My dad is the master of texting me when people die. More often than not it’s a celebrity, and he informs me bluntly, yet with a sympathetic concern as he knows that I deal with death in a strange and sensitive way. Even if I never personally knew the people. He won’t tell me that people are in the hospital unless he knows for certain they’re not coming back out, as he knows death affects me a bit differently than others.
I have what I myself consider a type of disconnect from people. It’s strange because I thought for so long that I wanted to feel connected to people, but now as an older version of my younger self, I see that it was more of the opposite. I claimed that no one understood me, but really it was more like I didn’t understand them and my ego kept me from even trying because time is energy and I’m drained of all that. So I put my faith and admiration to idols that I would never meet and never have to go through that “inevitable” disappointment with.
I blame my father for everything. I kid, but really it was partially his fault for giving me music. He didn’t create any, but he shared his collection with me. Not many 3-year-old kids know all the words to every song on Appetite for Destruction, but I sure did. I can’t thank him enough. It was these albums that helped me feel connected to the world. Maybe not Guns N’ Roses, specifically, but I remember wanting to listen to his Adam and the Ants records on repeat and that obviously left a mark.
As I got older, I branched out on my own into the eclectic realm of modern music. Nirvana Nevermind was my first CD (but for those keeping cred points, I did have Bleach on cassette), and it was bought after much persistence as my dad blames Kurt for the death of Hair Metal. He’s not wrong. I remember him saying “Music is supposed to be fun!” and I was like “Life is pain.” or something trite and full of spiteful angst.
At a certain point, we began to merge back to mutual appreciation of certain artists and albums. Soundgarden was one of them. I remember when he bought Superunkown and we would listen to it while doing homework (I was in grade school and Dad was finsihing his Bachelor’s) in the living room of our old duplex in Desert Hot Springs. I also learned about Kurt Cobain’s suicide in that duplex. Also got my first period there, too! Just some fun FYI.
When dad texted me this morning to let me know about Chris Cornell’s passing, I was instantly shook. Did not see that coming. And we exchanged some sad emojis, and we both agreed he was one of the best singers in rock history and an amazing performer (We both were able to see Soundgarden, but unfortunately not together). Later today while I was getting ready for my day listening to Soundgarden with the rest of the grungy goths of the world, I felt a small flutter of peace knowing how lucky I am to have a dad that knew how I felt. He was as bummed as me. He understood finding inspiration in Chris and being really sad that he was gone. There may be a lot of disadvantages for having teenage parents, but I’m grateful. My dad gets me. And he’s sad about Chris Cornell, too. And he was sad about Bowie, of course. And Prince. I don’t know if there’s a lot of people who can bond over the affect that rock stars have had on their life with their parents, but I think it’s pretty special that I can. I mean, at least my dad. My mom’s favorite KISS member is Peter Criss, and I think that says enough in itself.
For the record, my dad supported Audioslave as a band way before I did, so sometimes your dad does know what he’s talking about. But he also hates The Cure, so, you can’t always be right.