My oldest daughter and I are very musical people.
We both love to sing and perform.
For her 5th birthday, I bought her a microphone and an amplifier. She uses it all the time. We have guitars in the house, a piano, keyboards and all sorts of musical influences, that serve as a constant source of inspiration and encouragement.
The only thing that's been slightly disappointing for me, from a selfish standpoint, is that our tastes in music seem to differ quite a lot.
I grew up loving all things Heavy Metal; Manowar, Scorpions, Metallica, Queensryche and anything else I was able to bang my head to. As I grew older, my musical tastes continued to expand.
Now, I can tolerate most anything, with the exception of all the crap that she likes; Hannah Montana, Ashley Tisdale, Jonas Brothers, Vanessa Hudgens and whatever else she blasts from that shitty, little CD / Clock Radio we put in her bedroom.
It's as if Lucifer himself had a megaphone, standing at a podium of evil, spewing sounds of retched, demons, writhing about in agony, in a pit of fiery despair. Not coincidentally, these demons are all employed by Disney.
Sometimes, I feel like I'm just getting old and it's a part of my transformation into a crotchety, old bag. All parents are meant to feel like their kid's music is too loud and far inferior to what they grew up listening to. Right? My parents probably drove my grandparents crazy listening to the Beatles and Elvis. I drove them crazy listening to Manowar and Kiss. Now my kids will inevitably push me to the brink of insanity by wearing out the High School Musical 3 Soundtrack.
But in the grand scheme of things, it will become painfully obvious that The Beatles, Manowar and Zack Effron were all genius lyricists and musical trendsetters. What a sweet moment of irony that will be for some Musical Historian / Psychotherapist. Until then, it's just a hideous cycle of doom.
Recently, I came up with a plan.
It's actually quite brilliant in its simplicity, if not diabolical in its intent.
I came up with a way to trick my children into liking my music.
All I did was make them think that it was their choice.
You see, I have about 1000 old cd's that are sitting in my basement. I haven't touched them since I ripped them all to my Ipod. They're all shelved neatly, in alphabetical order, in one of those gargantuan, black, faux wood, lazy susan style, cd racks. Remember those? My wife and I decorated our entire first apartment around that fucking monstrosity.
I'm sure those hideous pieces of functional furniture, were the sole motivation for Steve Jobs and his team of developers, when they were working countless hours, designing the prototype for the first Ipods.
Anyway, my kids are always asking me about those CD's and they are constantly asking for my permission to play with them. I always say no, because it only leads to a giant mess for me to clean up.
That just makes them want it more.
But what if I were to find a way to control the mess?
What if I were able channel their curiosity and harness it for the greater good of me? It sounds like molecular science but it's not.
It can be done.
It has been done.
One night last week when I was getting my 7 year old ready for bed, as always, she asked me to put on some candy ass, demon music, for her to fall asleep to.
I said, "What would you like to hear baby?"
She said, "Can I listen to Corbin Bleu?"
I said, "Absolutely not. That's not sleepy music. That's shit for brains, dance music, sweetheart."
OK, maybe I didn't exactly say that but it's what I was thinking.
But I did offer this suggestion...
"How about we go downstairs and I'll let you pick out one new CD from Daddy's CD rack?"
She sat straight up in bed.
"REALLY? I can pick out any CD I want?"
Knowing I have her right where I want her...
"Absolutely. Any CD you want."
And that's exactly what she did.
We spent about 15 minutes going through my collection, discussing all the different types of music there was to choose from, which ones were my favorite and what singers were alive or dead. She has some sort of obsession with dead artists and she thinks Janis Joplin is ugly. Who am I to disagree?
The amazing thing is that after all these years of trying to push my music on her, in the car or in the house, it finally came down to this. I gave her the opportunity to choose. Of course, it was a controlled group of selected material but it was a fair choice nonetheless.
Now every night, we go downstairs and spin the huge, black tower of ancient song. Round and round and round she goes. Where she stops, nobody knows.
INDIGO GIRLS - Strange Fire
OK, so it's not a perfect system but it sure beats being Out-Numbered by Lucifer and his band of Disney Demons...