Monday, July 11, 2011

the moral dilemma of Jackson Browne.

i was little
and I’d go into my dad’s office
he’d be listening to jackson browne
and he would ask me about my day.

it's one of the soundtracks to my childhood
and older people with excellent taste
often ask me where i heard of these bands
the t. rex and the steely dan and the (early) rod stewart
and it’s all just because of dad.

mom would give him intermittent guff for listening to jackson browne.
“the guy beats his wife,” she said. “shouldn’t support him.”
dad acknowledge the point, but listened anyway.
“andy,” she said, “don’t listen to men who beat their wives.”
and for a while, i didn’t.

so
that meant no jackson browne
and no who (i'm pretty sure I once heard that keith moon was a beater)
and no zeppelin (they did horrible things to groupies on tour)
and no johnny cash
and no ike turner
and no rolling stones (mick and keef always were complete bastards)
and no george jones
(and no roman polanski movies, for that matter).

sometimes it felt like there was no one left.
david bowie, maybe
the soundtrack to the muppet movie
tom waits (co-writes the vast majority of his tunes with his loving wife, kathleen)
and queen’s greatest hits (brian may is a reputable husband/father)
but i tried to make off-limits
all those guys too drugged up to hit anything but a bottle.

but eventually i started listening to more obscure people
dave alvin and john doe and lyle lovett and greg dulli
people whose biographical information wasn’t cultural lexicon

and sometimes i pretend
that it’s just because classic rock is passé,
beaten into the ground by years of Ten Straight Hits Drive-Time marathons

but sometimes i wonder
if it’s to keep my conscience clean.

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