How I Learned to Love My Dad's Taste for Nu-Metal Music
Yes, those are my parents in that picture.
Courtesy of the author My parents, three years before I was born.
Their pet snake, Phallys, is no longer around, and thankfully my Dad has ceased wearing a chain linking a nose ring to his ear. (Click the photo to enlarge it.)
But, now 43, he remains a wild man, especially when it comes to music.
For almost my whole life he's been rocking out in nerdy fashion and trying to push his tastes on me. The results have often been disastrous.
Like the time he got into dubstep. Or the time our trip to Coachella together sent him to the hospital.
But let's backtrack for a second...
Did I mention that my Dad's name is Aragorn? Yes, that's his legal birth name. Yes, it comes from Lord of the Rings. And yes, he's proud of his Tolkien heritage. He even has the memorabilia sword collection to prove it.
Growing up, I thought everyone's dad blasted Mushroomhead, played with toy light sabers and scheduled Dungeons and Dragons for the weekend. I remember sitting in his car as a little girl, playing air-bagpipes to KoЯn's "Shoots and Ladders" and headbanging my little blonde pigtails to "One Step Closer" by Linkin Park. (I learned to censor my tiny voice when Chester Bennington screamed "Shut up when I'm talking to you!") I didn't know any better than to rock out to nu-metal. He was also into Oingo Boingo, "Weird Al" Yankovic and LARPing.
At thirteen, all I was interested in was men twice my age who wore eyeliner and figuring out how to spend my Hot Topic gift cards. My parents split when I was young, and they competed over who could take me to the best shows. My mom took me to Green Day, My Chemical Romance and Metallica. She was winning at this point. But then my dad busted out the big guns when he bought us tickets to my first festival: Projekt Revolution.
It was an emo pre-teen paradise, featuring my favorite bands: Taking Back Sunday, HIM, Madina Lake, most importantly My Chemical Romance. Everywhere I looked were guys in girl pants, tattoos and lip rings. It was kind of awkward being there with my dad, but I was so excited I felt like I was going to burst. And I did, into tears, when My Chemical Romance walked onstage. (Blue eyeshadow and eyeliner ran down my cheeks.)
Aragorn Hansard Casual day at the office.
Too busy screaming at Gerard Way that I loved him more than anything in the universe, I didn't notice my dad was filming me the entire time, a video he then showed to all of his coworkers.
By the time Coachella 2010 came around, I begged my mom to let me go alone. But I was only sixteen, so Dad had to come. I made him promise not to record me, and he packed the car with plenty of Chex Mix and Mountain Dew. Aragorn and I set off for Indio.