Mar 022011

My teenage son has great taste in music—and I’m not just saying this because much of his tastes mirror his old man’s. However, as he just reminded me the other day, he still thinks Captain Beefheart is the worst rock ‘n roll artist he’s ever heard, even worse than all the stuff he is correct in feeling sucks. These occasional exchanges over his not liking Beefheart give me the opportunity to sagely nod my head and give him a “You’ll see…” talk. Isn’t it better he first hears one of these dismissive “You’ll see…” talks from his own father before he gets them from older guys in high school?

“You’ll see…” I knowingly spoke down to him, “you’ve got good taste. You’ll thank me some day.”

And I believe he will. (I’ve got nothing more to say, on the other hand, to those of you who still don’t get Beefheart.)

What artist whose music you love is least likely to appeal to teens who will one day know better?


  29 Responses to “You’ll See: Least Likely Rock Artists to Whom Teens Might Relate”

  1. saturnismine

    has the kid heard “zig zag wanderer” yet? I like your “all in good time” approach, but that tune might bring a swifter arrival of appreciation than any other I can think of.

    hmmm…least teen-inspiring rocker?

    what a challenging question, with nothing but responses that are subject to challenges.

    i’m gonna say dylan.

  2. When my niece was around 5, I made a CD mix of stuff (mostly to annoy her mother) filled with music that never made it to commercial radio to gauge what a five year old would think of the material. I put Abba Zabba on the CD and it became Autumn’s favorite song. She would go around singing it to her friends. I need to find the pictures she drew of who she imagined this Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band to be and share them.

    In terms of the question posed? any number of my prog rock indulgences

  3. BigSteve

    Leonard Cohen. And I’m still not old enough to dig Frank Sinatra.

  4. I’m not concerned with Safe as Milk Beefheart, even hyper-reasonable rock scientists like Andyr dig that stuff.

  5. I never appreciated Dylan when I was a kid. Ah, but I’m younger than that now.


  6. Devo?

    Steely Dan?

    Peter Gabriel Era Genesis?

    I was way more accepting of unusual musical styles when I was younger.

    I did not like REM, the Smiths or U2 until I was 18 or 19 (and by then most thought that they had all sold out)

  7. My favorite band when I was a kid was ELO. I had no idea what they looked like and imagined it was one guy who played a giant magic piano/orchestra with foot pedals and horns sticking out of it. I wasn’t too far off.

  8. Agreed on the Steely Dan comment, I hated them for a long time, until I got into Fagen’s Nightfly — then I started to understand. I didn’t really listen to any female artists (or female fronted bands) as a teenybopper, which is kind of weird, now that I think about it.

    There is no way I would have listened to Gram Parsons, Wilco, or really any alt-country or Joni Mitchell-type folks back then.

    My gateway drug to The Clash was Train in Vain. I’m not sure I would have bought London Calling at the time without that song — and it became one of my favorite records of all time.

  9. My own tastes kinda went weird.

    As a really young kid, I was into all the flashy stuff. I dug Kiss because of the make-up. Music had little to do with it, even though I still like those records as more a reminder of my youth.

    Then it was the post-punk new wavey stuff like Blondie, The Cars, and the like.

    By the late 80s (and junior high) I was into AC/DC and hard rock. By the time I reached high school it was Metallica. That’s about as HEAVY as I got. Somewhere in there, I also got into R.E.M. It was my inner hipster trying to escape.

    By early high school, I finally discovered The Beatles. Then, in a weird twist, I moved to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. I don’t know if it was band or a direct assault on the popular trends, but I sure loved some musicals. I now lovingly call it my “gay period.”

    By college (my “music major period”), I had moved to modern stuff. If it was dissonant, then it was for me. Zappa, jazz, and Beefheart.

    After college, I toned it down and just let myself appreciate a simple pop tune. I broadened my tastes and rediscovered all the previous stuff I loved and found all kinds of new things I dug too.


  10. I still don’t get Scott Walker

  11. machinery

    Pere Ubu.

