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January 31, 2019 41 mins

There is a world of incredible music out there, most of which we can access through our phones, and yet our kids are obsessed with jingles about shark families and cats flushing toilets. Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay lament this sad state of affairs while seeking advice from WNYC radio host, author, and dad, John Schaefer. It turns out, you can't make your kids like anything, but there are ways to introduce them to new sounds (without them realizing you're doing it).

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:15):
Hi, Welcome to the Fatherly Podcast. My name is Joshua
david Stein, and I am joined in the studio by
our co host Jason Gay. Today we're gonna talk about
music and how to make your kids listen to better
music than what they're listening to, and I'll learn that
you can't make a child listen to any sort of
music with our guest w n YC, host of sound

(00:39):
Check and New Sounds and the gig Alert and all
around musical genius, John Schaefer. As soon as a parent
says listen to this, this is really great, somehow, the
little kid radar goes off in a warning warning. Now.
The reason I'm excited to have John in this studio

(01:01):
A because I really want to meet him, because he's dope,
and too because my kids like terrible music and it's
someone who likes good music. Well I think it's good music. Um.
It is endlessly disappointing that they only listen to truly,
truly shitty music. You're not one of those dads who's like, hey,

(01:22):
my kids really like Wilcome Man. They're just they're just
into it. I didn't force it on them at all.
You mean, am I a liar. No, none of those
kids are into Wilco or the kids are into Wilco
or their little ship. You know, like kids are not
into that. Dude. I hate to say it, but hopefully
John will be able to provide some guidance as to

(01:42):
how we can inculcate good musical sense in our kids.
Welcome very Fogging the podcast. I hope you'll enjoy this show.
We it's some help in my household too. What do
you what are your kids getting into these days? Baby

(02:05):
Shark is still in the rotation, which is I you know,
I imagine you might have had a baby Shark phase
in your home, But that is one of the most
infernal recordings of all time. How does it? How does
it go? Baby Shark? DoD did it? Baby Shark? It?
Did it? Baby Shark? Did Baby sharky? Daddy Shark? Did

(02:36):
we Probably we're gonna get sued. No, No, we added
our own artistic um. So that was our interpretation, our remix.
It's our baby Shark remix. I think I screwed it up.
I think it's Mommy Shark is first. That would be
more keeping with the primacy of matrilineal children's music. Yeah, boy,

(02:58):
you know, I tried for a long time to get
my kids into the music I like, But now they
just call all that stuff like sad dad songs like
I'm into Nick Drake and I'm into Towns franzand and
I'm into Jackson see Frank and like, yeah, I like
sad older white men. Yeah, that's really a lineup? Are
they like? Yeah, Dad, whatever happened to Nick Drake? Whatever?

(03:19):
Having a Towns fand sent Well, we'll get to that
later on in your life, when you're in second grade.
We'll talk about loss god um um. Instead, they're into this.
They're really into through their cousin Phoebe, this song called
um Cat flushing a toilet? That's right? Do you know it?
Do I know it? That is also on heavy rotation.

(03:42):
Right next to Baby Shark, John Shaffer is approaching the
studio door. He's opening the studio door. Hey Hi, Our
guest today is John Schaefer, host of w n y
c S sound Check, New Sounds and gigg Alert, which
you should listen to if you like live music. John
is a father of two daughters in their twenties, Saratoga

(04:04):
Saratoga who is and Bella, who is twenty three. One
of the reasons that I'm so excited to talk to you,
is because I've been struggling, you know, with how to
make my kids listen to not terrible, terrible music right right?
And uh as the the virgil for millions of years

(04:31):
in the New York metropolitan region and beyond and nearly
as old rescue me from this inferno. Okay, So, um,
in the way you phrased the question, I know, I
said make You can't make the kids listen to anything?
Um what I what I found I had too kind

(04:55):
of um techniques for kind of slipping my music. And
I didn't care if they were gonna I knew they
were gonna listen to the pop music that the other
six and seven year olds were listening to when they
were that age and that and that was fine as
long as they kind of knew their way around David
Bowie and Peter Gabriel and you know, even lesser known

