Like many dads, I have become a square in my days of fatherhood.
For example, in college, and for years after, Friday and Saturday nights [and often Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, too, depending on what bar had a special going on] were basically reserved for tapping kegs of Bud Light, chasing girls around campus and only paying attention to the clock when the bartender would make last call just before 2 a.m.
Well, the title of this blog is Why Daddy Drinks, so sometimes I do tip one back. But doing something like the Century Club is way, way in the past. And as far as staying up late? For me and my wife, The Thoroughly Awesome Ms. Crums, a long night now is if we make it until 9 o’clock after watching an episode of “Boardwalk Empire“. The only time I’m up at 2 a.m. these days is when my younger daughter, Little Sis, pulls one of her middle-of-the-night cries that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to all night and rousts her big sister, Maddo, who then staggers into our bedroom
The Square Dad situation also rears its head when it comes to popular music. I love rock ‘n roll, and I always have time for something by The Stones or Rush. And I will fight anyone who doesn’t think Big Star’s “September Gurls” is the single-greatest song that has ever been written.
However, as far as finding new music, something that hasn’t already been on my playlist for the better part of two decades? That is a challenge. I just don’t have the time, or inclination to seek out who is trending on Twitter these days. I know the name Frank Ocean, but I couldn’t tell you if I’ve ever heard any of his songs. And the stupidly punctuated group fun.? That’s their period at the end there, and even though their song “We Are Young” won some kind of Grammy, I could care less about it.
However, there have been examples of me stumbling my way into some fairly new bands, usually by word of mouth or seeing a review online somewhere. And one of those bands is The Black Keys.
I became aware of The Black Keys from their song, “I’ll Be Your Man”, which was used as theme to the HBO series “Hung”. Look it up. It’s about a Detroit teacher who becomes a male prostitute to pay the bills. Hilarity ensues. But while I was aware of The Black Keys, I still didn’t pay much attention to them until they released their most-recent album, “El Camino.”
The first thing that’s awesome about this album is that it is named after one of the greatest cruising vessels of the 1970s. Is it a car? Is it a truck? No! It’s a Chevrolet El Camino! Your older sister’s stoner boyfriend Travis probably had one in 1975. The next greatest thing about the album “El Camino” is that it contains a set of pictures of vans, none of which could date from any year later than 1989.
The song everybody knows off “El Camino” is “Lonely Boy”, the entire video of which is just some black guy dancing and lip-synching to the song in what looks like the hallway outside the office of a used-car dealership. It’s immediately catchy and memorable.
But the song that I’m digging right now isn’t “Lonely Boy”, but the equally brilliant “Gold On The Ceiling”, which is built around three or four gloriously big, dumb guitar riffs, some cheesy organ breaks and Dan Auerbauch’s just-on-the-brink-of-stoned vocals. It’s the kind of song that is the definition of the term “earworm”.
And there I was at dinner last night, singing the main, big, dumb guitar riff out loud [“BA-DA, BA-DA, BA-DA-DA-DA/BA-DA, BA-DA-DA-DA”] and then the first lines “They wanna get my/They wanna get my/GOLD ON THE CEILING…” when Little Sis chimed in.
“What’s that?” she asked me.
“That’s a song by The Black Keys, honey,” I said. “[singing] Gold on the ceiling…”
She’s only three, but Little Sis will tell you in no uncertain terms when she likes and doesn’t like. She tried to sing along with me and laughed the whole time.
So, I got up and got my laptop so she could see the video for the song. It started up, that big, dumb guitar riff kicked in: “BA-DA, BA-DA, BA-DA-DA-DA/BA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA” and then the chorus hit.
Little Sis’ face opened up with excitement, and again, even though she’s only three, she knew what she had found:
“Daddy!…THAT’S ROCK AN’ ROLL!”