23 OctI’m a Rockin’ Dad

 Old people aren’t what they used to be when I was a kid. Now we are cool. Back then old people watched Lawrence Welk which featured tap dancing and the lovely Champagne Lady singing what sounded like opera. I dreaded Saturday nights when my mother turned on that show. I suppose kids could call me old, now. But they can’t ever accuse me of listening to “old fashioned” music. I grew up during the advent of heavy metal and acid rock. Nothing the kids listen to today makes me blink an eye, although “Screamo” music makes me laugh. I suppose that is a sign of my age.

 It is sad to say, but growing up during an age of rebellion accompanied by a rock and roll soundtrack has not completely filled in the “gender gap” with my children. No matter what music I listened to growing up I am now a parent and father and have become suspect in my teenager’s eyes.

“No, I’m cool,” I say. “I understand teenagers!”

My kids raise an eyebrow and shake their heads. “You’re one of them,” they respond. “You’re an adult.”

One of my daughters has become a fan of a local band who, like all local bands, aspires to go somewhere in the music world. She went to one of their concerts with her cousin once and ever since has been in texting contact with one of the band members who keeps her informed of the bands activities. Having an underage daughter texting an older, married man bothered me. One day she calls me and tells me this band is going to be playing at The Venue in Salt Lake City. She wants me to take her and her friend to the concert.

“I’ll think about it,” I said, not wanting to go in spite of my “rocking” past.

“I’m not going to let this drop,” she said. I could tell she meant it and I knew right then I would be taking her.

On the day of the concert she came out of her room to show me her outfit. I had a hard time keeping my mouth from dropping open. She was wearing black boots, fishnet stockings, a short skirt (not too short, though), had her hair punked out, and had designs drawn on her face. Who was this girl? It certainly wasn’t my sweet, little daughter. She went off to show her mother and I thought hard and fast about what to do here. Her dress would lead to bad behavior, wouldn’t it. I needed to demand she change her clothes into something more appropriate to my little girl. Of course demanding this would go very badly. But then I remembered something. When my daughter came back in I said, “That is a good-looking costume.”

She twirled once happily and said, “Thank you.”

Ah, it was a Halloween costume! I had remembered she said this was a costume concert. Her dress being a costume made me feel so much better.

We arrive early and had to wait outside. It was mid-afternoon, a strange time for a concert and there was hardly anyone there. Suddenly a young fellow, maybe 22, came up to Autumn with tickets in his hands. His face was painted like a skeleton—his costume. My daughter had told me that the lead man in the band would be bringing us tickets at a lower price. So this was the “pervert” who had been texting my daughter. I stared at him and got really nice vibes. He was friendly and gave no perverted signals at all. I started to understand. His texting my daughter was just him promoting his band. He was sure to be texting anyone who showed the slightest interest in his music. I found myself liking him. A moment later this little gal dressed as Robin (of Batman fame) came out after the sound check and headed to her supply vehicle. My daughter called to her by name and she turned around.

“Oh, hi,” she said excitedly, calling my daughter by name. “Your costume looks great!”

I learned that this was the lead singer of the band, a high school drama teacher, and the wife of the man who just brought us our tickets. She was very personable and I began to like her too. By the way, she has a great voice.

There concert started soon after. As I mentioned, there was hardly anyone there, maybe ten people. It’s too bad, because this band was pretty good. Just bad timing, I think. The band played as if they were in front of a screaming crowd anyway. They had great energy and I enjoyed them. I watched my daughter and her friend dance and have a good time. Afterwards, my daughter mingled with the band members and helped them get their equipment back out to their van. They treated her very nicely. I got a bad, mobile phone picture of the lead singer with my daughter and her friend.

One more thing happened worth mentioning. The next band set up and started playing while my daughter was helping the other band pack up. There were even fewer people to hear them. Except for one of their mothers they were playing to a nearly empty house. The Venue brings in some pretty good bands at time, so for a local no-name to get to play there is an opportunity. Clearly this opportunity had not panned out the way this second band had hoped. I could see the disappointment on the lead singer’s face as he played and sang. He was just going through the motions and wanted to leave as soon as possible. Being an artist who is trying to make himself known (as a writer) I understood how great his disappointment was.

They were on the last half of their last song when my daughter came back in. Without looking at the band she drifted up to the stage and started dancing to their music. I saw as the lead singers eyes fell on her. I saw the disappointment on his face fade away and he actually smiled a very pleasant smile. No, it wasn’t a screaming crowd, but there was a girl who wasn’t his mom or his sister out there enjoying his music. By her free and happy nature my daughter had made his experience there not so dismal.

I don’t know that my daughter and I bonded or anything through this experience. I do know I came to understand her a little better. I know I had a great time and this will be a good memory in my life.

About Tory C Anderson

Tory C Anderson is the father and Dad of eight children. He has been employed in telecommunication and computer technology for 25 years. Like most men, Tory has many plans for his life, but he has found that his family has been taking up most of the space. He feels no regrets. Tory's latest Young Adult novel, Joey and the Magic Map is out. You can read more about it here: http://www.ToryCAnderson.com

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  • Cory

    This was a beautifully written blog post, filled with insights. I enjoyed the experience proxy and my heart goes out to the bands and that little dancing girl.

  • TSA

    I enjoyed that very much 🙂

  • http://TimStakland.com Tim

    Thanks for sharing. The other day my wife and I found ourselves reminiscing about how the music of our teenage years was so much better than what’s on the radio today. Then we realized that we’re those people now, old adults who go on about how much better things were when “we were your age”. Your post reminded me that living in the moment requires a good deal of openness to others.