(05:19):
artists than that. I was. I was perfectly happy. Um.
So the two things. Number one, do you play an instrument?
By any chance? You play guitar? Yeah? Okay, So I
found this to be an amazing help at bedtime when
the kids were bored of the same books night after night.
And when I got bored with the same books night

(05:41):
after night, I started instead just pulling out the guitar
and I would just start playing stuff. And you know,
a lot of kids songs are CF and G. You know,
it doesn't take a whole lot of the UM and
and so I would I would just play a couple
of these songs and kind of a actually, you know,

(06:01):
one might modulate to something that wasn't a kids song.
But you know, they don't know it. They you know,
they don't understand the different. All they know is Dad's
playing the guitar and singing some songs. I mean, you're
playing the guitar. You can play virtually anything for them.
For them, it's just another weird song that dad was singing,

(06:21):
you know, something like that. Zappa was a little beyond me. Actually,
it took me hours just to get the Gary Davis
rudimental version of Gary Davis blues UM. But you know, um.
So that was for me a really great way to
have kind of a captive audience where you know, it

(06:44):
was better than going to sleep, you know, listen to
listen to the songs and it's time spent with you.
I mean, it's what I like about that approaches. It's
not that you have a third thing like the music
that you're listening to. You're making the music. It's a
connection between you and your kids, right. And you know,
if if some of the songs made them feel a
little scared, like Space Oddity, you know, one of my

(07:08):
daughters did not like Space Oddity, But that didn't mean
I had to stop playing it. It was just you know,
this too is a possible response to songs, which is
important for kids to know that not every song has
to make you feel happy and giggly. Some songs are
gonna make you feel sad or a little unsettled, and
and that's okay. And you know, they are kids. They

(07:33):
don't know any better that they haven't yet learned at
six that this kind of music is acceptable for my
age group and that kind of music is only for
dad and his friends, you know. Uh. And then the
other the other thing was car rides, long car rides
going a vacation. Um, my younger daughter was a very

(07:58):
fine travel soccer player, and I happened to be the coach,
so you know, we would have long rides in the
car to tournaments and stuff, and you know, plug in
the iPod, and you know, I'd make playlists and the
kids would get a you know, steady diet of Block
Party and The National and St. Vincent and you know,

(08:22):
bands that I thought were really cool that their friends
would probably have never heard or heard of, and you know,
so they got a sort of Again, it's a captive
audience and the captive But what I like about what
you're saying is it's also not aggressive. Not to say
that I do this, because I obviously don't, but like

(08:46):
sit my sit Achilles down. He's my seven year old Ami.
You know, we were talking about it before, like this
is Nick Drake. It's really good music. It's like I
learned really early on that that is just self defeating.
As soon as a parent says, listen to this, this

(09:06):
is really great, somehow, the little kid radar goes off, warning,
what's a what's a formative recollection you have of your
own sort of musical education of you know, through a
parent or someone else, just a moment of discovery that
made you It went on. Well, you know, um, I

(09:27):
didn't realize that at the time, because again I was
a kid. Um My dad was a maintenance worker at
a building in Lower Manhattan that was owned by R
C A at the time. Yeah, fifty Broad Street, Um,
right next door to where my daughter would eventually end
up going to high school, which was really weird anyway. Um,

(09:51):
and he would occasionally we didn't have a lot of
music in the house, but occasionally our c A Records
would distribute singles and l piece too to the workers,
And he brought home this little single and um, you know,
I put it on and it was like there was
no singing, There was no singing in it, but it

(10:11):
was really kind of cool, and it was it was
sort of weird. I had never heard anything like it.
It was the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard
Grieg from his period. I had no idea what classical
music was. My dad had no idea what classical music was.

(10:34):
But it was this fun little three minute piece. Now,
in fact, it's it's kind of a scary piece, um
when set in context, but you know, sitting in my
living room with a little forty five RPM player, it
was just like, oh, this this is kind of cool,
you know. I like it. It's got a it's got
a neat melody to it. It's got this bum boom

(10:55):
boom boom. You know, it's got this fun kind of baseline.
Of course, I had no idea of terminology like that faceline.
I just knew that I liked it. Okay, that's the

(11:22):
end of side A. We're gonna hear a word from
our sponsors and be back with the B side. I
love the idea that it's totally genre free because when
you look, I just looked it up, I think you're

