It may shock or even disappoint you, but I was not hatched from some speckled owl egg in the middle of winter. I was raised by two compassionate Christians who have always believed that to be truly happy in this world you had to make family and friends your priority, always be a good neighbor, encourage creativity even when you don’t understand it, and cheer for perpetually losing sports teams.
In honor of their 35th wedding anniversary I am posting this interview with my parents that I conducted about a month ago in a Friendly’s restaurant. Read ahead to discover my questionable middle school music taste, my mom’s Earth Crisis impression, and my very first CD:
Son: When was the first time you remember me being into heavy music?
Mom: Probably when we moved when you were in middle school. I noticed that the most.
Son: Do you remember any of the bands I was into at that time?
Son: That’s true.
Dad: Hootie and the Blowfish.
Mom: Cannibal Corpse. When did you like Cannibal Corpse?
Son: That was when I got really into it, yeah. Junior high.
Mom: When was Bryan Adams?
Dad: Aren’t you glad you’re recording this?
Mom: Pearl Jam too. But I do remember Cannibal Corpse.
Sean: Yeah when I got into Cannibal Corpse that was some intense stuff. Was there a time you were nervous about me liking that type of music?
Mom: I don’t think I was nervous about the music, but I remember going into to try to find a CD for you and trying to filter out by title if we should get it for you. And I brought one home and you said, “Really Mom? This is worse than the one with the Parental Advisory sticker.”
(Editor’s Note: This is describing her purchase of Tool’s Aenima over Rage Against the Machine’s Evil Empire album.)
Mom: But I wasn’t scared so much, because I couldn’t understand the words. *Laughs* The music didn’t make me that nervous though, no.
Dad: I was raised on some hard rock so no, I wasn’t nervous. The only time I remember, is there was one band that wrote about the police. About violence towards the police.
Sean: Do you mean the band Body Count? With Ice-T?
Dad: Yeah, I think that’s the one. The rapper.
Sean: They had the song “Cop Killer” that was pretty controversial.
Dad: And now he plays a cop. *Laughs*
Mom: I think I remember other parents being impressed that I knew some of the bands you listen to, because they had no idea what their kids were into. And I’d list off the bands for them, and I’d get a laugh out of some of the names, like “Blood Somethingness” or “Zombie That.”
Sean: Blood Somethingness? *Laughs*
Mom: It always had “blood” in it!
Sean: And when I started playing in a band you were really supportive. What were your thoughts on me playing in a heavy band?
Mom: I actually really liked it, it felt like a connection. I wouldn’t call us groupies, but--
Dad: It was a social group.
Mom: It was like a bonding experience, and I liked the fact that you were into music. I think that music throughout your life--
(At this point a Waitress my parents have known for a decade approaches to the table.)
Waitress: (To my Mom) I was just thinking about you the other day, I pulled a book out the other day and there was a sketch you did in it with the teddy bear family, and I was like aww.
Dad: How are the kids doing?
Waitress: They’re getting so big, it’s ridiculous. I took them to the Children’s Museum out in Boston this weekend, because of Spring Break, and they were in the bubble room. My five month old’s blowing bubbles and just starts squealing, he loves it so much.
Dad: Loves the bubbles.
Waitress: I gotta run, but talk to you later!
(The Waitress departs.)
Son: Awesome. *Laughs*
Mom: But I think music carries through, you always have the music and the connection with the people you made music with. Like you writing for this magazine now, I think your love for music lead to that. And we would sit in the back with the other parents and cheer you on. Those were fond times.
Son: And as far as having a group of friends who were into that stuff, Dad were you ever nervous about the kids playing metal?
Dad: None of the guys you played with, no. And you gotta remember, I grew up with Alice Cooper. You watch Alice Cooper and he had quite a reputation.
Mom: I think you have to look beyond the music. You couldn’t have a nicer group of friends at that time. They were good guys and the music style doesn’t necessarily determine personality.
Son: And did you ever hear a song that was too much for you, like you didn’t even know if it was music?
(At this point a Waiter delivers our food. When he’s out of hearing distance my Mom continues.)
Mom: Some of them sounded like *Does Earth Crisis growl impersonation and laughs* I think i walked in one time and I said, “Whoa, I don’t even know what that all is.” But my parents used to walk in when I was playing the Beatles and the Stones and they’d say, “That’s music?” And I swore I wasn’t going to be one of those parents who would do that because I didn’t want to be judgemental.
Dad: Those times with your bands were great times, we enjoyed that. You guys went through a lot of garbage after Columbine and you were tough through it, and I always respected that.
Son: And do you guys remember the first CD you got me?
Mom: I remember the CD player, not the CD.
Son: It was Queen. A Night at the Opera.
Son: Too late, Dad.