Dad: So have you heard of a kind of music called, heavy metal?
(I’m holding up a beat up copy of K-Tel Records Masters of Metal from 1984.)
Cedar: What? We listened to that before.
Dad: We did? (We definitely didn’t.) What did it sound like?
(long grinning pause and he is clearly thinking something up.)
Cedar: Like a heavy giant.
Dad: A giant?
Cedar: Daddy, did you know I can pick up a whole giant?
Dad: Really? How can you do that?
Cedar: Because I picked up all your weights a lot. Feel my muscles.
(feeling his arm)
Dad: Whoa. Huge dude.
(I put on track 1, Trashed by Black Sabbath)
Cedar: (looking bored) Kind of slow.
Dad: What? Listen to that guitar. (I do some air guitaring.) That is pretty fast.
Cedar: Not really. Not really punk rock.
Dad: No, not punk rock. Heavy metal.
(track 1 ends and track 2, Mean Streak by Y&T starts)
Cedar: Daddy. The front and the back of the record is kind of weird.
Cedar: It’s not very punk rock.
Dad: No, it’s not punk rock. It’s Heavy metal.
Cedar: Yeah, the words and lasers and stuff aren’t punk rock (he is crossing his arms now)
Cedar: This is still slow. I know what would make it faster.
Dad: (I know he’s about to change the speed to 45rpm) Really?
Cedar: Yeah. Changing it to Alvin speed. (he switches the record speed to 45rpm and laughs)
Cedar: Daddy, you know what would be funny?
Cedar: One day when we have a play date with my friends, we could put this record on at Alvin speed and they would think it was Alvin. (he thinks this is a really funny idea.) They would think it is good and then we’d turn it to regular speed and they’d be so surprised (he sticks out his tongue and frowns.)
Dad: Hey listen to this song buddy. (I flip the record over) It’s called Dancing in the Streets by a band named Van Halen. Tell me what you think.
(we listen for awhile)
(he smiles, comes over and crawls into my lap and give me a hug.)
Cedar: Definitely “bad pile” Daddy.
Cedar: Yes. (smiling) “Never play again” pile.
Cedar: What’s this one called?
Dad: Luscious Jackson In Search of Manny.
Cedar: Oh. (He attempts to say “luscious” a few times and gives up.
(He puts on side 2 by accident. I just leave it.)
Dad: So you picked this one out. What do you think?
Cedar: Kind of boring.
Dad: How about we listen a little more?
Cedar: Daddy did you know this is actually Teenage Rock N’ Roll Machines?
Dad: What? No.
Cedar: Yeah it is.
Dad: You mean The Donnas?
Dad: This isn’t the Donnas.
Cedar: Yes it is!
Dad: Dude. I bought the record. It’s not.
Cedar: But the singing is the same. Kind of.
Dad: (Keep On Rockin’ It ends) So you put this record on. What do you think?
(He doesn’t stop break dancing and meowing to our cat.)
Dad: You know this is actually Side 2? (I flip the record over and put on Let Yourself Get Down and let it play to the end.)
Dad: So what do you think of this song?
Cedar: Kind of boring.
Cedar: Yeah, it’s not interesting to me. I just like kind of punk rock. This isn’t punk rock.
(He switches to 45rpm)
Cedar: Now it’s Alvin speed. (he starts the record again.)
Dad: You like it better now?
(he is grinning and spinning on his back on the floor nodding)
I just like kind of punk rock. This isn’t punk rock. —
Cedar Joaquin Muñoz
drummer, music critic, 4-year-old
Cedar: Look at this one daddy.
Dad: Whoa! The Donnas. Nice pick.
(I put on track 1, Rock N’ Roll Machine. The kids start dancing around like crazy.)
Cedar: Cora dance over there! Too smelly over here.
(Again! Insert a long break where I frantically try to deal with the mess.)
Cedar: Did you know some people aren’t real?
Cedar: Like Zombies. They aren’t real. Bad guys ARE real.
Dad: What made you think of that?
Cedar: I don’t know.
(I give up on containing the diaper blow out and ultimately just toss them both into the shower.)
(We start the record over.)
Dad: So why did you pick this one out?
Cedar: Because it’s got two ladies and two girls. With the same shirts (he points to each of the shirts) but that are different.
Dad: They are all named Donna. Donna C., Donna F., Donna A., and Donna R.
Cedar: Where are their feet?
Dad: (laughing) You can’t see them because they are up close.
Cedar: Why didn’t they draw them small like that one? (points to the Hall and Oates album that is still out.)
Dad: What? They aren’t drawn. This is a photograph. If I have a camera and I take a picture of you from far back, I can see all of you and all the things around you. If I come closer, then I can only see a part of you.
Cedar: “Up close” means only a part?
Dad: No. It means you are close to someone. Not far back. Make sense?
(He nods but he is clearly still processing everything.)
