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November 9, 2011 1 comment

I don’t remember how the conversation started, whether I just decided to thrust my musical tastes on him, but the part where my recollection begins is with myself at thirteen years old playing “Aerodynamic” by Daft Punk for my father and relating to him that it contained my favorite guitar solo.

Of course, at this point, my music collection consisted of Eiffel 65’s Europop (synth-pop) and the first two Linkin Park studio albums (nu-metal that was noted for its lack of guitar solos), so in effect, what I really meant was “This is the best and only guitar solo I’ve ever heard!” And it’s only pure luck that the Daft Punk album, which was classified as house-influenced synthpop, had a guitar solo at all. But it was mine and I loved it.

So, after sitting through middle school me playing some techno song for him, my father tried to engage me and play his favorite guitar solo for me so that we might bond, as father and son have for decades, over a shared affinity for music. I’m not sure exactly what song he played, but it was almost certainly a Men At Work song, (“Overkill”, if I had to guess) with Colin Hay playing a sublime guitar melody over the traditional rock accompaniment of guitar and bass and (depending on the song) synth.

Unfortunately for him and his effort to find common ground with his kid who was developing tastes for genres that didn’t exist when he was born, I misinterpreted his attempt to find common ground for an attempt to show me how the stuff that I liked wasn’t special (I was young). In a territorial defense of my musical taste, I invoked the No true Scotsman argument to narrowly re-interpret the “guitar solo” to be something where the guitar plays by itself, without any other instruments, as in my beloved Daft Punk song.

This is where the memory gets fuzzy again, but my sense is that my argument totally deflated my dad, and left him with no real way to continue after my rhetorical torpedo. I’m not sure if he managed to salvage the conversation or justifiably patted me on my head, said “that’s nice” and moved on. At any rate, to this day, that conversation and my abrupt nullification of my own father’s attempt to share something he loved has haunted me.

Sorry, Dad.

If you asked me today, I’d probably say “Soldiers of the Wasteland” by Dragonforce was my favorite. If you made me stick to a genre that existed when I was born (Dragoforce is loosely categorized as epic speed metal), I’d probably say “According to You” by Orianthi. By borrowing from the solo for Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine”, it communicated that she had studied the titans of rock and roll, and by having a ferocious shred section, it said that she also at least had the mechanical skill to keep up with the greats. 

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