It's not sad to rock out with dad
by Kaitlyn Clarke and Carly Johnson
Staff Dad Defenders
This past weekend marked the 40th anniversary of legendary pioneering punk band, the Buzzcocks. Part of the initial wave of punk rock to come out of the U.K. in the 1970s, the Buzzcocks are akin to iconic bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash. Their indisputable legacy and pop sensibilities are responsible in part for the creation of other highly regarded musical groups like Hüsker Dü and Nirvana. In celebration of their anniversary, the Buzzcocks played a mind-blowing 3-hour long set at New York’s own Irving Plaza, and with the return of the band, brought the return of their fans, some of who have long since seen their heyday. When looking around the crowd, one could see that the audience was comprised of mostly older folk, with a few young adults scattered throughout; including an older man who dropped his glasses in the middle of the mosh pit and then proceeded to crawl around on the floor for 20 minutes looking for them using the flashlight on his phone (to no avail I might add). The lack of a more youthful audience at the concert got me thinking about what happened to the appreciation of classics by contemporary music listeners. It makes sense why the audience was predominantly populated by people who were alive during the height of the Buzzcocks’ career, though it still begs the question, how does today’s youth view music of the past? When asked this question, a particular individual, whose anonymity will be preserved due to fear of retaliation from angry dads, alluded to the idea that this music was “dad rock” and therefore inaccessible or unappealing. While this individual’s views are not necessarily indicative of an entire generation’s attitudes towards music of the past, the popularization of the term “dad rock” or “dad music” has made it apparent that the expression needs to be addressed.
In order to combat the negative stigma that accompanies the term “dad music,” one must first define it. The aforementioned individual broadly applied the term to music created before the 1980s, or in other words, music produced during the time when our generation’s parents were in their adolescence, more specifically the 1960’s and 70’s. This definition is problematic not only because it is lazy and unimaginative in its design, but also because it makes the assumption that only dads listen to this music suggesting that it has become irrelevant. Let’s begin by discussing the incorrect assumptions of the users of this terminology; the music of yesteryear is not only accessible, but also appreciated by individuals across the vast spectrum of age and experience. I have never failed to meet adolescents, young adults, as well as dads, who all enjoy artists ranging from Cheap Trick to Simon and Garfunkel to The Rolling Stones. This exemplifies the timeless nature of this genre of music, thus ascribing the listeners to only one generation is an under representation of the music’s breadth and grasp.
The ubiquitous presence of pre-1980’s music in today’s society demonstrates its relevancy rather than the lack thereof. Not only is it still enjoyed regularly, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was the 8th highest selling vinyl of 2015, and Led Zeppelin came in slots 15 and 16, but people who dismiss pre-’80’s music simply as “dad music” fail to recognize that we would not have modern music without it. A prime example of the past’s influence on present music is hugely popular neo-psychedelic rock band Tame Impala, whose latest release, Currents, received praise from critics and audience alike; founder and front-man, Kevin Parker, has cited the music of Pink Floyd as a major contributing factor to Tame Impala’s psychedelic sound. Or just think of the White Stripes; Jack White’s gritty and bluesy sound must give much credit to the likes of guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Jimi Hendrix, guitar legend, shattered conceptions of what it meant to play the guitar, forever altering the course of rock music and undoubtedly influencing musicians for generations to come. British punk, Palma Violets, the contemporary garage rock band all owe their entire sound to The Clash. On the same note, Saves have cited ‘70s rockabilly heroes The Cramps as an influence; the list of influential artists from this period goes on and on. So, even if you are opposed to listening to music that is more than 20 years old (although if you are, you’re an unseasoned listener and should fix the problem immediately), you are obligated to respect all it has done for today’s world, not only musically, but also socially and politically. “Dad music” is a vital aspect in the inception of today’s music scene and deserves to be recognized as such.