Sunday, July 24, 2011

AC/DC made me immortal

I still remember vivid as day, Dad had just set up his new Marantz 3 piece with Technics turn table and Bose speakers.  He survived his entire life either in a teepee without electricity or with a crappy Panasonic believing you saved until you could get your dream rig rather than blowing your money on a middle of the road unit.  The day it arrived via UPS he unpacked it all and taught me how to wire it up.  When we got done, he put on Ramblin' Man, fired up a joint, and just sat in his recliner in complete rapture.  The look of satisfaction was so deep, so pure on his face I never forgot that lesson and to this day I save for the dream rig rather than compromising on some middle of the road, unsatisfying pile.

I was 11 or 12 when Dad bought his stereo.  Before then I listened to some music but I was not a big fan yet, there just was not much music in our house.  That day it all changed.  The music did not turn off for the next 10 years.  30 years later, music is still defining my life.  Today as I write I am listening to my mellow play list on with the likes of Adele, Kings of Leon, John Mayer Trio, which brings out deep emotions in my writing.  Later I will head out in the sun and put on my classic rock play list and my energy and emotions will soar.

My wife has bad hearing, background noise makes it hard for her to listen to conversation.  I whine about this all the time because I have to turn the music down.  I am one selfish bastard I know.  But I worry our boys will not have those same musical memories I had, can you say paranoia.  Whenever I think about my dad there is a sound track playing:

After my dad died, music was the only solstice for me and my brother. I remember playing hours of air guitar on our makeshift stage.  Funny as it sounds now, I remember we loved rocking out to the Bay City Rollers.  I am sure dad was rolling in his grave at our musical choice but we thought we were COOL!  That was the year I joined my first (and last) rip off record club.  I cannot remember all the albums I "selected" but in addition to the Bay City Rollers I do remember Steely Dan - Aja, Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street, Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell, and Kansas - Point of No Return.  Not as sad a list as I expected but certainly funny.  My brother and I shaped our musical tastes together throughout highschool.  We discovered Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Rush, AC/DC, Van Halen all while driving carpool 4 days a week to race team at Eldora.  It was 40 minutes each way, because I drove WAY too fast, so we had more than 5 hours a week just listening to music for years on end.

We should all air guitar before we walk
In college I had a roommate, Joel, and we developed an early love for CDs.  We bought a great stereo in 1987 and then spent all our free cash flow on CDs for the next 3 years.  We had more than 1000 CDs by the time we graduated.  My musical tastes diversified a bunch in college.  I discovered the blues and Stevie Ray Vaughn.  I discovered Motown and the Temptations.  Piano became a loved instrument bringing in Supertramp, Billy Joel, Elton John, and others.  I discovered the British invasion, Kinks, Stones, and The Who.  As my tastes diversified I also became more tolerant, worldly, observant, all requirements if you are going to enjoy a mix tape with Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Stevie Guitar Miller, and George Thorogood all jumbled together.

Now that I have kids of my own, I find I cannot help but influence their musical tastes.  Easy stuff like Peter Frampton and Ted Nugent but if you really want to get them banging their heads you have to turn it up a little.  On the way to football games a little Welcome to the Jungle.  Teaching them to Run with the Devil in route to the ski area.  Rocking them like a Hurricane when driving them to school on rainy days.  These are all things they will remember in their soundtrack but I will be forever immortalized for cranking up Jail Break, Hells Bells, and Dirty Deeds sitting in the boat getting ready to go tubing.

Its so easy to fill our lives with stress every day, forgetting we are shaping our kids with every little action.  Its like we forget we are immortalized in our children.  There are many good things about my father immortalized in me but there is a big bunch of bad things too.  You have to ask yourself do you want to immortalize your joie de vivre or you flipping the bird?  Personally I want them to model my hair flying, head bang, while ripping air guitar Angus riffs like Sin City.  That is a soundtrack for my kids I can live with not some workaholic elevator music of a vanilla life.

Dang, Angus is one ugly dude, plays a mean lick though