I recently took my son Seth on a music school audition trip to Nashville. We live in Lexington, Ky so the drive usually takes about 3 ½ hours. Seth is a great kid, he has a kind, gentle heart, just like his mother. I love his mind probably because it reminds me of myself. Seth thinks, really thinks about things. I love that. He and I can have great discussions about life, literature, contemporary events, and of course music. He knows a lot about music; I don't but like most younger people that listen to blues, jazz, and rock he enjoys the music of my era, the sixties and seventies. I do know something about that music so we have a lot to talk about and listen to.
For the round trip to Nashville and back of 7 hours we listened to Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, and Frank Zappa. A lot of Frank Zappa. Most of you have probably never heard of Frank Zappa. I asked an older gentlemen at a convenience store in Bardstown, Ky if he knew that Frank Zappa drank gallons of coffee every day. Frank Zappa was not an illegal substance abuser but he definitely abused caffeine. The guy looked at me with a blank, confused expression. I told him it really didn't matter if he knew who Frank Zappa was but since we were talking about how much coffee we all drink I thought it was relevant. Apparently, he didn't.
Seth and I talked about Frank Zappa's lack of drug abuse. He was unlike probably every other music performer of that era. Drugs and alcohol seem to go with being musicians of the kind of music we both like. Listen to Frank Zappa's music some time; you will have a hard time believing he was not on some illegal substance; some of it is pretty bizarre stuff. And yet Zappa was one of the most talented and innovative musicians of his time.
I love talking with Seth about music, not so much because it's music but because it is his passion. I am so thankful he has passion. I can help nurture this passion he has for performing and becoming a musician. What an honor and a blessing it is for a father to help his son nurture his passion. The operative word here is “his” passion. My passion would have been for Seth to be a great swimmer (he could have been but he hated competitive swimming, told me at 15 he was done). Like all parents, and maybe especially fathers, I had to learn to start following my son in his direction rather than do the directing. Hard lesson for an aggressive ex football player like me. I am used to making things happen. It has been good for me to learn to follow Seth's passion. It has helped me learn to be a better servant and I think a better father. At least that is what Seth told me. “Good trip Dad”, he said, “really good father-son bonding time”. Music to my ears!