Rock-n-Rollers, now with strollers

23 Mar

Lord knows parents have plenty to worry about. Here’s one fear that seems to be on a lot of our Gen X and Y minds: how can we ensure our children will share our exceptionally good taste in rock music without them swearing like teeny-tiny Osbournes or whining about getting them full-sleeve tattoos for the first day of kindergarten?

Rockabye-Baby-NINClearly, manufacturers are happy to help ease our troubled minds. There are hundreds of baby items with rock flair: onesies with AC/DC logos silkscreened on their tiny chests; “Born to Rock” bibs; booties decorated with Fender Stratocasters in pastel colors. Then there is Rockabye Baby!, a CD series transforming rock songs from everyone from Coldplay to the Ramones into tinkling lullabies. I can only imagine when the babies grow up to be old enough to listen to unfiltered rock-and-roll, and they wonder who the hell is doing that noisy cover of that nice nursery rhyme, “Welcome to the Jungle.”

But angst over balancing rock’s musical legacy with parenthood goes the other direction as well for many rock musicians as they ask themselves, how can they raise kids and stay true to the music they love?

A few weeks ago I got around to seeing the 2011 documentary, The Other F Word, featuring interviews with kings of the West Coast punk rock  scene, from Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, about their unique and optically bizarre position as role models for their fans as well as their children. It is much more than helping their daughters pick the prettiest skulls-and-hearts skirt to wear to daycare before rehearsal. The vast majority of these guys are driven by a desire to being the fathers they never had: attentive, affectionate and present. They have to tour regularly, taking them away from their families for weeks at a time so they scream about anarchy and adolescence at their concerts. Plus, they are still trying to make a living in a genre that is defined by teenage male anger and rebellion, now that their own youth is decades in the past and their personal priorities have done a 180. If you haven’t seen this film, find it; it’s worth it just to see Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen, facial tattoos and leopard-spot hair and all, playing with his toddler at a San Francisco playground.

Bestest Concert EverThis weekend, I got another glimpse of how punk parents are helping us all raise the next generation of headbangers. My younger daughter and I met our cousins and their four-year-old girl in Royal Oak for the 3rd annual Bestest Concert Ever!, a fundraiser for the local high school band program. Playing for the playdate crowd was Candy Band, made up of four punk musicians who didn’t want to give up their guitars or give over to the Wiggles when they became moms. They turned their considerable talents to nursery rhymes and kid-friendly scream-alongs. (My favorite was a mash-up of Green Day’s “Brain Stew” with “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.”)

Headlining the gig was Amy Gore and Her Valentines, who my cousins knew from her days leading the Detroit garage band Gore Gore Girls. In her current outfit she has scored kudos from Little Steven himself, who named their song “Send Me A Postcard” his COOLEST SONG IN THE WORLD on an episode of his Sirius radio show.

I’m guessing this was not her typical gig. Rocking a leather catsuit and a gorgeous white guitar, Ms. Gore looked out to the kids at the lip of the stage and said, “This is the cutest crowd I’ve ever played for. You’re killing me with cute here.” Were they ever. A pair of identical twin boys with Spider-Man face paint were enjoying their own mosh pit of two, throwing fake punches and wrestling each other to the beat. A young couple – probably the pride of the second grade – were attempting to ballroom dance to the strains of “Good Girls Don’t.” And there was our little cousin, with purple temporary hair dye and Ziggy Stardust face paint, grooving to the music.

As the punks of a previous generation once said, “The Kids Are Alright.”

See you on the flip side …

P.S. Thanks to the many of you who have found a spot for my novel, Love and Other B-Sides, on your e-readers. If you have a sec, how about adding your review? And if you haven’t gotten your copy, drop on by Amazon and download it today!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Sixty Something

Observations, insights, hindsight, and forward thinking


This world's so mixed up everywhere you go


"No dress rehearsal, this is our life."

No Rhyme Or Reason

Positive/Thought Provoking Essays on One Fan's Love of Music

LeBrain's Record Store Tales & Reviews


"to be average scares the hell out of me"

Every Hit Song Ever...from A to Z!

Talk about.........Pop Music!

All You Need Is The Beatles

(Not just about The Beatles!)

Publication Coach

& Gray-Grant Communications

The Immortal Jukebox

A Blog about Music and Popular Culture


Specializing in Liaison and Social Media Management for Independent Musicians.

Television Blues

A new online music channel

Mixed Tape Masterpiece

an ode to the songs (and radio stations) that shaped my life

Cave of Fame

Digging through relics while becoming one myself

My Effin Life

It's not profane, it's my life.

High Noon

Celebrating how rock music sends us, saves us, and shows us our true selves—one single at a time

%d bloggers like this: