Rock n Roll: The Cure for What Ails You and the Key to Knowing Your Kids

Category: Weekly Columns

Rock n Roll Baby - Rock n Roll is for Kids too

I know a lot about Rock n Roll, but my range in other music is limited. A new friend who is completely into Hip Hop and Rap has introduced me to such artists as Kanye West, Drake, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, and others whose names I’d heard but whose music was alien to me. Other than many of the lyrical choices, which I find demeaning to both men and women, I was surprised how creative and good much of the music really was!

Rock n Roll History - Collage of Rock n Roll History

Clearly, my intention is to expand this music topic to include all styles of music, because who doesn’t find music to be comforting? Rock n Roll, Classical, Country, Hip Hop, Pop, or Rap, you name your poison, but it works. As I’ve heard said by Dennis Prager, “Music is God’s drug,” though in Dennis’ case his favorite is classical, but he does appreciate some of the Great American Songbook. I admit to having an eclectic taste in music, which has expanded greatly by making the effort to listen to the music that interests my boys and younger friends such as mentioned in the first paragraph.

From a parenting point of view, being aware of the things that interest your kids will help you understand them. Ever since Elvis hit the scene over 50 years ago and, to a degree, when Frank Sinatra was the first pop star, music has meant independence for the younger generations.

Wanna Rock N Roll All Night And Potty Every Day Baby

I’ve found that hearing and listening to “new” music helps me get out of the rut of the music I grew up with. I was stunned recently, upon watching The Grammys, to discover how little I knew about contemporary music and how much I liked.

My music tastes began, as with most people, around the time I became a teenager and got my first transistor radio (see The Evolution of Technology column on this exact topic). I continued to pay attention to contemporary music up and through my college years and my first few years in the real world. I tend to think that most people have a 10-15 year window during which they pay close attention to music and music trends.

Upon marriage and a demanding work-life, I found my interest in browsing the new music at music stores – remember those – diminished. Perhaps this is not a ubiquitous event, but I tend to think it is.

Rock n Roll Cartoon - Stairway to Heaven vs Highway to Hell - ACDC vs Led Zeppelin

My boys listened to what I’d label bubble gum pop when they first began listening to music and such songs as The Hamster Dance flooded the air in my car. Later, when my older son began playing guitar and truly getting consumed by music, I first exposed him to my favs by taking him to Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, and Neil Young concerts. When Green Day came out with their seminal album American Idiot, the roles reversed and I took both boys to see them.

We had floor SRO tickets and neither boy was tall enough to see anything but the screens on either side of the stage. The dancing and mild mosh-pit action made the whole thing a bit scary (for me). But, I took turns putting my boys on my shoulders so they could get a better view. And I played linebacker when a stoned out teen would get too close for comfort.

Rock n Roll Icons

That began a tradition of going together to concerts of their choosing. Most of those outings resulted in my putting in earplugs and going to sleep. When we went to see Metallica, I still can’t believe that I fell asleep throughout that concert given the intense volume of their show. Later, when we saw them at the Outside Lands festival, I had to stand for their performance and thoroughly enjoyed it and the whole festival experience for those three days. I thoroughly enjoyed The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo-Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, and so many others that we saw together.

We went to the Outside Lands festival (it’s in San Francisco) again last year and, other than being the oldest of the 50,000 or so daily festivalgoers, I was by now as into it as my boys. I saw the boys here and there as we each chose those shows we wanted to see among the many that went on simultaneously. I have a lot of cool videos from that extremely fun Outside Lands festival but especially like my almost “official” one during Tom Morello’s show, when he asked for someone – and pointed to me – to take the video of an encores song so everyone else could sing-a-long and not worry about getting it on video. He promised me 1,000,000 views. We got quite a bunch, but not anywhere near that amount. But, the experience was priceless, without a doubt!

Rock n Roll Forever - Rock n Roll Will Never Die

Rock n Roll is indeed here to stay as I suspect rap and hip-hop are as well. Country has morphed into more rock-like pop music but still retains its appeal and rabid fans. Pop music in the form of those that are most well known and hit the Grammys such as Adele, Beyonce, Justin Beiber, and Justin Timbelake will dominate the charts and sales, but the old rock acts will still rock stadiums as The Rolling Stones are currently doing. Bruce Springsteen still, in my opinion, puts on one of the best shows and sharing all this as a family is indeed a great way to stay close and simply have fun together.

Rock n Roll Theatre - Rock-n-Roll Legends

How about skipping that $5 Starbucks latte and splurging $2.99 (for the Kindle on Amazon) or $2.79 for the PDF of my new e-book? Enjoy my own informercial for it! This e-book is really a virtual journey. It’s filled with 100 photos, 7 original videos, and links to many of the stops on the trip. Click on the book cover image below to find your purchase options:

Dealing with The Empty Nest

  • http://twitter.com/profkrg Kenna Griffin

    I love all types of music, so does my husband. I’m happy to say that we seem to have shared this love with our daughter too.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Music connects the generations, doesn’t it Professor @twitter-27305797:disqus ?

