Iron Maiden was my introduction to heavy metal. I was in high school at the time and thought very little of the genre, although I’d never really listened to enough of it to form an educated opinion. But once I was introduced, I listened to “Piece of Mind” over, and over, and over on my Walkman. Not only was it a solid album, which I used as inspiration for many RPG adventures, but while it wasn’t technically a musically themed album, it was themed in content. Since then, I’ve gone in and out of metal phases, albeit not straying very far from my personal preference of a few sub-genres. But that may need to change.
At an early age, my exposure to music was limited to very few artists and genres, yet was very influential in terms of my artistic development. As I gained the means to broaden my musical horizon, I dove headlong into indie bands, scouring used record stores for vinyl, and became passionate about the art of mix-tape making. Eventually, as many of my passions do, the fire for doing such things faded, but my appreciation of the music itself never did, though I still go through waves of exploration when it comes to bands that are new to me, or new albums by bands I haven’t listed to in ages. Then one day, a couple of years ago, I realized that I wanted to encourage the same type of musical appreciation in my son. I felt I would be remiss as a dad if I didn’t do my best to support a variety of musical exposure. I knew that he listened to pop and country genres on the radio, but I felt it was time that he was finally introduced to the harder side of rock.
And thus I began his met-ucation.
It started generically enough, which for him was the way to go. Radio. Songs popular enough to be more broadly acceptable. From there I started targeting specific bands – Avenged Sevenfold, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Disturbed, Volbeat… and this is where I’m going to digress before I get to the climax of the story. For a while, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to write a particular opinion of mine, and after having discarded several drafts I’m just going to come out with it: I love Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail to the King.” As mainstream as it may be, it is a rock solid album with tunes that elicit likenesses to Metallica or Guns ‘n’ Roses. I can’t get enough of it.
Wait for it…
And neither can my son. “Rock” has become his favorite genre. He makes requests for it all of the time. He loves the movie “School of Rock.” He came up with his own band name and logo. He’s written lyrics. All of which means I’ve got my work cut out for me if I want to continue attempting to truly broaden his appreciation of the genre and its sub-genres. There are just so many.
Especially when you count all of the bands that so many people have never heard of. Now, I’m fighting the urge to only expose him to the categories that I enjoy, which largely consist of nu-metal, symphonic metal, and a large amount of good old “heavy” metal. You know, the stuff from before the days of classification, and which morphed into everything we have today. This means that I’m probably going to end up at least listening to a bunch of music that I’ve already got the pre-conceived notion that I won’t like. So I figure, since I’m already completely unfamiliar with those groups, why not start out with the lesser known names?
This is the part where I give a shout out to the guy who, before A7X came into my life, held the title of my favorite metal artist. That would be Ryan Boc of Sequester. Never heard of Sequester? I’m not surprised. Ryan is the band. He plays every guitar, the drums, sings the vocals, and mixes all of his tracks. And he still manages to put out albums at about the same frequency of bands who have a team of people to do the same amount of work. In short, Ryan is the man. Not the bad man that Dewey Finn tirades about, but the good man. The kind who leads you down the path that rocks.
I have to day, I’m looking forward to this journey, especially since mini-me and I will be taking the ride together.
What passions have you tried to share with others, that re-invigorated your own?