Sunday marks the premier of my son’s new internet radio show. I really didn’t think I’d be making this announcement so soon. He’s only 5.
The Devo Radio Show, which airs at 5 p.m. Sunday on Plaza Midwood Community Radio, isn't really a kid's show. It just happens to be hosted by a kindergartener who has such a deep knowledge of rock n’ roll that, once a friend at PMCR clued into it, it seemed only natural for him to share his passion and interest and get some broadcasting experience.
I can see where you might think, "Oh, this woman is clearly humoring her child," but I had almost nothing to do with the show getting on the air. Devo chooses all the music, does all the commentary - aside from his brother introducing his pick - and my husband records and edits it to fit in an hour block. You see if you let him, Devo will go on and on about the Who, the Ramones, Kiss, Neon Trees, Cage the Elephant, Rancid and whatever other band he’s into, naming dates, band members, and other facts he's memorized.
I guess I did have something to do with that.
When I found out I was pregnant with him I started keeping a journal where I recorded what concerts I went to and what I was listening to as I was writing - usually on Shuffle to get an even mix. After he was born I kept it up, making iPod mixes and seeing what songs resonated with him. I continued this process for his little brother, who has much more eclectic tastes (ABBA, Phantogram and Against Me! are favorites). I considered it my unscientific study of how what we hear as infants and toddlers inform our tastes as adults. I’ll continue this “study” as he grows up.
He is a mini me in a lot of ways. I began teaching him rhythm listening to Alkaline Trio’s "Calling All Skeletons" in his car seat at about 18 months. The first things constantly on repeat and performed in our living room were "Run" by a rocking hip-hop duo called the Knux and "Diane" by the defunct Chicago power pop trio Material Issue. The latter was because his teacher was named Diane and I started singing it to him one day. That’s all it takes.
Blur’s “Song 2” popping up on Shuffle led to an obsession that included naming action figures after the band. He pontificates about the stronger versions of certain Blur tracks (remix vs. original, seriously).
I was singing "Rockaway Beach" in anticipation a beach trip and that opened the floodgates. He became Joey Ramone. He wore nothing but jeans and t-shirts for a few months. I had to buy him a leather jacket (fake of course). Our family dressed as the Ramones for Halloween. And when asked if he’d rather go to Disney or make a pilgrimage to see the Ramones' graves, he - in all seriousness - chose the Ramones.
That’s just scratching the surface. His latest obsessions are Kiss and the Who (the former sparked by this summer's Kiss Tour). If you saw our Halloween pics on Instragram (yeah that's us), that pretty much sums it up (it's done wonders for my makeup skills).
His interest in music, which also includes playing drums, guitar, and taking piano lessons, has also helped him learn how to read (googling bands), do math (calculating ages and birth and death dates faster than I ever could), and about geography (through mapping tours and reading about where acts are from).
I never expected when I logged my first journal entry about realizing I was pregnant at Bonnaroo and keeping it to myself until after the Cure show when we got home, that the “experiment” would lead to a 5-year-old with a radio show. The most important part is that he seems to be having a blast doing it and it's given him something he and his dad can share (my husband's still hoping for the day Pink Floyd is on the playlist).
Tune in Sunday at 5 p.m. EST.
(Photos courtesy of Courtney Devores and Lauren Marlowe)