan. I'm sort of a has been/ never was rocker with a plethora of pride in my step when it comes to being a rock purist. I have my foundations, my pillars of rock architecture and cultural touchstones with which, no matter how far I got as a musician, I knew I could pass on to my offspring as a good old kick start to his or her own legacy as a musician.
For surely my kid is gonna be a musician. For surely my kid is gonna know so much about rock music that he/she would just fall into the prodigious nature of musical study and appreciation, piano, guitar, drums, production, voice....those were the avenues. The streets with names for the he/ she that he/she would be allowed to drive down, blindfolded with passion. I ended up with a boy. A boy who was listening to the Beatles in utero. A boy who had a Led Zeppelin onesie. A kid who had his first drum set at three, his first guitar at four, his first keyboard at six. He wrote his first song as a five year old..lyrics and melody. His music teacher said he was advanced and should be in lessons right away. It was all headed in the right direction, weaving into my chosen path.

My plan was to not be overbearing rock dad inundating him with heavy guitar rock to confuse and overload his little ears. That would have been selfish and stupid. After his mom and I split up, I chose to expose him to everything and anything but sugary, overproduced throwaway pop songs, and misogynist  based  hip hop riddled with ridiculous braggadocio, knowing that this decision was based on my opinion of what was good and what was horrific and bad.I taught him all about the songwriting process, let him ask questions about the artists and the instruments, and how a certain sound was made.I let many genres wash over him and watched him soak them in. He was always fascinated, inquisitive, engaged.I believe I've been successful from that standpoint so far. So far.....

So far that plan is riddled with snafus. I've been sandbagged. I've been sabotaged.I need a kinder gentler approach...because last night my seven year old son went to the Taylor Swift concert...and liked it. He likes all of it. He knows the words to mommy's songs and none of mine. He sings them and knows that it upsets me. Yeah it upsets me. Who is the child here, right?

I have to be realistic. He's just a kid, right. He's more drawn to the big machine pop and the sunshiny chick rock that his mother favors because its easier to sing in the car. It's less moody. Simple arrangements, shiny happy chord progressions and melodies which are catchy, especially to a kid who just wants to be happy and laugh and grow at his own pace. He may never like what I like and may never be influenced by what I've passively, gingerly tried to program him with. I get that.
So why does it suck when he says to me that he "doesn't like rock" and doesn't want to sing in a "rock band".
Why does it hurt so bad. I could be over reacting. Projecting on my son my own "failures" as a musician...being in the wrong place at the right time over and over again, saying no to more than a handful of promising projects, the frustration with lack of DIY mentality when a lack of  management led to a loss of direction and output...etc. As a parent you always want your child to do better than you did. That seems to be a rite of passage. I guess I'm using my own wanna be rock star model from 20 years ago model as the opposite of what I want  his to be.

Right now, I have to ask myself, has my course load overwhelmed my young musical paduwan or was it never his in the first place. The suspense is killing me.


  1. Seano: Don't beat yourself up. Your boy is gonna be what HE wants to be, not necessarily what you WANT him to be. Kids do things for their own reasons. The most you can hope for is that he'll be a good person. I'm comforted that my kids at least saw -- by what I went through -- what NOT to be when they grew up, what career paths NOT to take. At least your son still TALKS to you. It'll all work out. Give it time....

  2. Well, yes that does put some of my over thought grievances into perspective. I really just want to fill his head and heart with love and let the influence seep in organically. If he wants to become a tap dancing klezmer expert or symphonic beat boxer , I guess I'm down. But he will be a Non-belieber at all costs.