  • http://twitter.com/AngieMc6 Angie Mc

    “Bruce Springsteen still, in my opinion, puts on one of the best shows and sharing all this as a family is indeed a great way to stay close and simply have fun together.” Saw The Boss in December. My kids are music fans too. Wrote about it here http://mygraystripes.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/the-boss-chose-me/ . Thanks, Bruce!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’m with you @twitter-265033789:disqus - I saw Springsteen twice in the past year – and at Xmas time I got to see him to “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” which was a kick. He sure does put on a show. I think I’ve seen him more than any other performer “live!”

  • Pingback: A Radio Show about Rock n Roll | Bruce Sallan Radio Show | Bruce Sallan

  • http://twitter.com/BillDraeger Bill Draeger

    Yes, rock and roll is here to stay.  A lot of the new stuff is really good.  I still think rap rhymes with crap for a reason, however.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Check out some hip-hop – it takes rap and improves upon it, IMO @twitter-377665846:disqus 

  • David Weber

    I have always had what I thought were eclectic tastes in music. But what REALLY made me MORE eclectic was getting an iPod for Christmas in Dec. 2011.  I didn’t activate it for about six mo., because I knew I would be getting a new desktop computer in the near future; and I wanted to use it as my base computer for the iPod.  

    I got the new computer, an iMac, in late May 2012, and by June, I was diligently uploading music from my CD collection (which is not particularly large, it was rebuilt, but never completely, after a 1999 flood destroyed hundreds or thousands of recordings I had accumulated since junior high school); also borrowing music from friends; and then I got into iTunes!  

    Yes, iTunes may be a rip-off and have its detractors; but what I like about it more than anything else is the marketing tactic of showing you what other people bought who bought what you just bought.  That exposed me to a multitude of songs, music styles and genres, and musicians, I otherwise would not know about.

    At the beginning of this semester (Spring 2013), in one of my classes, I reported all that to my students, who are basically “typical” college students, if there is such a thing.  I asked them to each write down the names of 3-4 performers, acts or bands that they would recommend to me. I gave them a couple of examples of what I enjoy musically and gave them a few min. to list.  I collated their contributions in one master list, alphabetized their submissions and little by little am working through youtube and iTunes to see if I like the music they proposed.

    Also, I discovered the HUGE music library at my university.  It is heavily classical, but that’s OK, I love classical music, although I am not an expert.  I have loved classical since I was in junior high and was required to take a course called “Music & Art Appreciation.”  Just what every 13-yr.-old boy wants to study, right?  It turned out I enjoyed the course.  Also took a music history course in college, which further solidified my enjoyment of classical.

    The university library also has a great deal of other music, from soundtracks to world music. But it appears that its second-largest collection is jazz.  About three weeks ago, I checked out about a dozen anthologies of jazz, mostly from the ’20s through to the early ’70s.  I had never particularly liked jazz…only a few isolated songs (example: “Take Five”) and WWII-era mainstream swing music.  But something fascinating happened when I was working through the anthologies: My ear “got” jazz.  I was delighted because it was for me a new music.  There are drawers and drawers of it in the library to discover.

    About half my iPod music is classical or light classical.  The other half is distributed among a couple of dozen types of music.  When I put my music library on shuffle, it’s music genre whiplash.  I have only used the ear buds two or three times; they don’t fit my ear canal well.  So I listen to the iPod in the car and on a dock (one in my office, one in my home).  

    My one iPod rule is: No apologies for what music I do or do not load onto my iPod … if I like it, it goes on it, if I don’t, it doesn’t. This means that, for example, if I don’t like the second movement of such-and-such a symphony, I don’t load it, although to a true aficionado of classical music, that is a criminal offense.  Or, if a song is at best a “guilty pleasure” for me, or I’m normally embarrassed to admit I like it, the song goes on the iPod just the same.  Example: Tony Basil’s ’80s hit, “Mickey”…I like it, it’s catchy, so sue me.

    In a comment in another of Bruce’s columns, I wrote that, to make an admittedly broad general statement, I dislike social media and technology.  The iPod is perhaps the one counterpoint to that position for me … I think it has the potential to bring a great deal of pleasure, transcendence and peace to a person, because that’s what music can do.  My iPod has a capacity of about 128 gigs; I’m currently at about 28, so I have a way to go before I fill the device’s capacity of, what, 18 THOUSAND songs or something like that!

    As far as “music is God’s drug,” I don’t dispute that, even though it is a kind of clunky turn of phrase, in my opinion; I would add that God has made many wonderful “drugs,” music being one of them.  It is interesting, however, and a topic for another post or conversation, about the different effects different art or entertainment forms have on a person.  

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus - I wonder which of us has a MORE eclectic taste in music?