(11:42):
on episode four thousand, seventy four of New Sounds. But
when you look, just even scrolling through, your approach to
music also seems. I know now as an adult you
probably do classified in some ways genre as an organizational tool.
But it's Catholic, and it's so free wheeling, and that

(12:02):
sense of discovery of you being a kid listening to
Greek and not knowing where to contextualize it, but just
listening to the sound wash over you. Yeah. Well, I
have to say that, you know, as I became, you know,
an older kid, you know, once I hit like ten

(12:23):
and twelve and especially fourteen, Um, that Catholicism really narrowed,
you know, I mean, as it does. You know, neuroscientists
say that the brain connections that we make at fourteen, fifteen, sixteen,
that those are some of the most powerful connections that

(12:44):
we make to music and art and literature, and those
stay with us forever. And you know, as hard as
it is to get a six year old to listen
to something new, it's even harder to get, very often
to get a thirty year old to listen to something new,
Which is why it's a zing to me that New
Sounds is so wide, like widely sweeping, and I feel

(13:08):
like you're like wanna like, um, you know, like a contortionist,
Like you have no joints, you know, and you're so
flexible in your taste. And to stay that flexible, I
mean even for me. I don't know how you feel, Jason,
but like I find myself by default narrowing my my

(13:28):
taste and it's like I rely on something like New
Sounds to try to touch my toes. Well, um, you know.
I think that's because at around sixteen, I stumbled onto
something that kind of just It wasn't just a door
I hadn't seen before. It was a door with a

(13:49):
whole hallway behind it. And that was side too of
low by David Bowie. Um. You know, I I stumbled

(14:13):
onto Bowie. I had heard this um version of two
thousand one the Space Odyssey theme, you know, the Rickard
strausse um, but it was kind of this jazzy version
of it. I had no idea who it was or
what it was called. I was, you know, I was like,
I was a freshman in high school. So I went
to the record store when there were still records, and

(14:35):
in the window they had the top forty and I'm looking,
I'm looking for anything that says two thousand one Space Odyssey,
and down at the bottom it says David Bowie Space Oddity.
And I always that's clearly right. That's a type of well,
it's an odd version of the Space Odyssey theme. So

(14:56):
of course this is it. I bought it, I took
it home. It was like, what is this? This is
not what I expected at all. But I liked it,
you know, I liked the story that was being told
in this. So anyway, so I accidentally became a David
Bowie fan and then just became a huge Bowie fan.
So the b side of low is that be my wife?
Is that? No? That's a side. Those are the songs

(15:19):
those are the kind of crazy pop songs. The B
side is the instrumental stuff with Brian Eno, the Song
of Our Java Um, you know, which is just these tolling, majestic,
really sad Eastern European sounding keyboards with Bowie wailing in
a made up language over the top, and then a

(15:41):
couple of pieces that were inspired by Philip Glass and
Steve Reich. So you know, I was just like thunderstruck
by this, and that set me on a path to
discovering who you know was and listening to his music,
discovering who Philip Glass and Steve Reisch weren't listening to
their music, and so every door opened onto other doors,

(16:02):
and for me, that's that's how it's continued to be.
I want to ask you about, you know, as it
applies to young people. Um, just that process of discovery.
And I don't want to sound like you know, a

(16:22):
bunch of old fogies here and say that you know
it was better in our days, because in many many ways,
you know, it's spectacularly better now in terms of accessibility.
But when you say, like, okay, you know opens a
door to Glass, who opens the door to Rice, who
opens the door to you know, a whole new wave
of Uh these are not like clicks. These are you're

(16:44):
getting off your Fannie and you're walking somewhere and you're
buying things and and I think sometimes my own sort
of discovery records. You bought some real bad ones too.
Write it brings up home and like, wow, I don't
like that whatever, And that was seven bucks of harder
and paper out money. Um, you really are an old
for God is there, but hey, he's speaking my language.

