Last year, I started teaching Sebastian how to put records on a turntable.
Using records of mine that I was less concerned about him handling, I would show him how to hold the record, how to start the turntable, how to lift the tone arm and how to put records away in their protective sleeves.
I have two turntables at home, both of which are vintage tables which have been restored so it was always with the understanding that he only play records when I’m with him.
Because he was taking to the vinyl experience so well, Santa Claus brought him his first turntable and his first few records last year for Christmas.
I figured that if he took care of his turntable, maybe we would sit back and see if the interest in records continued. If so, we could look at getting him something better later on.
Sporadically, I started taking him to record stores with me.
Much like it was for me at that age, having the ability to look through record stacks was fascinating for him.
He’s not able to read all of the artists nor is he able to reach every stack, but because we listen to a fair amount of SiriusXM in the car, he has started to recognize certain bands and songs.
Admittedly, his favorite station is SiriusXM Turbo which plays mostly late 90s/early 2000s era rock, alternative and metal.
Sebastian’s life has been filled with music since he was born. Through his mother, it’s a combination of jazz, showtunes and some pop music. Through me, it’s a hodgepodge of metal, punk, grunge, shoegaze, BritPop, and random bits of hip-hop if I can find mostly clean versions of that music.
His main qualifier for whether or not he wants to listen to something is one simple question: Is it loud?
And of course, me being his smart-ass dad, I have to say: “Buddy, everything is loud if you turned the dial to the right.”
Yet, that’s not what he’s asking about. Loud to him generally means: fast, heavy or both (and of course, at ample volume)
His mother is not impressed.
It is fascinating to hear him in the back of my car when a song comes on the radio and shout: “Dada, that’s Linkin Park! Or, Dada, that’s Rage Against The Machine!”
A few weeks ago, I decided to start unloading some of my own collection to a local record store for trade-in value. I told Sebastian he could come with me and I’d pick up a new record for him.
We got in the car and I can hear my child in the back say: “Dada, I want a Pantera record.”
Now, I don’t know what you know about Pantera but they fit the bill for all that Sebastian loves about music: fast, heavy and…loud.
Unfortunately, it’s damn impossible to get a Pantera record without also absorbing a lot of explicit lyrics. So, Sebastian is temporarily out of luck for adding one of these to his record collection.
Nevertheless, we made our way into the record store and Sebastian started looking around.
The first thing that caught his eye was Hysteria from Def Leppard. He recognized the logo and knew some of their material from getting lost in a YouTube loop last year.
“Dada, I want this Def Leppard record.”
“Dada, what’s this record?”
“Is it loud?”
“Eh, it’s kinda loud, they’re a rock band.”
“What’s this record?”
“Is it loud?”
“Yes, they’re a thrash band. It’s loud.”
“I want that Overkill record.”
“Sebastian. I am not spending $40 on a record of a band you’ve never listened to before. By the way, look at this record…”
“What is that record?”
“It’s Nirvana. You have a Nirvana t-shirt.”
“Is that loud?”
“Yes. Some of it. Not all of it.”
“I want that Nirvana record.”
So, we grab Nirvana and Def Leppard and take them to the counter. The owner of the store looks at the records, looks at my son, and says: “You’ve got good taste!”
Sebastian smirked from ear to ear.
Since then, we’ve added another AC/DC record to his collection and a Deftones record. This goes along nicely with albums from Queen, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, Journey, Beastie Boys and Metallica.
I also took another vintage turntable that I had sitting in our attic and upgraded him from the one Santa brought him last year. Now, our little rock-n-roller has a vintage turntable, a receiver, a phono pre-amp and some speakers (that will need to be upgraded soon) to play his tunes on.
He still needs to learn how to take better card of the records and the sleeves but he’s done a damn good job taking care of the turntable.
One of my client/friends here at the studio (Rachel H) said: “You know, J, most 5 year-olds like toys and trucks and action figures. Your 5 year old likes turntables and records!”
If I was any more proud I’d probably split.
To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of details from my childhood but I do remember scouring music stores with my parents looking for 45s and looking through some of my Dad’s old records from bands like Steely Dan, Poco and Hookfoot.
I took a detour from some of the recent health posts to share this story before my old brain forgets some of the details.
The next time you hear something loud, think of Sebastian.
Better yet, turn it up.