Classic rock or bust: What our interns think of their parents' music

And vice versa

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Classic rock bands are fond of saying that their crowds are filled with people of all ages. Sometimes you look around and that rings true. Other times not so much.

There's little doubt, though, that the bands from the boomer generation (like cover boys Steely Dan) have hung around a lot longer than anyone expected, and a lot longer than artists from previous generations.

Classic rock radio is a part of that -- in Pittsburgh, WDVE and 3WS regularly sit atop the ratings. So are commercials, soundtracks, video games and the vinyl collections (hopefully preserved) of parents who came of age in the '60s and '70s.

We asked summer interns from the PG to weigh in on how classic rock mixes into their playlists.


Albert Anderson, Brown University, senior

Classic rock you love: Zeppelin, Zeppelin and Zeppelin. But honestly there are a lot of classic tracks that I will routinely throw on the turntable in my dorm, favorites being Fleetwood Mac, the Steve Miller Band, the Rolling Stones and Neil Young. I think it's the hidden satanic messages in the vinyl that get me.

Classic rock you can't stand: Does ABBA count? I'm actually not a huge fan of AC/DC or Queen either, outside of a few tracks. Their popular stuff is too overplayed.

How you discover it: My parents mostly. Once I dove into the record cabinet a few years back I got more into it, but I've been hearing this stuff for years. It was only when I started listening to the actual albums instead of just the hits that I gained a real appreciation.

How you use this music on a playlist: I almost exclusively listen on vinyl, so playlists aren't really applicable. I do keep the classics separate on Spotify, though.

Formats you use: Vinyl, and streaming on Spotify to discover things I haven't heard yet or listen to things I don't own.

Do you feel like classic rock has been force-fed to you? Not at all. It's a bit too prevalent in advertising these days, but that's inevitable. No one ever pushed it on me. I was drawn to it through an evolution in my taste.

Current bands/artists you're into: Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, M83, Tame Impala, The Killers, Empire of the Sun. It should be noted my all-time favorite band is The Clash.

How do your parents react to YOUR music? They honestly have no idea what I listen to, which is fine by me.

RJ Schaffer, University of Florida, junior

Classic rock you love: The Doors. Their music is so incredibly different from anything else that was made at the time or since. I've liked Hendrix and The Who, but you can only listen to it so many times.

Classic rock you can't stand: Guns N' Roses. I just think they are so incredibly overrated. I can't stand Axl Rose's voice and think their songs are way overplayed.

How you discover it: Most of the old music I know is through my dad but not all. The first time I ever heard The Doors was because one of their tracks was on a Tony Hawk video game.

How you use this music on a playlist: It's too hard to mix any of it in. The only time old music is played in a social setting of kids my age is when we play '90s songs.

Formats you use: Mostly just MP3. A lot of Pandora. I never listen to the radio. It's mostly terrible. There's a lot of good music put out for free these days.

Memorable (or unmemorable) classic rock concerts: I saw Steve Miller Band twice when I was in middle school. It was rather boring and I was the youngest person there by 70 years.

Is classic rock too prominent? Somewhat. I'm sure I'll be vilified for this, but I've never gotten into The Beatles, Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. Some stuff is classic, but some is romanticized by those who grew up listening to it.

Current bands/artists you're into: The Strokes, Chance The Rapper, Arctic Monkeys, Pepper, Passafire, G. Love & Special Sauce, Theophilus London, Alabama Shakes, Kanye West, Cage The Elephant, Childish Gambino, Marrow, Mac Miller, Tame Impala and Vampire Weekend are prominent for me.

How do your parents react to YOUR music? Mom doesn't like any music. My dad and I are virtually identical in taste. I won't listen to some of his old stuff, and he isn't too into the rap/hip-hop I listen to.

Matt Nussbaum, Yale, senior

Classic rock you love: Although I risk being cliche, I really love the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. My parents are both more than willing to share their Rolling Stones concert stories -- apparently Mom and Dad used to be able to dance. I also love Jackson Browne for both the diversity of his music and his lyrical talents.

Classic rock you can't stand: Many of my mom's favorite songs are now a bit grating to me, although that might just be from over-saturation. Songs like "Ring of Fire" (Johnny Cash), "Kung Fu Fighting" (Carl Douglas), "ABC" (Jackson 5) and "Spirit in the Sky" (Norman Greenbaum) can only be listened to so many times.

How you discover it: Like most young people, my primary exposure to '60s and '70s music was my parents and the "Remember the Titans" soundtrack.

How you use this music on a playlist: I'll mix it in with all sorts of music, including stuff that isn't at all similar. The occasional oldie can make a great addition to a party playlist or a sleep playlist.

Formats you use: MP3.

Classic rock too prominent? No, I don't think it's prominent enough. So much of today's music is just noise (e.g. Justin Bieber, Drake); classic rock is real music, and that makes for a breath of fresh air.

