“I said where’d ya getcha information from, huh?

You think that you can front when revelation comes?


I had this cd on.  I was doing my best Ad-Rock impression.  Standing over my prone, shirtless son, up in his grill, poking his tummy and ribs until he had all but laughed his breath away.

This is our music appreciation class.

It’s got a wide and varied curriculum, our class.

Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillespie, Mozart. The Rolling Stones.  Ella Fitzgerald. Patsy Cline.  Michael Jackson (primarily Off The Wall).

Anyone can call for a class to begin.

P-Nut: “Daddy, can we have some music?”

The Pumpkin Man: “Daddy, cahwe-aaf Moozic,!”

John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Thelonious Monk, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Bach, Bob Dylan.

When the kids call for class to begin, they (read: The Pnut.  Her biography will be entitled The Tiniest Tyrant.) pick the music.

99 times out of 100 it’s either Lady Gaga’s the Telephone song (“Daddy.  Stop Callin’ song!” or  the “Don’t Stop song.” MJ’s Don’t stop til you get enough.

I negotiate.

“Ok.  Two more Stop Callings and then daddy gets to pick.  And you get a cookie!”

Sometimes I play them things that they won’t really enjoy until they get older, but it doesn’t hurt to start now.

Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Billy Holiday.

Some I pick because I feel like they should be familiar with them at least a little by the time they’re adults.  And they have kid-friendly potential.

Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter.

Some of the stuff they love now, you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

Buddy Rich, Bob Marley, Prince.

Some I pick because they’ll give my kids a glimpse into what I was like when I was younger. Without going into “specifics.” Ahem.

The Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Tribe Called Quest, Hole, Cypress Hill,  PJ Harvey, The Violent Femmes, Public Enemy, Soundgarden, The Breeders, The Flaming Lips, Salt-n-Pepa.

Some are just a goddamn blast.

Lady Gaga again, B-52’s, Missy Elliot

Some I play because it makes me laugh to see such tiny booties dancing to things you usually hear now on VH1 specials.

Bobby Brown, Deee-lite, EMF, Bobby McFerrin.

In the interest of full embarrassment, I honestly enjoy(ed) all of those folks.

Sometimes we listen and we play the drums.  We have a Conga and a Djembe.   File under: gleeful cacophony.

Sometimes, they don’t dig the tunage I’m layin’ down.

You know what it’s like to have the music you grew up with eschewed by your three-year old daughter?  Oddly humbling.

The Pumpkin man, he likes three types of music:  Whatever he can sing to, whatever he can dance to, and whatever his sister tells him he likes.  Anything else, he wails a high-pitched “Noooo!”   Like he lost the Hope Diamond off the side of the Titanic.

It is with great effort that I shake-off these momentary lapses in judgment to which my callow progeny are susceptible.

It is my responsibility to expose them to this music.  You might even call it a solemn duty.  I rank it below “keep them alive” but above “keep them from swearing.

Music.  You used to be mine.  Now it’s just another unexpected, soul-sapping, work intensive, mind-numbing, thankless, parental responsibility.

Sometimes it’s hard to be a Parent.