Last night, our son came into our room and made a pronouncement. He does this occasionally, and I always wonder what THIS one will be. “Guys,” he said, kind of ominously, "I’ve thought a lot about it and decided that…my favorite music…” he paused. Dramatically… “is funk from 1960s and 1970s. And even a little ‘80s.”
OK. I mean, there are many things a 15 year old boy can pronounce that would be much more worrisome than an abiding passion for Parliament, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, and Prince. And it made me think back to when I was a little younger than Joe is now. I knew I loved all different kinds of music. But there was that one day, when I was on the Jersey shore during the summer, and my parents took me for ice cream at Carvel, and we walked down the street past the local record store.
It was a shrine, to a gaunt, serious, curly-haired guy with a guitar. All over the store there were white posters. There might have been other albums for sale, but none were displayed. It was all about two words. BRUCE. And DARKNESS.
Over the next several years I listened to a lot of music, from the Grateful Dead to the Replacements to the Talking Heads and (even) Styx. But from that moment in that store with my ice cream cone and BRUCE. DARKNESS…there was something special about Springsteen. I saw him in the good times (The River tour) and the...less good (The Juliana Years of Tunnel of Love) and the epic stadium shows. I spent hours trying to memorize his patter before Growin' Up and listened to a bootleg from my cousin Glen on a cassette in my parents' car the day after our dog Missy died on my watch when I was 18.
I thought about that this morning as I got on the subway on the way to work. I thought about Joe’s passion for Superstition and Mothership Connection, and how wonderful it is to discover something and to love it. And I wondered whether one day when he's 46 he'll turn on his music and skip over whatever his kids have turned him on to, and go to Give up the Funk.
And I turned on my iPod and spent the next 30 minutes back in New Jersey as a pre-teen, listening to BRUCE. DARKNESS.