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Rock & Roll & Boys

Young male person aspires to be Jack White, Flea


So, I came home from my class reunion to find my 11 year old son Lucas utterly absorbed with playing the electric bass. A friend loaned her bass and her Fender amp to him, and he has taken to it like a fish to water. As I write this, he’s in the next room, playing the bass line to “Seven Nation Army” and singing in his best Jack White imitation.

He talks about Flea this and Flea that. Last night we watched It Might Get Loud together, and … well, he’s flying now. It is such a delight to see a kid find his passion. And it’s a kick to observe what a masculine thing rock and roll is. This is hardly an original observation, heaven knows, but rock really is mostly about masculine energy. It’s fascinating to watch Lucas channel his restless masculinity through his bass guitar. Some boys do it through athletics; he’s doing it through music.

I’ve been listening over and over these days to “Bitch,” a cut from the Rolling Stones’ 1971 album Sticky Fingers. Its power is feral, snarling; it is a perfect expression of masculine sexual potency, which makes it a near-perfect rock song.

Since I started this post, he’s plugged in the Fender amp, and is standing in the living room demonstrating a distortion technique he learned from watching The Edge in the documentary last night.



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