(17:06):
It was all paper route money, paper give me, give
me a reason to be uh buoyantly optimistic about discovery.
And you know, just those processes that you went through
which was so critical to your development, um still existing today. Well,

(17:28):
I guess I I would have to be optimistic, um,
just because it seemed to work for my kids. You know,
the idea that um that it was so much easier
to open those doors. And you know, I also feel
like and this is something that I try and keep
in mind every time I do one of the X

(17:50):
number of new sounds shows that I've done over the uses.
You gotta play fair with your audience, whether that's you know,
a radio audience that you can't see or your two
kids in the backseat of the are What do you
mean by that? Well, a number of things. UM. One
is that if you're going to slip something on them
that's really unusual, it will go down easier if it's

(18:12):
set in context. So for my kids, you know, um,
I happen to like Rolling in the Deep by Adele.
Now what twelve year old in whatever year that was
two thousand six or seven didn't like Adele? So that
would be on one of the car playlists, and you know,
the kids would be in the back seat, or it

(18:33):
would be you know, soccer daughter and three or four
of her teammates all crowded into the car and they'd
be like, yeah, I'm Rolling in the Deep and singing along.
And then the next song would come on and it
would be you know, it would be something by Okkerville
River or somebody like that. Um, but you needed that

(18:54):
pedal tone to kind of get them there. You ended up.
Or this is how I felt about it. I felt
like I was almost curating a show. So the playlists
on my iPod were like shows that I thought, first
of all, that I could listen to over a long
stretch of time, you know, in a car but I

(19:15):
also felt like the kids in the back, I would
have entry points in and then once once they were there,
I got him in my house. We have a Google
Home and my seven year old, uh, the whole reason
we're having the shows because he really likes his song
called cat flushing a toilet. I want to hear that.

(19:37):
I went on, do you think on the second side
of low that he's a cat, he's a cad. I

(19:58):
asked Jason to think about his kids listening. My son
like three songs, both of them. The younger one only
listens to what the older one listens to, um, cat
flushing a toilet, hamps around a piano and believer by
imagine dragons and maybe it's a repetition. I've heard each one.
I checked the Google play like I've heard each one

(20:19):
maybe between a hundred and a d seventy times. I'm
so sorry. It's a lot. But he knows to ask
for that. You know, he has a thing in his
head and then the thing comes back at him. And
what you're talking about, even from that very moment of
space oddity, space Odyssey is stumbling exactly when you have

(20:40):
at your disposal everything, you have nothing because you're just
it's like being It's it's like being confronted with the
blank page. You know, when when all possibilities are there,
how do you even begin? You know, Stravinsky famously said
he needed parameters, he needed restriction. It helped him to

(21:01):
to kind of line, I don't need I need a deadlines. Yeah,
I mean this, this is common throughout the creative arts.
What you're talking about, John, though, is you're talking about
sort of an active participation in your children's programming. I
think of like, you know, okay, so you're giving them
the adele and then you're bringing them in and giving

(21:22):
them something new. What I am terrified most of all
is you know, you could literally go onto your phone
and say soccer car trip songs, or cocktail party or
holiday time or like you know. Now we're just like
matching mood to playlists and we're thinking algorithmically or not
thinking at all, rather like rainy Tuesday at eleven am.

(21:45):
And all of those things are fine for what they are.
But you know, to go back to the first question
you guys asked, how do you get you You have
to be active. You can't just you know, delegate that
responsibility if you see it as a responsibility to an
algorithm or to someone else's playlist. Al gore have no rhythm.

(22:09):
I wonder, I do wonder, I do wonder though about Okay,
one of the great tenets of musical discovery is rebellion, right,
And what is going to happen to all these hipster
parents out there, who are you know, raising their kids
on the ramons and uh, you know, the minute men
and so on, and and all of a sudden they're

(22:29):
gonna turn fourteen, They're gonna start listening to like Enrique
Iglesias or like how is that gonna work? And what
is going to be the rebellion against the rebellious parent music? Uh?
That will be fascinating to watch, you know. And I've
sometimes wondered if that was a kind of a generational
thing that ended when the kind of iconic bands of

(22:53):
one generation were still the iconic bands for the next generation.
You know, I'm I'm the oldest of nine. Uh So
my younger brother and you grew up in Manhattan. I
grew up in Queens Richmond Hill, near Forest Park, um so,
where almost all of my families still live. So my

(23:15):
youngest brother was born when I was in college, so
I might as well. I was old enough to be
his dad. Literally, he's another generation from me. But you know,
the Rolling Stones were still around, and you know, and
now for like your kids, the Rolling Stones are still around.

