Days of Lore
Got my indie genes on
Ten, maybe 15 years ago, I might have been called an Indie Rocker. I wore thrift-store clothes, Doc Martens, worked in a record store, and I rarely let Pavement, Sebadoh or Sonic Youth leave my CD player. Many have generalized the Indie Rocker as a music-obsessed smarty-pants breed that may or may not have known something the masses did not.
Now, I am happy to report, after many years of holding the singular status of the aging-Indie Rocker/School Teacher, I have crossed over to another realm, one that is impossible for any right-minded citizen to discriminate against: that of the Indie Rock Dad. As we speak, the sweetest 9-pound bundle is spitting up a clear-milky mess all over my Merge Records tee. Weird thing is, I love it!
Come over to the apartment and you’ll see about a thousand CDs on the bookshelves, and stacks of underground rock magazines covering the coffee tables. And, strewn about the house is a new brand of media—books such as What to Expect When You Are Expecting, The Baby Book, and From the Hips: A Comprehensive Guide to Pregnancy and Becoming a Parent—competing with volumes of Lester Bangs’ critical pieces and the odd Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Bob Dylan biography. I guess the conclusive evidence here would be that babies and rock ‘n’ roll music matter most in our house.
I love this idea when I think back to Alfonso Cuarón’s film Children of Men conveying the message that what society sees in children is hope. It’s a beautiful thought connecting the two—as children and rock ‘n’ roll are both synonymous with hope.
My life as a hand grenade
Becoming a father means many things as all fathers can attest to: sleepless nights, hungry cries, laughing, watching and diapers whose delectable color spectrum ranges from green to brown to seedy mustard. All of it is an experience that is a bit foreign, humbling and wildly wonderful.
I would say, though, that having a child is an occasion to make yet another mix tape.
Months before our due date, I was masterminding several ongoing mixes for the big day (in between ordering infant Sub-Pop and Shins onesies online). When the time came, however, these iPod mixes would be made to wait. My wife and I were much too caught up in the moment to bother putting music on.
Thankfully, our midwife chose a couple of CDs from our home stack to play: Nick Drake (talented English folkie who committed suicide), Elliott Smith (talented American punk folkie who committed suicide), and Catpower (talented singer-songwriter who some fear may commit suicide). Our son was preparing to enter the world with some pretty, albeit somber, music to guide him.
Perhaps there is no greater event from which to learn the power and patience of the opposite sex than the birthing experience. Men could in no way endure the pain of childbirth. Our midwife, upon the delivery of our son, espoused the vagina’s bewildering resiliency by quoting her friend, who so delicately put it: “A grenade could go off in there, and still everything would be OK!”
Funny thing is, during the delivery, time was no longer something I tracked. I barely remember hearing anything at all. I felt my vision lose all items to the periphery when my son was born. His tiny figure somehow eclipsed the hospital lights, and became all, and everything, I saw.
Whatever I have been, and whatever I will become—student, band member, record-store employee, school teacher—nothing could have prepared me for my most important role as that of Dad.
I can’t wait to share my music collection with my one and only son. There are so many bands I want him to hear.