Pearl Jam-ming with my daughter

One of my goals during my week at home has been to introduce The Hurricane to music.

Not Elmo, or Old MacDonald, or that horrible counting CD that is so damn catchy I wake in the middle of the night with Three Blind Mice running through my brain. I can actually see how they run!

Nope, she’s going to Dad’s school of music, and Wednesday was the first class. Instead of having the TV or some other nonsense on in the background as we played, I threw on Pearl Jam Vs., the band’s second album, and second best in my personal book. Why not Ten, their acclaimed 1991 debut, you ask? — too overplayed, even though you likely didn’t ask. I want my girl to be a true Pearl Jam fan and know that Dissident is 1,000 times better than Jeremy, but it’s the latter you’ll hear on the radio and it’s a damn shame.

So we rocked out, man, me and The Hurricane. Although the first couple of tunes are a bit heavier than anything she’s likely ever heard, when Daughter came on, she danced without prompting.

And my heart leapt.

A Pearl Jam fan, right from the first listen — I wasn’t this proud when she took her first steps.

OK, that’s being overly dramatic, but it was still awesome to watch her dance to one of my all-time favourite bands.

Throughout the rest of the album she was in and out of attention, like an 18-month-old is with anything other than Baby Einstein. But I wasn’t going to let her away that easy, so I scooped her up for Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, one of the most beautiful songs the band has ever written. Click the link, listen to it, enjoy it.

This time we danced. Hand in hand, eye to eye, in the middle of the living room, not caring that the curtains were wide open and any number of passersby could see us. We went in circles slowly, we spun around quickly (to her great delight), we dipped, we got dizzy, and we laughed.

It was likely the best 3 minutes and 15 seconds of my week, and possibly of my life.

I don’t know why I have this desire to pass on my music to my daughter. Christ only knows what will be ‘cool’ when she’s a teen, but I feel it’s my duty for her to know what music was important to me in my younger days, and there’s nothing cooler than being the person that introduces that ‘old’ band to your buddies who are listening to Top 40 crap. My cousin was always that guy, buying Queen albums before Wayne’s World made Bohemian Rhapsody cool again. Or having the complete Twisted Sister collection when all we had ever heard was We’re Not Gonna Take It (OK, maybe not so cool, but a trend setter nonetheless in a small Ontario town of 600 with nothing but a Celine Dion playing radio station and its Randy Travis country counterpart).

The Boss always mentions to me that I know every song on the radio, no matter the station we’re listening to, even though I rarely listen to music outside my car anymore. I think it’s because some of my earliest memories were of singing along to The Old Man’s music, which unfortunately at the time was Air Supply (really Dad, seriously, in the early-80s when Queen, and Led Zepplin, and Aerosmith, and The Beatles, and ACDC, and the pre-Disney Elton John, and CCR, and so many other kick-ass bands were recently broken up or still going strong you were listening to Air Supply, the cheesiest group ever assembled?).

But if I’m going to rip on The Old Man, I also have to give him serious props for showing me how to run his 8-track player in the garage so I could wear out Meat Loaf’s epic Bat Out of Hell, which still kicks my ass whenever I listen to it, even without the 8-track channel changes and fading in and out mid-song.

He also had a great multiple-tape collection that was a giveaway from the local gas station — Shell Solid Gold it was called and even though I can’t even find a link for it on eBay, it existed — that introduced me to all the hits of the 50’s and 60’s — songs I still know by heart, although I haven’t heard them since, well the 80’s. Sure, these songs may not have moulded my future listening tastes — unless Motley Crue, Warrant and Poison are direct results of The Temptations — but I’m glad I know the music that came before me.

So I think that’s what I want to give The Hurricane. A working knowledge. I don’t pretend to be a music snob — I’ve been to four Poison and a (shudder) Creed concert for Christ sakes — and maybe she won’t like my music at all. But maybe, just maybe, she’ll be the kid in school who tells her friend to turn off Miley freakin’ Cyrus and listen to this mind-blowing shit from a band from the mid-80s called Guns ‘n Fuckin’ Roses.

That, to me, would be cool. Even if she swears, because sometimes the situation just calls for it.

Next up — Our Lady Peace. Then I Mother Earth. Then Nirvana. With GnR, Motley Crue, Poison, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and so many others to follow.

School’s in session, little one.

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5 Responses to Pearl Jam-ming with my daughter

  1. Curt says:

    I like your music idea Dwight, i am just shocked and thankful that you did not start with Poison or she would have never trusted your music selctions again.

  2. 1sttimedad says:

    Well Curt, as I’ve aged I’ve come to realize that maybe Poison isn’t the greatest band of all time, as I once believed. So, in the spirit of learning, I thought I’d introduce them slowly to Layne and let her decide what direction she wants to go …

  3. Eric says:

    Tag ur it!

    Visit my blog to find out why!

    -Eric

  4. Jason says:

    “My Dad made sure I had the proper musical education from a real young age. At four and five I was marching into record stores with him and rocking Boston, Journey, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, even Glass Tiger!”

  5. Vince says:

    This is a wicked project and a must, she can then join you in playing Rock Band!

    It is our responsibility to pass on such awesome music, lord knows the radio stations are doing an awful job of relaying any new good music.

    Some of my best memories of raising a kid were sing-alongs in the car to The Killers (1st album) and Gun n’ Roses (G n’ R Lies).

    Rock on pops!

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