(23:36):
You can still take kids to see the Rolling Stones
and they still put on a great show. Um. So
what does rebellion look like for this generation? I think
it it just looks like acceptance of really good music.
And I'm still gonna listen to you know, I'm still

(23:58):
gonna listen to the top forty of the day because
that's what I'm supposed to do as a kid. What
were your first musical discoveries. I mean, I grew up.
I was a radio kid, you know, w bc N
in Boston, w fn X, which was the alternatives. I'm
I'm started trying to think beyond, you know, earlier than
like my you know, all music, you know emerging, Like

(24:21):
what sort of stuff I was into? I mean I
had the classic you know, my father had a record collection.
And my father was not an active, uh influencer. He
was not saying, hey kids, blonde on blonde. However, however,
he had the record collection, and he had the high
Fi and he you know, I was drawn to albums
frankly by album art oftentimes, and uh, the you know

(24:47):
gorrier or stranger, the more compelled I was into it.
And so it was everything from you know, I did
get to listen to Blood on the tracks at a
young age, and I was listening to bus Gags and
then Saturday, I fever, what is this? But the my
I think the thing I remember most of being my
first record purchases. They got cookie about soundtracks. You remember,

(25:10):
like buying like the Et soundtrack on vinyl and bringing
it at home and sort of like trying to reimagine
the film through the um, through the through the actual
music of it. It was a way of started replaying
the movie in my head. Well, that certainly makes sense
with um like Disney movies and stuff. You know, my

(25:31):
kids were big into the soundtracks for The Lion Kids,
Laddin and all of that. And those songs are good,
They're just yeah, they're really well constructed songs. They got
great people to write them and you know, taught people
to play and record them. So what's not to like?
How again, more entry points for for your your subversive

(25:52):
dad music playlist. I mean I remember like my first
MM hmm. Intergenerational transmission of music was Loreena mckennett, who
was like this Canadian sort of neo folk New Age
sort of artists. Yeah. I have no idea why my
mom was into her, but I found that what I

(26:14):
found a tape of it once and then she's playing
the local theater of the Keswick and we like went
to the Keswick and saw Lorena McKenney, and I was
just so blown away that you could see the person
who you had played earlier, like in your life, and
they were making that music live. The spring time of

(26:34):
the trees acrowned with me addressed. But then like that
about the doors, Like I'm probably cliche, but I discovered
some through my dad, some part of Dylan, and then

(26:56):
through Dylan Harry Smith, and then through Harry Smith like
a whole Harry Smith with the Ethnomusicologist, and then through
Harry Smith just this crazy world of ballads and blues
and Mississippi Delta blues, which as a kid in suburban
Philadelphia like really like heavy into like Mississippi John Heard
is like, you know, I was a little lonely, let's

(27:17):
be honest, but I he provided some sort of door
and I walked through it and found my own floor plan.
Well I think you know, um again, the fact that
you came to those records as opposed to your dad

(27:37):
saying sit down and want to play you something makes
a lot of difference. And you know. But but interestingly,
now that I'm thinking about it, I don't know if
he consciously guided me to Dylan because Dylan had such
a crazy catalog of influences. But I trusted Dylan's taste.
So if he was into these guys and I was

(27:58):
into these guys, you know, Yeah, and you can get
there with your kids where they think, well, you know
that actually knows something about this stuff, and you know
if he's listening to this. So if if I'm putting
on you know, Hakuna Matata and following it with the
Soweto Gospel choir, that's going to make kind of audio sense.

(28:20):
But it's also going to get my kids into a
whole another sonic room from the one they thought they
were in two minutes ago. That's news you can use, Yeah, John,
how how you know? Helpful is it to have the
access to seeing people live? But also it's just sort

(28:41):
of to be able to connect music to contemporary things.
That are happening. I think of like you know, in
your life, like you know, you were able to not
just you know, grow interested in Philip Glass and the
Laurie Anderson's and lou Reads and talking heads and the
whole burgeoning New York scene. This was an active thing
happening in your world, like you could go and experience

(29:02):
and it wasn't just music to listen to. And I
imagine that just just you know, solidifies that connection like
nothing else. Well, you know, there is nothing like the
live experience UM, and I'm gonna tell you guys, it
doesn't stop when your kids are five or six. I
took my twenty three year old daughter to see Um