(later in the week, after he continually puts on this album)
Dad: So buddy, you keep playing this record. Do you like it?
Dad: So it’s in the “play again pile”.
Cedar: Yes, play it again.
Dad: What does this music remind you of?
Cedar: Rock n’ roll machines.
Dad: Well I guess that makes sense.
Cedar: Is this a new record?
Dad: Yes. Well no, it’s an old record that we got from the thrift store. Looks interesting doesn’t it? What do you think this guy is doing? Eating fire?
Cedar: No. Probably blowing it out.
Dad: Oh. Right. That would be safer wouldn’t it? What else do you see on the cover.
Cedar: Here’s some silly girls with flowers on their heads and leaf dresses.
Dad: They have big headdresses on. Cool.
Cedar: These guys are wearing dresses and holding sticks.
Dad: Yeah. Nice.
Cedar: The second guy has paint on his face and he’s wearing a dress. He is holding a stick with a dress on too!
(I put on track 1, Oteas and both of the kids sit on the bed and stare at the record player as the sound of conch shells being blown begins.)
Cora: Daddy. Daddy!
(I look at Cora and she’s pointing to the record player and they both look super surprised. Both kids have their mouths wide open. Then the drumming starts in and Cora jumps off the bed and begins dancing frantically for the remainder of the song.)
(track 2, Beautiful Kuuipo begins. It’s a traditional Hawaiian sounding song.)
Cedar: This sounds like the beginning part of Sponge Bob!
(we keep listening as the singer begins singing.)
Cedar: (Cedar laughs) He says, “I looooveee yoouuu.”
Dad: Yeah. You like that part?
Cedar: No. That’s super silly.
(they dance and play for awhile. track 4, Vahine Tahiti starts. It’s a Tahitian percussion song with nothing but Tahitian drumming.
Dad: Wow Cedar what do you think of this drumming? It’s not like your drums is it?
Cedar: No. It’s like a Japan drum.
Dad: A Japan drum? Where did you hear one of those?
Cedar: At a Japan restaurant. There was only a couple of them playing. Each one with one drum.
Dad: How many does this sound like.
Cedar: Like 200!
Dad: That would be cool to see.
(we all air drum for a good long time.)
Dad: So what do you think of the record?
Dad: Yeah, what about it?
Cedar: I don’t know yet.
Dad: Oh. Do we need to give it a few more listens?
(I’ve found that either Cedar is more conscious now that I am writing everything down or he’s run out of adjectives. Either way it now takes multiple listens before he’s willing to tell me much more then a record is ”good” or “bad”.)
Dad: But you liked it?
Cedar: Yes. Like Japan drumming.
(after our second listen the following day)
Dad: So what do you think?
Dad: Just good?
Dad: If you had to make 2 piles of records, 1 that we would listen to again and 1 we wouldn’t listen to again, where would this one go?
Cedar: Not listen to.
Dad: Not listen to?
Cedar: Well, listen to again, but only on special days. Like Christmas.
Dad: How about you pick out a new record?
Cedar: Look at this one dad. (He pulls out the 1982 album H2O by Hall and Oates.)
Dad: You know what the cover is?
Dad: It’s a close up of skin with sweat on it.
(Looking incredulous and intently studying the cover)
Dad: You know when you run around and get all sweaty? (he nods) This is a picture of someone’s sweaty skin.
Cedar: (pointing at the large sweat droplet) Is that sweat?!
Cedar: (Smiling broadly) Yuck. Let’s listen to this.
Dad: Okay, put it on.
Cora: I picking record! (Cora pulls out a copy of Handel’s Messiah with an illustration of an angel on it.) Butterfly! Butterfly! Butterfly!
Dad: Cora, let’s listen to this one first.
(Cedar puts on and track 1, Maneater. Cora drops Messiah on the floor and begins dancing.)
(Cedar gets really still and has a blank, slack-jawed expression. Half-way through the song I start singing the words and dancing with Cora. Cedar is barely moving, but his toes have started tapping a bit.)
Dad: Cora, do you like this?
Cora: (nodding and dancing. She yells, “CEDAR!” to get him to start dancing.)
Dad: So Cedar, what do you think?
(He nods but still has a pretty blank expression. He’s studying the paper dust cover with it’s photo of the band in a brightly painted factory interior.)
Cedar: Where are they?
Dad: Looks like they took the photo in a factory. Cool, huh?
Cedar: (nodding) What kind of factory is it?
Dad: I don’t know.
Cedar: I think it’s a chocolate factory. Yes.
Cedar: When I have a band we’re going to play in a chocolate factory. Then every kind of candy factory.
Dad: Wow. That sounds cool.
(Cedar goes on to tell me at length about a documentary he saw about how chocolate is made. He unsurprisingly remembers the entire process from harvesting cocoa beans to consumption.)
(track 2, Crime Pays starts)
Cedar: Dad, I don’t like this one that came after. It’s too slow.
