DARE TO ASK: Kid, you're listening to 'my' music
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
What do people think of teens listening to classic rock? My friends and I
like Led Zeppelin, and, for the most part, older adults comment positively.
However, we have encountered a few who've given us grief for liking "their"
Emily, 16, Toronto
Many of my peers don't understand why I enjoy the music my parents enjoy. And
a few adults think I'm attempting to give the impression of maturity. The
majority of adults, however, have no qualms about my tastes. I feel having a
common link with other generations provides an excellent way to maintain
J., 14, female, Jacksonville
Some old gas-bag telling you not to listen to "their" music is like a Slovak
telling you not to like holupki or an Englishman telling you not to like tea.
Tony, 51, Binghamton, N.Y.
I was in Burger King once wearing a Beatles T-shirt. The guy behind the
counter, in his mid-40s, looks at me condescendingly and says, "Aren't you a
little young to be listening to The Beatles?" I just laughed it off and thought,
"Aren't you a little old to be working behind the counter at Burger King?"
Kristen, 22, Buffalo, N.Y.
We'll let two classic rock lead guitarists do the talking to ease Emily's
concern about the uptight adults in her life.
First, Little Steven Van Zandt, he of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
and host of Little Steven's Underground Garage, which promotes old and new rock
'n' roll and airs locally on WFYV (104.5 FM):
"No. 1, it's hard to believe someone would even say that. She's hanging
around with the wrong adults," he said. "No. 2, the '50s and '60s and a brief
part of the '70s were basically our Renaissance Period and had the greatest
music ever made. It will resonate throughout our culture and inform our culture
for decades and perhaps longer, until new instruments are invented.
"She should tell those people they should be listening to new garage rock and
not be so close-minded. Rock 'n' roll transcends age groups, generations and
time. Rock 'n' roll is forever, and cool is forever, and it has nothing to do
with how old you are or what era you came out of."
Next, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick:
"Not every kid is being force-fed Britney Spears by radio programmers and
told it's good," he said. "Kids today, just 'cause they're supposed to like rap
and hip-hop or heavy metal or goth, well, if you don't like it, you don't have
to go with what people think. There's great hip-hop, great rap and great old
stuff, and there's crap hip-hop, crap rap and crap old stuff.
"Adults who say that to a kid must feel threatened. If someone likes
something, keep your mouth shut and let the music do the talking. Don't try to
forcefeed anybody. That would make me want to listen more, anyway. It's just
reverse psychology. So, yeah: Parents, tell your kids to quit listening to Cheap
Trick! Maybe they'll start to listen to us."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949,Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information.