I have no beef with the purveyor of inexpensive, tasteful, yet clique-inducing khaki cargo pants and solid color Ts. No, it’s the generation gap I wish to combat (not the clothing manufacturer), specifically the musical space distancing us from our fathers which we are evidently expected to hand down to our children without a fight. I, for one, am up for a fight.
While ever so slowly coming into the acceptance phase of realization that my age has now moved me out of the key advertising demographic loved so by the suits at MTV, FOX TV and most all FM radio stations along the dial not playing music tapped directly into your nearest elevator, I wholeheartedly disagree with the assumption I will leave the songs loved by my previous demographic behind.
Reading this, you may already sense a feeling of concern and urgency on my part. This comes, in no small part, from the shock involved in a quick study review of the wide gulf distancing my father’s musical tastes from my own.
To be fair, my father did expand his musical preferences in his later years: not only did he love the Big Band sound of the Benny Goodman Orchestra but he also loved the Big Band sound of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass.
Yes, Dad touched all ends of the musical spectrum, just as long as they involved a large group of snappily dressed men arranged seated on a multi-level stage, tooting or drumming out their upbeat rhythm in finger-snapping after finger-snapping tune.
To be fair, I really got a kick out of big band as I was growing up. Heck, I had no choice since it drowned my senses summer after summer filtering out of the 8-Track in our Chevy station wagon during those family vacation jaunts. All family members made a makeshift drum out of whatever part of the car we were tapping to keep pace along with Benny, Herb and all the others, as we sped through the empty spaces in the Nevada desert
But as I came into my own as a young man, I ventured toward musical tastes a bit different than good old Benny and his clarinet or Herb and his, well, Tijuana Brass.
I embraced the fun-loving, happy-go-lucky styles of ska, new wave, modern rock as well as thought-provoking, melodic reggae and even a variation of styles in between. Styles all prospering as I was coming of age, and still my music of choice as I have, well, come and gone of age, as far as marketers are concerned.
Considering I view the musical tastes of my father as completely foreign in comparison to my own, is it inevitable my own children will come to view my musical choices in the same outdated, old fashioned way?
I may be stubborn and clueless (in which case, the marketers grouping the various demographics are keener than I give them credit for) but highly doubt such a gap can exist between my musical tastes and those of my as-yet-unborn offspring.
Is it conceivable my son may one day come to me and ridicule my antiquated notion of the members of Blink 182 or Smashmouth as a hip bunch of guys putting out radio-blasting worthy tunes or view me as out of touch for even considering Liz Phair or the ladies of Veruca Salt among the top tier of sexy female singers?
I cannot willingly accept the theory that people in each generation before mine has questioned the veracity of the musical gap as I do, only to be proven wrong time and time again as the natural cycle continued undaunted.
There must come a time in which the evolution of musical experimentation slows enough to bridge a generation gap, bringing harmony to musical tastes and influences of a father and his children. I believe in this as strongly as I believe in my future ability to be a Dad who “listens to cool music”, or at least this is how I envision my kids and their friends will view me. I can’t imagine it any other way.
Other things I believe:
1) Hands down, the movie Singles produced THE best soundtrack album ever.
2) Your heart just cannot be pumping if you don’t immediately feel the urge to dance around when a good ska tune comes on.
3) Nobody, absolutely nobody, could have known Dave Grohl had it in him.