11 things parents just don’t understand about your music (and how to explain them)
The battle over music between the young and the old is nothing new. And even though we’re far removed from the late ’50s when rock ’n’ roll was considered “the devil’s music” and Elvis’ hip-shaking was downright sinful, music—whether it be punk rock, hardcore or metal—still causes some parents to raise an eyebrow. Here are 11 questions your parents probably have about your music—and the responses you can give them so they better understand this part of your life. You may be tempted to roll your eyes and proclaim, “Mom and Dad, you just don’t get it,” but you might want to take our advice. After all, Warped Tour is only a few months away, and it will be much easier to get an extra $20 out of your parents if you reassure them you aren’t going to some pot-smoking, mud-throwing lovefest.
What's with all the makeup? He’s such a handsome young man. Why does he want to cover up his face? Does he have an acne problem? Rosacea? Eczema?
As a wee Skrillex once sang, “I refuse to meet the world without smearing on makeup/With my hair blinding my eyes.” In From First To Last’s “Waltz Moore,” he admitted his makeup wearing was a cry for help from a lack of self-confidence, but that’s the extreme. Most people just do it because it looks cool or it adheres to an image and environment they want to create with their music. Even so, most top performers wear at least a little bit of makeup onstage so that their features are not washed-out by the harsh lighting.
Why is your music so loud? If you don’t turn it down, you’re going to go deaf by the time you’re 30.
Explain to your parents, “Plugged-in music was an artistic innovation when Bob Dylan did it way back in the ’60s. I’m just fully appreciating the advancement of recording technologies that allow me to listen to music this loud without blowing out the speakers.”
Why is he screaming? Is he angry? What's the point of singing if you can't understand what the person is actually saying?
Politely offering your mother or father a lyric booklet can be a good move when faced with this question (“see, he is saying words!”)–that is, if the artist’s lyrics are parent friendly. That won’t always be the case, so you can take the educational approach. Explain guttural vocalizations. Growls, screams, squeals and grunts are a practiced talent. Developing a screaming technique that doesn’t shred one’s vocal cords is an acquired skill (and taste, for most). Those who practice it don’t have naturally demonic-sounding voices, but have trained themselves to make those sounds. “Isn’t it cool that the human body can do that, Ma?” Show them a video of the same vocalist talking (about nice things–and smiling, preferably). That should quell any concerns that they aren’t human.
What is the Warp Tour? There are going to be drugs, alcohol and promiscuous teenagers there. Don’t you lie to me, young lady! I know things! I remember Woodstock!
Vans Warped Tour is a long-running touring music festival that, unlike most of the fests that set up shop in one location for a few days, doesn’t give you time to fill your day with debauchery; you’ll be too busy running from stage to stage catching all your favorite bands. There are going to be people doing things that are “morally questionable” to parents no matter where you go, but with security measures taken by both the tour and the venues, the “threat” is lessened greatly at Warped. Point out the philanthropic nature of Warped Tour by telling your folks about the many nonprofits that have been represented on the tour (Keep A Breast, Feed Our Children Now!, Music Saves Lives). Tell your parents you want to donate canned goods there. When they see the good Warped focuses on, they’re likely to realize, “Oh, my kid isn’t going to WarpYerBrainDrugFest.” And if they’re still super-concerned, it has been Warped policy in the past to let parents in for free. They have a Reverse Daycare area where your ’rents can sit in the shade while you run free.
Who is this Kellin Austin Radke person you talk about all the time?
On second thought, you might not want to explain Ronnie Radke to your parents if they’re worried about the music you listen to. “He’s a, um, father. Yeah, he has a daughter. Neat, huh?” Eek. >>>