My parents were rockers, once upon a time. I can open wrinkled seventies photo albums and find grainy yellow photos. My Dad with long full blonde hair. My Mom in her boyfriend's plaid shirts. Their young love and vintage guitars.
Before I took my first breath I was attending band practice. Kicking hard and frequently as they cranked their amps and powered out hits that would never make it. Recorded on retro equipment they bought with construction and waitress wages. I was a cassette era baby. Missing the brief 8 track days and the single copy of the Steve Miller Band they played in my Dad's hippi van.
The first recording of my life was my first time home. My Mom looks young, tired, happy. I am red, wrinkled and cranky. My Dad reflectively plays his acoustic guitar on our old eggplant coloured couch. His little sister makes snide comments about how she's surprised he didn't bring his guitar into the hospital.
This is the world I entered. K-Rock on the radio, piano stencils on the wall. They changed as they got older, my parents did. They started listening to Wes King and Kim Hill through speakers they'd wired up around the house. But they'd already left a mark. I remembered Janis Joplin being tossed out the window during a fight on the highway. I remembered asking why Elton John thought rolling like thunder under the covers should be called the blues. I didn't know the names, but I knew that Billy Joel was a piano man, and that my Dad had played my Mom down the aisle singing that if the sun refused to shine, he'd still be loving her.
They instilled a love, a need, a craving. My Mom put me in piano lessons, but it wasn't for me. Well my home schooled friends strove to reach grade eight theory I saved for albums by DCTalk and Audio Adrenaline to play on the boombox my sister and I got for Christmas.
My little brother takes his cue from us, now. He develops his own taste for Linkin Park and Grits. Cranking rap and playing pool with his gangly buddies in a room with piano stencils on the wall. My Mom calls Seventh Day Slumber screamo and listens to Jennifer Knapp and Norah Jones.
My Dad plays guitar. The continuing and unvaried sound thread of my life. His fingers stir the strings creating the sound of security regardless of what he's playing.