For the dads and future dads…

I’ve been buying some vinyl records lately, which is something many of my friends would be more adept to discuss (my collection is small at the moment).  My roommate and I got to discussing the fact that music has become so easily consumable and disposable at the same time.  Mp3 files are just too likely to be lost or discarded though.  In fifteen years, how are my kids going to stumble upon my music collection like I stumbled upon my dad’s?

I don’t know if everyone can relate, but I remember finding all my parent’s old records and not-so-carefully rifling through the gatefolds of familiar faces like Madonna and Michael Jackson (they had Off the Wall, maybe my favorite MJ album).  The Beach Boys “Endless Summer” was like 4 LPs of songs I already knew, which was awesome.  I used to turn up the RPMs so everyone sounded like the Chipmunks – much to my amusement.

As I got older and started learning more about music myself, I dug deeper into my dad’s old records.  Hearing the outro bass line kick in on “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac was like the first time I ever felt cool to be a bassist.  I realized that this drab painting of an old man with a bundle of sticks on his back was actually Led Zeppelin IV, which contained “Stairway to Heaven” – an important song in almost every aspiring guitarist’s life.  And then there was Alchemy, the live Dire Straits album.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the live version of “Sultans of Swing” changed my life.  It’s an eleven minute version at almost double-time the original.  There’s gotta be like 3 extra guitar solos.  Listening to Mark Knopfler made me feel hopeless and awestruck – after the track was over, I picked up the needle and played it again and again.  Trying to play bass along with the track was a chore – I still can’t even fathom most of the guitar lines!  As a little kid, I made a promise that SOMEDAY I’d be able to play along to this song, note for note.  I’m not even remotely close to my goal – it’ll almost assuredly be one of those things that haunts me in old age.

And I owe the discovery of all this music to a bunch of physical records on a shelf in my house.  I’ll be damned if my kids are going to have to sift through my iPod or iPad to see what music I was listening to.  I want them to have that same experience of digging into a stack of music, looking at all the artwork on the covers and tossing records all over the floor.  I want my kids to learn that same appreciation for music… and their dad.

I’m going to be pretty disappointed when my offspring opt for KidzBop Volume 65.

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