(29:22):
such a Graja the Philip Glass Opera at BAM a
month ago. It was her first opera UM and now
she has informed me that for Christmas she wants to
buy her boyfriend two tickets to the Met because she
wants to see a real opera and the Met. UM.
The such a Graha at BAM was was terrific, but

(29:43):
you know they're gonna do karmen. I figured that's a
great you know slam dunk. Yeah. I mean, every a
lot of people know the tunes without even knowing they're
from opera. So you know she'll go and she'll be oh,
I've heard that before. Um. Strangely, when my older daughter
was sixteen, her first opera was also such a graja.

(30:05):
But at the met and at intermission we met Gandhi's
granddaughter and uh so that was like her Her Facebook
page that night was like, Saratoga met Gandhi's grand Saratoga
is her name, Um, Sarah Toga met Gandhi's granddaughter. To
nothing about the opera, nothing about the music, just that
she met Gandhi's grand and you know that was like

(30:29):
an amazing moment. So you never know when the live
experience what it is that's going to hit them, but
there's there's usually I mean you know, there's usually something
that they're going to take away from that. Let's put
a pin in that here a word from people who
want to sell us things and will be back with

(30:49):
John Shaefer. So when you were getting into like the
damn town scene, um, to Jason's point, could you connect
it to the larger cultural scene, like you know, it
wasn't just music at that moment. Oh no, no, so

(31:11):
much other stuff going on. Yeah, Um, I was really
really lucky to be going to high school in Manhattan
in the mid seventies, and even luckier that one of
my best friends had a brother and two cousins who
played in what was essentially CBGB's house band, The Shirts,

(31:32):
Great Brooklyn band. Um Annie Golden was their lead singer
who would later go on to star in the movie
version of Hair, and she was on Orange Is the
New Black, and she was Cliff Cleven's girlfriend in in
later seasons of Cheers. UM. But I knew her as
um well two ways. I knew her as the lead
singer of the Shirts and also as a secretary in

(31:55):
the ABC building where I worked as a messenger, and
I would occasionally bring her boss some thing and there
would it be any behind the desk and the phone. UM. So,
you know, getting to see the first flowering of of punk,
getting to see bands like you know, uh, Talking Heads

(32:15):
as a trio before Jerry Harrison joined the band. Oh man,
I am dating myself. I think it's very hard to
listen to music decontextualized, especially it's from a different culture
and kind of understand understand it divorced from the historical
right um culture around it. Right, and and you know,
that's that's why I used That's why I used the

(32:36):
example of the Lion King. I thought that soundtrack for
me was like gold. You know, it was just like,
oh my god, all this great African music that I
can you know, if they're interested in, you know, the
songs from the Lion King, what are they going to
make of Fela Kuti or Fatumata Jawara or you know

(32:58):
some of the other were Molatini, the Lion of Soweto
and all this great stuff. Um. And to this day,
I think if you threw any of those names at them,
they wouldn't know necessarily who they were, but if you
played some of that music, um, they'd be like, oh yeah, yeah,

(33:19):
that's that's good stuff. Your youngest is twenty three, so
it's still definitely in the timeline that you could have
gone through Barney, that they may have. We did Barney
now just graff raff to Raffi was certainly a step
up from Barney. I just if I maybe so we

(33:41):
have found your judgment. I just interviewed Raffi, um and
it was really interesting because he comes out of the
Toronto coffeehouse scene and he never gets to talk about
himself as a musician, like no one asks Raffie about
the chord progressions or um or who his session musicians are,

(34:03):
or like how he records. And he was so eager
to talk about that, And I was really moved by
how much he also connected what he does now with
like Pete Seeger, who was a hero of his um
Well he's he is a keeper. And also, you know,
one of the great things about songs with understandable lyrics

(34:26):
is occasionally your kids will pipe up with a question, like, Dad,
who's David Amram? You know you're listening to Rafie peanut
butter sandwich made with jam, one for me and one
for David Amram. Well, there there's a I mean, that's
a wonderful question for a kid to ask, and for
a parent who knows David Amram, it's a wonderful question

(34:47):
to answer, because who is David Amram. David Amram is
an American composer who started off I guess he was
best known in the fifties as a jazz arranger, but
he was also a classical composer who plays all of
these ethnic instruments. You know, you studied ethnomusicology you would know.

