My wife and I love music, and our children showed the same inclination from an early age, whether through nature, nurture or both. We always had some cassette playing in the car when they were small – often The Beatles, Bob Dylan or Bob Marley, as I recall – and we played loads of CDs in the house.
The first artist Sean independently got into was Eminem, I think … we were a bit concerned about some of the lyrics (there was a lot of anti-Eminem hysteria among God-fearin’, right-thinkin’ folk at the time), but Sean assured us that there was nothing to worry about, and we could see that Eminem was a serious and talented artist.
However, Sean found it hard to suppress his frivolous side, or to stay earnest and angst-ridden for long. He loved the single ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ by The Darkness in 2003 (it featured in a television programme on that year I watched last night). His weakness for theatrical rock would later manifest in a liking for Queen, but first it took a detour through heavy metal.
The metal bands he liked, and played very loudly in his bedroom, included System of a Down (strangely catchy Armenian-Californian bombast), Metallica, Korn, Slipknot and others. I liked only the first two of these. We argued as to whether Thin Lizzy’s or Metallica’s version of ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ was better.
At the age of 13 or so, we allowed Sean to go to heavy metal gigs in Navan, which were organized and well supervised by a Christian youth group whose name I forget. We sometimes caught the end of these when we went to collect him … some of the (local) bands were really good (and really loud).
Sean, of course, developed a network of metal-loving friends in Navan and elsewhere. He insisted that metal fans were far nicer, gentler, more caring people than pop fans. He may well have been right.
After he tired of the heavy metal, Sean went through a phase of listening to hideous electronic dance music … the only musical love of his that I ever truly detested. Luckily it didn’t last very long.
Below are two of the songs that most remind me of his heavy metal phase.