My daughter has an obsession. She draws religiously and is constantly looking up new things to draw (or inspire her art). Normally it is with headphones clamped over her ears. It has been like this for a couple of years now.
There was a long period she wore the headphones around her neck when not in use…kind of like a necklace. She listened to the basic radio Pop music. I didn’t mind, although there was a period where she was into Justin Beiber. We both refer to those as the dark times.
I made her listen to all sorts of random songs and artists on my playlist over the years. Kings of Leon. The Kills. Empire of the Sun. E-40. Capital Cities. U2. Killswitch Engage. You name it, and i have probably forced her to listen to it. She was pretty open to a lot of musical types.
She turns fourteen this week. So, that means many things. The countdown to her hating the music I listen to AND the countdown to me turning into an angsty father.
I can’t remember what songs I had in heavy rotation when i was fourteen. It was 1992…too long ago to remember exactly. I do know i had become obsessed with a Sunday night radio show that ran for 2 hours. I had to record on cassette tape to capture all the songs. It was the early days of alternative, or indie music (back then called college rock).
Regardless, I was thinking about my daughter’s favorite band, Gorillaz, the virtual band that took everyone by surprise in 1998. The front man behind it, Damon Alban, was somewhat familiar to me because he was the lead singer for a college rock band called Blur. My daughter enjoys the music, the art & the back story of the fictional band.
I realized last week after she was telling me about the characters and their backgrounds, that Gorillaz has always been a thing.
When my daughter was about 9 months old her mother & I broke up. It meant a lot more driving time back and forth for visitation. I always played either my Killers Hot Fuss CD, or Gorillaz‘ Demon Days album. I was obsessed with the song Feel Good Inc. Plus, the baby didn’t throw a fit when i played either.
So for about a year I played the CD on regular rotation with her in a car seat. After a while, I moved on to other songs & CDs.
Yet, here I am 13 years later and my daughter loves Gorillaz, and it makes me smile.
During a time of life where it can be rough connecting with your teenager (or parent, for you teenagers) I realized that somehow through all of our ups & downs we were connected. That my baby riding in a car seat was still in this grown person…with headphones wrapped around her neck furiously drawing characters with a style and back history like the Gorillaz.
So now it isn’t just her favorite band… it’s ours.