Welcome back to Part II of my Rock Dad’s Day interviews. I’m catching up with three musician Dads – Kevin, Tyler and Bill – to get their views on music and parenting.
Kevin lives in Hong Kong and plays bass in a couple of bands – Transnoodle and New Tonic Press. Tyler also plays bass and sings for San Saba County, an Austin band. And Bill lives in Paris and plays guitar for a cover band called The Outliers.
How do you think your child’s experience with music will be different from your own?
Bill: They are starting to learn music at an earlier age than I did and have a good chance to become much more accomplished musicians. They both can now read music and they both have exhibited an impressive willingness to slog forward learning piano (Felix) and guitar (Louis). They are getting skills that today’s technology will only amplify.
As such, I think that today’s technology will make music-making a more integrated part of their overall relationship with music than it was for me. The I-pad has an amazing application that allows you to compose, sample and mix music in a completely intuitive fashion. Felix’s keyboard includes all sorts of rhythms and other capabilities. I have amps and guitars that are accessible to Louis. With their emerging skills as musicians, this will blur the line between the act of listening and the act of music-making. It kind of becomes all the same thing.
Kevin: I’m afraid we won’t be sharing as much music, since now my library sits as a four-month long brick of data in my computer and most listening happens with headphones on. No more albums for him to rifle through and sneak out of my room. I look forward to when he can come see me play — the bands I’m in are too loud for him now. But he’ll have much more resources at his command for learning and playing command — watching tutorials on YouTube or doing home recordings on Pro Tools rather than cassettes.
Tyler: Technology will make her music experience much different than mine as a child. Everything is instant nowadays from buying, downloading, fast forward/rewinding, It’s all at the touch of a button. The record stores are all online so she will most likely never save up her allowance and spend the day at the mall at Musicland to spend every penny on a record, cassette or CD then race home to read the liner notes and lyrics. But it’s ever changing so who knows what she’ll experience.
Are there any artists you absolutely love but your kid(s) detest?
Bill: Nothing offhand. They haven’t gotten into jazz yet, but I don’t expect it. I had hoped they would like They Might Be Giants a bit more, but I picked up a copy of their kids’ record and DVD “This is Science” this week in Boston and the boys and I are all over it.
Tyler: This doesn’t really apply to me yet but she definitely does not like the volume in which I listen to music. Neither does her mother for that matter.
Kevin: So far Jonah hasn’t turned his nose up at any of my music. Actually, he’s probably turned me on to more music thanks to Barney, Fireman Sam, and forgotten/never knew nursery rhymes (especially living in Hong Kong, I get a healthy dose of Brit rhymes I’d never heard).
Tyler, imagine that your daughter is 18. If she were to bring home the 19-year old incarnation of one of the following – Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Morrissey, Kanye West or Johnny Cash – which one would you choose/approve of and why?
Tyler: She’s going to bring someone home eventually, isn’t she? Damn. Well, if she brings home any one of those whether it be a guitar guru, master songwriter, rapper or just a badass then he’ll be more of a musician than I’ll ever be so I’ll probably welcome him in to learn some new tricks. That doesn’t mean I have to like him.
For Kevin and Bill – when your son(s) is 18, what if he were to bring home the 18-year old incarnation of one of the following – Grace Slick, Olivia Newton-John, Chrissie Hynde, Beyonce or Loretta Lynn – which one would you choose/approve of and why?
Bill: Chrissie Hynde — she’s a nut today but when she hit the scene she was a rock journalist who became a great artist and a truly original female rock icon. Of course, two members of her band died, which is a negative, but I think she (along with Loretta) is genuine in the way the others don’t seem to be.
Kevin: Loretta — although she was married at 13 and had four kids by the time she was 19. But by far the most talented, headstrong and put together of the bunch. Beyonce would break his heart, Grace Slick would weird us out (and “We Built This City (on Rock and Roll)” is unforgivable). Chrissie would be too angry, Olivia Newton-John too forgettable.
Finally, what’s your perfect lullaby?
Tyler: I let Christie handle the lullabys, but I do sing her a song by My Morning Jacket called “Evelyn”.
Kevin: I whistled “Simple Song” from Bernstein’s “Mass” when he was an infant, which seemed to do the trick. “Brahm’s Lullaby” when he was a toddler (I know, it’s the “Stairway to Heaven” of lullabies. But what can I say — it worked.)
Bill: Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was the most played and most requested lullaby when they were little. I will always associate this song now with my boys aged three-four.
Thanks again to these Rock Dads for their thoughtful and funny answers. And though I’ve never been a fan of They Might Be Giants (do they have any female fans?), I’ll close, on Bill’s suggestion, with a video from their latest release, Here Comes Science. This clip is called “I Am A Paleontologist”. Gather the kids round the computer screen and enjoy!