Sunday, November 18, 2012

Better With Age...

David Lee Roth World Tour 1986I can't say that I’ve always had my exceptional musical taste. When I was 11, David Lee Roth parted ways with Van Halen and started a solo career.  His "world tour" led him to Roanoke, Virginia, where my father decided to take me for my first concert.  The big night arrived and after combing our matching mullets to perfection, we headed to the show for a guy's night out.

Never having been to one of these things before, I was wide-eyed with excitement as we walked past all of the sights in the parking lot on our way into the packed civic center.  We passed all sorts of characters, this was 1986, and most in attendance looked like the villains in those high school movies my sister watched.

Inside, the opening act was Cinderella, a typical 80’s hair band with lots of make up and really bad vocals.  It was loud, extremely loud, almost as loud as that crash up car derby my father had taken me to the previous year.  We found our seats but I’m pretty sure Dad let me break the no caffeine after 2pm rule, so I had to use the bathroom.  We fought our way down the steps, making our way once again past shady characters with jean jackets and long hair.   I stayed close, thankful to be near my dad in the midst of all of the hooligans.

Inside the bathroom, I noticed smoke coming from one of the stalls, why are their two guys in there?  And then the smell hit me.   Something foreign and very distinct, something I wouldn’t smell again for quite a few more years.  My dad whisked me out of the bathroom, the conversation went something like this:

“Dad, what was that smell.”

“I’ll tell you later.”

I never did find out what that smell was that night, but the concert was great.  I’m pretty sure we left before the final encore, but it was a great time of bonding with my dad.  I learned a lot that night as well.  On our way to the concert, I remember thinking how grown up I was going to a rock concert.  When we left, I was overwhelmed and grateful that I still had a few more years of being a kid.

Growing up, my musical taste was all over the map.  From David Lee Roth to The Fat Boys, most of us experience with all types of music as we age. I’m a product of the 80’s, so I can’t say I’m proud of everything I listened to, but we had our classics. I still perk up when I hear Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince.

Today’s music is, well, not classic.  Some of this stuff is bad.  Really, really bad.  Maybe I’m just old, but what fills our pop radio airwaves is beyond awful.  I’m lucky in a way, my son will have missed the Justin Bieber stage. While I feel like I dodged a bullet, I worry what else is coming. The sad truth is that one day a fledgling singer will list JB among his influences…..and they won't mean James Brown.

What kind of concerts will I have to endure?  Somewhere, there’s a 7 or 8 year old kid practicing singing or rapping or something that I haven’t been subjected to that is going to cost me money.  His mother will post his/her singing on youtube and then it will go viral.  After that the kid will become a global icon and be forced into my household via my kid.  I may have to shell out $40 or $50 bucks to hear said kid perform in 10 years.  I will go to work humming and singing these awful songs that are stuck in my head after constantly hearing them.  These are the things that keep me up at night.  

My only saving grace is that we’re having a boy, but there's still cause for concern.  Maybe I can just force him to listen to Led Zeppelin like my father did after our David Lee Roth experience, and hope everything else will work itself out.


  1. Oh I loved hearing about your first concert experience and being a a child in the 80's too I could very much relate to your music tastes and was also all over the map. I also agree about Justin Bieber and happy that my girls are too young to realize just yet, but am also afraid of what is to come for us. So yes I can totally relate to your post!!

    1. Thanks Janine, yeah the 80's were uh, special weren't they? Haha! Good luck with the girls, but I see some fun concerts in your future!

  2. The good news is that I think boys are generally more open to the classics of the 80s. I'm sure with the right coaching *cough*, I mean parenting, your son will develop the right taste in music. I always love your posts, Pete!

  3. I agree Cari, and there will be some, uh, coaching going on...early! Thanks!

  4. I heart the 80s. We only listen to 70s and 80s in the car, mostly, so I hope my kids will stay away from the modern stuff. Actually I haven't even heard a lot of the modern stuff, so I don't even know what my decade is competing with. Where's the pic of you with the mullet???