Current bands/artists you're into: The Killers are my favorite band. Coldplay is also great, and Matt & Kim is a fun band. I think Imagine Dragons is definitely underrated. Alas, I won't deny that I like Taylor Swift's music. Unlike a lot of guys my age, I'm not big on rap, but whenever Kanye West comes out with new stuff I'll listen to it. His "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" album from 2010 remains one of my favorite all-time albums.

How do your parents react to YOUR music? My parents tend to enjoy the Killers and Coldplay. They will even tolerate T-Swift. Kanye, though, not so much.

Hayes Gardner, Grinnell College, senior

Classic rock you love: Would not consider myself a big classic rock fan, but I do love hits from REO Speedwagon, Bruce Springsteen, Journey, CCR and the Beatles. I guess I like all of them except the Beatles just because the singers have a kind of rough voice, but it's great.

How you discover it: Parents, radio. Often intertwined.

How you use this music on a playlist: I don't have any oldies on a playlist. I just listen to it when I'm feeling like it.

Formats you use: Almost exclusively iTunes.

Memorable (or unmemorable) classic rock concert: The oldest group I've ever seen is the Spin Doctors (early 1990s was their heyday). I love '90s rock.

Current bands/artists you're into: Really into late 1990s, early 2000s rock and the groups from that era still performing. Third Eye Blind, Goo Goo Dolls, Barenaked Ladies, Blink 182, Matchbox Twenty. I also like country.

How do your parents react to YOUR music? They tend to like it. I also like rap and hip-hop. They're less into that.

Eric Boodman, Yale, senior

Classic rock you love: Paul Simon's early solo records always seem to go somewhere both recognizable and new with his lyrics. And certain Stones and Dylan records (like "Highway 61 Revisited") have an energy that is still exciting 50 years later.

Classic rock you can't stand: Most recordings with string orchestra backup haven't really stood up.

How you discover it: Parents, friends.

How you use this music on a playlist: Mostly listening to whole albums.

Formats you use: MP3 on my computer, vinyl at home.

Memorable (or unmemorable) classic rock concert: Paul Simon in Montreal, with Jerry Douglas opening and doing a few songs with him, was incredible.

Current bands/artists you're into: I like a lot of current fiddle music, like Tim O'Brien, Brittany Haas and Bruce Molsky. I also find music by Beirut and Bon Iver pretty, but I don't listen to it all that much.

How do your parents react to YOUR music? They have gotten into the traditional Quebecois and Cape Breton fiddle music and some of the Balkan brass music, but they are not convinced by Georgian polyphony or by the Turkish Rom music. Sorry this is so obscure.

Kate Mishkin, Knox College, junior

Classic rock you love: The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Nirvana, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, Nick Drake, The Doors -- They're timeless and innovative melodically and lyrically.

Classic rock that's overrated and why: Most '80s music, anything that errs on the metal side. It was innovative and new for its time, but nothing special or new musically.

How you discover it: I discovered it from my parents.

How you use this music on a playlist: I mix it in with new artists, as long as it fits the theme of the playlist.

Formats you use: Vinyl, CDs or cassette tapes.

Classic rock too prominent? Sometimes it's overrated, but it's not too prominent. Some songs, however, are overplayed (Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," for example) simply as source music for films, which force-feeds music that wasn't too good to begin with.

Current bands/artists you're into: The Roots, The Shins, Neutral Milk Hotel.

How do your parents react to YOUR music? My parents are professional musicians and have a lot of contempt for most of my taste in current music.

Jordan LaBarber, Canisius College, senior

Classic rock you love: '90s: Counting Crows ("August and Everything After" is one of my favorite all-time albums), RHCP, Pearl Jam, Nirvana ... I like other eras, too, Guns N' Roses, Metallica and Zeppelin, The Doors. I'm all over the place.

Classic rock you can't stand: I think '80s glam is some of the corniest music ever made. I cringe at Def Leppard, and large groups of people singing "Don't Stop Believing" is one of my biggest pet peeves. I discovered classic rock in middle school from friends my age, actually. I was hugely into GNR. I mix it with new artists sometimes but most often listen within the context of an entire album.

Formats you use: MP3 mostly, although I own a ton of CDs.

Memorable classic rock concert: I saw Guns 'N' Roses last summer, which was great. Also I've seen Green Day twice; they put on a great show.

Is classic rock too prominent? I don't feel like it's too prominent. It has its place in history, and those who want to avoid it easily can.

Current bands/artists you're into: Hip-hop mostly: Drake, Kanye West and J. Cole are my favorite artists. Last non-rap album I really loved was "Some Nights."

How do your parents react to YOUR music? My mother doesn't understand that cursing isn't always a bad thing; I'll leave it at that.

Compiled by Scott Mervis, Post-Gazette

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