In honor of Father's Day, this week we're going to take a look at God's gift to dads - dadrock.
Daryl 'Freaking' Hall is too soulful to qualify as dadrock.
Not to be confused with classic rock, dadrock is a very special niche of music. Dadrock is about the spirit of the '70s: The youthful exuberance of El Caminos, shitty weed, and Miller High Life. To put it most concisely, dadrock is the music dads listen to when they want to be reminded of the glory days of their youth, though it is probably more accurate to say "when they want to hazily reimagine their teenage years." It brings them back to a time when beer only cost like a quarter, a time before bills and wives and you goddamned kids took all of the fun out of their lives.
But our personal interactions with music are complex. For dadrock to work, it can't be simply sentimental and reminiscent - it has to transport dads back to that time. In order to accomplish this, it has to follow three rules:
- It must be blues-based rock music -- obviously, dadrock has to be rock music -- and rock music according to your dad's definition, not your fancy fucking "most modern popular music is blues-based" bullshit. It has to have guitars, and it has to rock. A Motown song, for example, wouldn't count. Your dad might enjoy it, maybe it's even his favorite song, but do you really think your dad's fondest memories of his teenage years were slow-dancing to The Temptations with Carla Friedman at the Homecoming Dance? No, that was was one of your mom's fondest memories, and so that music's mompop. Your dad's fondest memories involved getting to third base with that very same girl in his basement while he played Foreigner, just quiet enough that he could hear your grandpa and grandma if they came home.
- It must have a solo of some sort. It doesn't really matter what instrument, though guitar is most common, with organ a close second. Drums are good, too; dads like playing those paradiddles on the steering wheel on their way to the drug store to get some nail polish remover for your sister. Point is, dads don't always do so hot remembering the words to, like, a thousand songs, but they'll never forget a solo. Or at least it won't look like it; he's pretty good at air guitar after those three weeks he spent trying to learn "Brown Eyed Girl" to impress that Carla chick your mom doesn't like him talking about.
- It must be something you can hear on the radio. Your dad liked some underground shit, like Led Zeppelin and Santana. I mean, those guys are popular now, sure, but back in the day only like three of your dad's friends owned Houses of the Holy. Lucky for him, every dad in the world managed to hear those bands in the interim thirty years, and now that's all they wanna listen to. As a result, your dad has been supplied with an unending stream of music he likes, and it's free, and it's transmitted through the glorious medium of radio. He doesn't need anything else, so he's not gonna bother trying to find it. Your dad doesn't give a shit about The Stooges, even if you really think he'd love them, because then he has to buy a CD, put it in the CD player, and try to find the two songs he likes best. Instead, the good people at Clear Channel already pay a guy to do that kind of thing, without any of the hassle for your dad.