  12. saturnismine

    well…that’s my point. has he heard that stuff? i *get* that it’s not rife with the same stuff that makes beefheart the object of your son’s derision. but there is other stuff on that album that comes closer to that style. it could be a ‘gateway drug’ as is described below regarding ‘train in vain.’

  13. shawnkilroy

    are younger audiences gonna turn on to Sonic Youth, or was it too “of it’s time”?

  14. ladymisskirroyale

    My first thought was Tom Waits. I think that “the young folk” like more accessible voices.

  15. ladymisskirroyale

    On a side note, my book group recently read “The Catcher in the Rye,” a book I found very notable as a teen, but when I re-read it I had a very different reaction (from “Yeah, Holden, you tell them!” to “Holden, you are a sad, miserable guy and I feel for you.”) We all agreed that teens today would probably not resonate as much with the book.

  16. As a teenager, I loved Dylan, but did not like The Band at all (or the Basement Tapes). Not sure if that makes sense. Now I love both Dylan and The Band.

  17. 2000 Man

    My youngest is 22 and he has always loved Tom Waits. I have Small Change on vinyl, and I bought it when I was in high school. The kid told me years ago that when I die, that first pressing Small change is HIS! I’ll probably give it to him well before then, because as I’ve gotten older, I find Tom less interesting. I think Tom has a particular cool that appeals to teenage boys.

  18. I’m with you on that book, ladymiss, although I wasn’t quite as behind Holden even when I was young, but much more so than I would be today. I’m sure there are other teenage rebels I was more into who haven’t aged as well with my super-adult self.

  19. I wish E. Pluribus Gergely would show the growth you have, Hank Fan. He still dislikes The Band while loving Dylan.

  20. Last night my 13-year-old son realized he had a bunch of unused iTunes gift cards sitting around, so he downloaded about 200 songs by Dean Martin, The Ink Spots (his current favorite group), The Mills Brothers, and Frank Sinatra.

    I tell ya, kidz these days!

  21. 2000 Man

    I still like a lot of the music I liked as a kid. I loved Steely Dan, and I still do, but then everyone loved them back then. My kids thought they sucked, but they both listen to them now and I’ve heard them almost go to the mat for some of their stuff with their friends. But my kids liked Rock music and really mostly avoided rap. Some of their friends are hyper allergic to guitars, I think. But I have a feeling that while my kids seem to have whatever blip of DNA that makes you like music forever nurtured correctly, their friends that grew up with the rap and whatever are tomorrow’s adult country fans that don’t buy music or ever see shows.

  22. 2000 Man

    Wow! Your kid is older than me!

  23. misterioso

    Mostly, Mod, I think you should tip your hat to the kid for being smart enough not to fall for the whole Beefheart jive and hope he retains his good sense as he gets older.

  24. saturnismine

    no *way* man…embrace the jive!

  25. My kids love almost anything I play on the stereo except Tangerine Dream, which just FREAKS THEM OUT.

  26. shawnkilroy

    even Rubicon?

  27. Well I am a teenager and like a lot of the bands listed (Devo, Sonic Youth, Dylan.) I think most teenagers I know that are into punk music do not listen to any of the bands that started the movement. I often encounter teenagers who think Blink-182 is a punk band and I want to cry. They go to Warped Tour and think it is very hardcore but then are uninspired by bands like Circle Jerks, X, Flipper, etc…

    I just really, REALLY want adults (and by adults I mean my father) to stop telling me to listen to Miles Davis. Or, any jazz. Boring!

  28. Welcome aboard, hazel! You are doing good work among your peers, from what you say. You tell that that dad of yours to lay off the forcefeeding of jazz. At your age I also thought that stuff was the musical equivalent of spinach (although I liked spinach by that point when it was sauteed in garlic and oil, but you know what I mean).

  29. BigSteve

    Instead of telling her to listen to Miles, what if dad just smiled sagely and told hazel “Someday you’ll understand jazz, and ultimately Miles, but you’re too young now.” Wouldn’t that be more annoying?

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