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THE PENCOPAL PROJECT

2004-04-02 - 10:32 a.m.

This morning the Today show did a cutting-edge piece on our generation: We like classic rock! We dig Led Zeppelin, the Doors, and Queen. Who knew? We like Jet because the band reminds us of classic rock (let’s not mention how utterly awful they are in concert). There’s nothing like stating the obvious. It was like watching a breaking news piece detailing Bush’s hatchet job on our country’s economy.

I’d rather see a segment on what happens when you find our your parents are cool. Some people are already aware. My boyfriend started borrowing his Dad’s Led Zep, War, and Hendrix albums in his early teens. We went to a Petty/Dylan show with him last summer and got so trashed he still makes jokes about it. He always refers to that crazy night with a twinkle in his eye.

But my Dad knew who 50 Cent was before I did. He’d call me up at work, playing “Wangsta” without identifying himself first. Musically, we seemed to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. When I was in college, listening to more rap than P. Diddy's umbrella-wielding manservant, he scolded me for thinking that rap equaled black. When got back into rock and roll, he was singing the latest Westside Connection song. But now, we’ve met in the middle.

I’ll never forget the look on my Dad’s face that day he thought he’d school me, so he slid in a mixed CD.

The strings began and I immediately knew the song. My Dad’s eyes were on the road, but he looked at me from the corner of his eye to gauge my reaction.

“Ground control to Major Tom,” I sang alongside Bowie. We both burst out laughing.

“When we were teenagers, my friend Rick and I used to smoke joints and listen to this over and over. What the hell do you know about this song?”

I wiggled my eyebrows at him. “What do you know about it? I thought you were strung out on G-Unit.”

The disc included music from Pearl Jam, Traffic, INXS, more Bowie, and Led Zeppelin. (It made sense now when he’d called me up one day, asking, “What song starts off, ‘There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold.’”) The fact that he appreciated some of the music I held dear made me feel closer to him. I wanted to tell him about the first time I heard Van Halen’s “Jump,” how it stirred something up in me that I didn’t quite understand. I wanted to share with him that 10-year-old girl’s love for Aerosmith’s “Angel” and how those opening chords could bring me to tears. (I knew, I fucking KNEW Stephen Tyler was singing directly to me.)

But I didn’t want to hurl my obsession with rock and roll at him like a giant bowling ball. We were so in the moment, I didn’t want to ruin it.

“Hey, can you turn that up?” I asked. I leaned back in my seat and let the music wash over me.

 

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