(35:17):
I mean, he plays these flutes from East Africa, he
plays shakers and rattles from West Africa and Eastern Asia,
and he you know, he's he's just He's circled the
globe countless times, bringing together musicians from all these different cultures.
He's one of the kind of proto world music figures.
You couldn't ask for a better door. Absolutely, absolutely, it's

(35:39):
like that's a gateway to all kinds of different musics
from around the world. We were just getting into Bowie
and Bowie died, and he died in such a beautiful way.
With his album coming out, it was like art. I
found it very moving. And I was playing Hazarus for

(36:00):
my five year old and we watched the video of
Lazarus is really intense. Yeah, that's really dark. It's dark,
but also really beautiful, and and I was trying to
explain Black Star, the album and his death and Lazarus
and that really real life and art and how thin

(36:22):
the skin of art was around David Bowie's life. It
really ignited something in my five year old. Not only
did he wonder who Lazarus was, but just the idea
that you could handle your own He wouldn't put it
this way, but you can handle your own mortality through art.
And what was he sick? Was he he was sick,
and he was still making music, and that was I

(36:44):
could just see his brain expanding. I had a similar
thing um with my older daughter when she was maybe nine, UM,
and I was playing um the Pixies, you know, Monkey
Gone to Heaven, and of course is the famous line,
if man is five, then you know, the devil is six.

(37:05):
If the devil is six and God is seven, fine devils.

(37:34):
And I'm driving along, We're in the car, you know,
and she pipes up with this parsing of that verse,
which left me with like a lump in my throat,
which is like, you know, the monkey doesn't know why
the man is doing this to him, and and you know,

(37:55):
and and so he thinks, well, the man is bad,
but the devil must be making him do this to me.
And but if the devil's doing it, then God is
letting him do it, and so it's really God's fault.
And I was just like, holy crap, this is a
nine year old kid listening to the Pixies in the
back seat of the car, and like, I can hear
the scales falling from her eyes. You know, it's just amazing.

(38:18):
I love it. Yeah, So okay, John, uh, thank you
for this. I'm no longer going to have a prerequisite
listening sessions in my house. I'm just going to create
doors and invite my children to walk through them. They'll
walk through some plan some nice road trips. Yes, and
plan get a car and plan firstep get a car.

(38:41):
Good luck with that, guys. Has been fun. Thank you
so much. It's wonderful. Thank you. I feel like the
takeaway from John is a John Shafer is cool, great
radio guest. B. You can't make your child do anything,
especially something that is dependent on their sense of taste.

(39:03):
But you can be a pusher man and sort of
suggest avenues by which they can experience their own musical taste. True.
I think that's right. I think that you just you know,
it's a It's a metaphor for all of parenting, isn't it.
You just cannot force it too hard. Other other point

(39:25):
is that I think John Schaefer is probably a great dad,
and I kind of wish he was my dad. I
had the same feeling. Do you think we can apply
I don't know. Yeah, I mean sound check does have
like a contact form? No, I mean like live at
the place. Oh, you know, move in probably great music.
One daughter is out of the house. Yeah, yeah, we

(39:47):
split room bunk beds. Sounds great. Thanks for listening to
The Father Early Podcast. This episode was co produced by me,

(40:08):
Joshua David Stein and him Max Savage Levinson. Special thanks
to Jason Gay who's standing across me. Thank you. I
very much enjoyed talking to you. Thank you. Likewise, our
executive producer is Andrew Berman. We record this at my heart.
If you are struggling with anything pertaining to being a father, Jason,

(40:33):
talk to me after the show. But for our listeners,
call our hotline. It is a New Jersey hotline. It's
seven three two four five seven one. That's seven three
two seven one. Ask your question, you'll get on the air,
we'll answer it. I wish it was seven through two
dad help, but I don't think it pants out that way.

(40:54):
It's seven to two seven one. Look. If you like
this podcast, subscribe where you subscribe to podcasts. Also, please
do leave a review as long as it's positive and
indeed fawning. We'll be back next week. In the meantime,
stay cool dad's

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