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Guest Blog: Parenting Tips that I Learned From 80s Hair Metal


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The Rock Father is pleased to present a special guest blog from Phil Shepley of Dad Vs. Spawn

Who says that 80s hair metal was only about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll? Perhaps back then it was, but now it’s about so much more. It’s about being a parent.

Naysayers of the day thought that Judas Priest had the power to make kids commit suicide and that Ozzy Osbourne spent his off-time digesting raw pet birds. They were wrong. A good part of being a father is “wanting to rock.”

I realized this in the midst of a day when things weren’t going all that well, being-a-dad-wise. I was at the end of my rope, the kids were throwing tantrums, and there seemed to be no way out. That’s when a song magically emanated from the speakers via iTunes shuffle…

ps teslaSong: Hang Tough*
Artist: Tesla
Album: The Great Radio Controversy (1989)

Relevant lyrics:

Sometimes love can make you blue.
A heartache made just for you.
But you can’t let it bring ya down.
If you should stumble, if you should fall,
Pick yourself up off the floor.
Fight for what’s right and stand your ground.

You gotta give it your best shot.
Give it everything you got.
Oh, you gotta hang tough.
Hang tough. Hang tough.

In addition to inspiring this post, those words turned my day around. I became motivated to hang in there, tough it out, and show my kids who the boss was. It worked. Rock n’ roll saved the day. That’s when I got to thinking: aren’t there all sorts of great messages that can be found within the music that I came of age with, or did I really just throw away my money on cassettes by Warrant and White Lion? Obviously not.

Need more examples?

ps gnrSong: Welcome To The Jungle
Artist: Guns n’ Roses 
Album: Appetite For Destruction (1987)

Relevant lyrics:

Welcome to the jungle
We got fun ‘n’ games
We got everything you want
Honey we know the names
We are the people that can find
Whatever you may need
If you got no money, honey
We got your disease

I’m using this song as an example purely for the fact that it’s so easy. I mean, how does this not apply to parenting? From the moment you’re going to have a kid, you’re in the jungle. And if you survive preschool, you will have contracted at least three diseases; kids are germy. Also, get ready to spend an insane amount of time on your kna-kna-kna-kna knees.

Cleaning up toys, food spills, vomit, et cetera

ps cinderellaSong: Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)
Artist: Cinderella
Album: Long Cold Winter (1988)

Relevant lyrics:

Don’t know what you got till it’s gone
Don’t know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got
It’s just this song
And it ain’t easy to get back
Takes so long

Once you are a parent, your single life is gone. Long gone. Remember that time you griped about having to do dishes or taking the trash out before you even had kids? Do you recall life before children when you could really go out on a date without a care in the world? Do you remember the feeling of being able to spend a Saturday doing nothing but watching TV, with zero chance of a crying child? Those days are gone. Miss them yet?**

ps rattSong: Round and Round
Artist: Ratt 
Album: Out of the Cellar (1984)

Relevant lyrics:

Round and round
With love we’ll find a way just give it time
Round and round
What comes around goes around
I’ll tell you why

The wisdom of this song comes from the awareness that love will involve being repetitive. Then repeating. Then repeating. Then repeating. And so on. Take the simple lesson of how to teach a child to say “I love you,” for example. If kids popped out saying it, then I wouldn’t be here, telling you that these things take time, patience, and lots of going round and round.

ps judasSong: Living After Midnight 
Artist: Judas Priest
Album: British Steel (1980)

Relevant lyrics:

I took the city ’bout 1am, loaded, loaded
I’m all geared up to score again, loaded, loaded
I come alive in the neon light
That’s when I make my moves right
Living after midnight, rockin’ to the dawn
Lovin’ ’til the morning, then I’m gone, I’m gone

Pre-kids: partying it up after midnight, rebelling against everyone, making all the right moves, being really freaking cool.

Post-kids: headed out to Walmart at 1:30am for diapers.

ps metallicaSong: Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Artist: Metallica
Album: Master of Puppets (1986)

Relevant lyrics:

Welcome to where time stands still
no one leaves and no one will
Moon is full, never seems to change
just labeled mentally deranged
Dream the same thing every night
I see our freedom in my sight
No locked doors, No windows barred
No things to make my brain seem scarred
Sleep my friend and you will see
that dream is my reality
They keep me locked up in this cage
can’t they see it’s why my brain says Rage
Sanitarium, leave me be
Sanitarium, just leave me alone.

This one is pretty much self-explanatory.

Happy Parenting!

* NOT by NKOTB (NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK)… save that for a mommy blog on “how teen pop groups help me cope as a Mom.” Ed Note: NKOTB are touring this year.
** Don’t worry… they’ll be back, anywhere from 18 to 30 years from now. Ed. Note: Cinderella frontman Tom Keifer is doing his first solo tour in February of 2013.

This piece originally appeared on Dad Vs. Spawn and has been slightly enhanced for publishing on The Rock Father. 

Do YOU have any metal-related parenting stories? Share them with us in the comments section below! 

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