Dad: Okay, why don’t you move to the next track and we’ll see what you think.
(Cedar carefully moves ahead to track 3, Art of Heartbreak.)
Cedar: What! This one is even slower! Daddy, look at Cora.
(Cora has taken my microfiber cloth I use to clean the dust off the records and turned it into a mini shawl. She is swaying around to the music, eyes closed and arms out stretched.)
Cedar: Cora, you want to hear Alvin?
Dad: Really buddy? Again?
Cedar: She really likes it.
Dad: (sigh) alright.
(cedar switches to 45rpm and Cora giggles and keeps dancing.)
Cedar: Even faster it’s still slow!
Dad: This is a slow song.
Cedar: Can I see the record cover again?
(Like a good brother he’s leaving the song playing for his sister, but he seems amazed that such a slow song would have a sweaty record cover.)
Dad: Sure, here. (I hand him the record cover) This band is called Hall and Oates. (pointing to the band photo in the factory.) It’s named for him and him (I point out Daryl and John.)
Cedar: Wait! What about those other guys?
Cora: (pointing at John Oates) Daddy.
Dad: What? No. That’s not daddy. That Oates.
Cora: (looking more sure of herself) Daddy!
(I have to laugh about Cora thinking John Oates is me. Cedar is still pointing to the rest of the people in the photo.)
Dad: This is their band. They play for Hall and Oates. G.E. Smith plays guitars. Charlie De Chant plays saxophone. Mickey Curry is the drummer and Tom “T. Bone” Wolk is on bass.
Cedar: (Clifford) The Big Red Dog has a friend that is a little yellow dog that is from here (putting his hand next to the floor by my foot) to here, no here (putting his hand next to my calf, then a little bit higher.) His name is T-Bone!
Dad: That’s right. A “T-Bone” is a kind of steak. This guy is probably called T-Bone because his name is Tom. T for Tom. The dog is named T-Bone because dogs like steaks. You’d be C-Bone for Cedar.
Cedar: (laughing) Funny.
Even faster it’s still slow! —
Cedar Joaquin Muñoz
drummer, music critic, 4-year-old
(cedar is busy building ramps from my bed to the record shelves for his matchbox cars. I pull out the Misfits collection.)
Dad: Cedar look. (showing him the cover)
Cedar: Whoa! Can we listen to that?
Dad: Yes, of course. (I pull out the green vinyl record) Look buddy.
(his eyes go wide, he drops all of his cars, sprints over to the bed, jumps up and sits on the bed facing he record player.)
Cedar: Green! My favorite.
(track 1, We Are 138 begins. Cedar essentially looses his mind briefly. He starts speaking in tongues like a mini Glen Danzig on bath salts. Cora walks over and jams her doll’s bottle in his mouth which naturally turns into a full-on fight.)
Dad: Okay, hold on you two. Are we going to listen to this record or what?
(we start over)
(Cedar is dancing like mad. Cora is bopping up on the bed. After a few listens to the record.)
Dad: So what do you think Cedar?
Cedar: Good good good good good! (jumping up and down)
Dad: Really good huh? What do you like about it.
Cedar: Punk rock punk rock punk rock punk rock! (still jumping)
(cora is watching and laughing at him)
Dad: What does “Misfits” mean?
Cedar: I don’t know (he’s attempting to stand on his head)
(speaking at the same time)
Cora: Scairwee! (she just keeps repeating this, laughing the whole time.)
Cedar: MISS-F-F-F-Fits. “F” for farts. And Alvin.
Dad: (sigh) When you play it at 45rpm speed it does sound like Alvin and the chipmunks doesn’t it?
MISS-F-F-F-Fits. “F” for farts. And Alvin. —
Cedar Joaquin Muñoz
drummer, music critic, 4-year-old
Dad: The name of this band is Rodan.
Dad: That’s actually the name of a monster in old Japanese movies.
Dad: He was like a dinosaur monster.
(song 1, Bible Silver Corner starts and we listen for a little while)
Dad: So do you like this music? It’s kind of got some nice guitars and…
Cedar: No. It’s boring.
Cedar: It’s boring like when you go to work. That’s boring.
Dad: When I go to work it’s boring?
Cedar: Not you. Like homework. That’s boring.
Dad: You’ve never done any homework. You don’t even start kindergarten until the Fall.
Cedar: Nate (our neighbor who is 5) said it’s boring - numbers….letters…and farts. (starts cracking himself up with fart sounds)
Cedar: Dad can we wrestle?
(song 2, Shiner kicks in and he forgets about wrestling and starts jumping all around doing some kind of break dancing like floor moves)
Dad: (the song ends) So was that better than the first song?
Cedar: Yep. More faster.
Dad: What about…
Cedar: Dad are you going to throw me on the bed or what?
Dad: Oh, sorry. Coming right up.