Monday, May 19, 2008

Everything New Is Old Again

My folks hated my record collection when I was a kid. AC/DC, The Dead Kennedy’s, The Pistols, The Clash and many others scared the crap right out of their tightly wound puckers. As a matter of fact, my aunt told my mom that if I continued listening to AC/DC that I would turn gay.
“You know what AC/DC means, right Carol? It means they ’operate on either circuit‘, if you know what I mean!”
If my folks hated a record I was listening to it was a good sign that I was on the right track. Now, to be fair, my folks were a little on the older side, being in their late 20’s and early 30’s during the heyday of the psychedelic 60’s. But even those parents that came of age grooving to the music of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Starship pretty much stopped listening to anything new after about 1970. Sure, they bought new albums by their favorite 60’s artists, but the new bands didn’t interest them much, and even disgusted them in some cases (disco, anyone? punk?).

So how ‘bout today’s kids? Sure you have the teeny bopper top 40 kids who devour each new trend that comes along like so much cotton candy, and when they’ve had their fill vomit it into the gutter and move to the next flavor, but what about the hipper types? You know what they’re listening to, right? YOUR music collection from the 70’s and 80’s, that's what! They’re thumbing their way through your library, scarfing up your old ELO, Queen, Zeppelin, Bowie and T-Rex CD’s like there’s no tomorrow, probably scratching the hell out of them in the progress.

Even today’s new releases echo the sound and feel of those albums. To wit: The Strokes are a hybrid of the Velvet Underground and Television; Pop Levi is pure Marc Bolan; Ryan Adams more than echoes, well, every singer/ songwriter from the 1970’s; LCD Soundsystem, although unique and amazing in their own way, is basically New Order with cowbell. And even though it may sound different, isn’t modern electronic dance music the natural progression from disco? Not that that’s such a bad thing. For someone who grew up on music from the 70’s and 80’s I find it refreshing that these new bands are finding new and exciting ways to update the sound.

Back to the kids. My daughter, poor thing, gets quizzed everyday on the way to school by her music obsessed dad.

“Who’s this?”, I’ll bellow.
“The Flaming Lips, Daddy.”
“And this one?” “
“That’s Bob Dylan, DUH!”
“Ok, here’s a harder one: who’s THIS?”
…and she replies, “M Ward”.

I’m trying to instill in her a sense of musical variety, to respect all genres and to abhor the mainstream. Perhaps I’m fighting a war I can’t win, though I’ll probably stay delusional about it until she enters her teens. With my luck she’ll be a ‘modern country’ fan, move to Nashville and marry a much older Kenney Chesney .
Ok now I’m gonna have nightmares for a week. And as ThomG is fond of saying, “I think I just threw up in my mouth a little…”


GE said...

Pretty impressinve. How old is she? I fear my 2 1/2 year old is already prejudiced against "daddy's music."

Holly A Hughes said...

My 17-year-old son didn't believe me when I told him that all those indie bands he loves come straight outta the Kinks and the Who -- until he heard Damon Albarn pay homage to Ray Davies in an interview. My 13-year-old HATES it that the guys in Panic at the Disco mention their love of the British Invasion bands at every opportunity.

When they were younger and we still had control of the CD player on car trips, we pumped them full of 60s and 70s stuff. I dragged them to see Ray Davies and Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson in concert. The great thing is that now they keep their ears to the ground and let US know about the hip new bands. They pretend not to, but they actually deeply care whether we approve of their "finds."

They despise hip-hop and rap, and are pretty scornful of mainstream country, so we must have taught them something right. They still won't tolerate the Grateful Dead, though. Maybe you really did have to be there to get the point of that.