John Espinosa Nelson explains why these young men absolutely rock, and in more ways than one.
This post originally appeared at Where Excuses Go to Die
The thing that thrills me about Malcolm Brickhouse and Jarad Dawkins isn’t that they play so well, or that they’re so determined to jam. What’s cool is their combined and individual grace. They clearly choose their words in a manner that best serves their intentions and goals rather than making them sound hip and defiant. And it’s almost as if you can see ‘em processing their way through adolescent confusion—without the defeatism that accompanies juvenile martyrdom. It’s called metacognition and it’s incredible to witness in kids this young—bonus that’s it’s too much metal for one hand.
I’m jealous. I certainly wish I’d been able to explain—even to myself— my own ideas and dreams so well at their age. I’m both enamored with Malcolm and Jarad and in admiration of them. Some may dismiss the heavy metal genre they’ve chosen (which would say more about the dismisser than the style preference) or the fact that it’s a kid holding the guitar. But these two are future lawyers, teachers, engineers, or future Vernon Reids or Greg Graffins, so it really doesn’t matter how they rock.
They just rock.
Still, some might assume Jarad and Malcolm are being played by parents aiming for fast cash or fame they couldn’t achieve themselves. And while that’s often a bullseye, the difference between a kid whose heart isn’t in it and a kid who is being pulled along by his heart is obvious. And not once in this video do we catch an adult speaking for either boy like a hovering stage-parent.
Jarad and Malcolm aren’t just processing their young emotions, they’re channeling their frustrations at being picked on in school through lyrics, stagecraft, and chords. They’re not making excuses for altercations, broken windows, or self isolation; they’re using viable tools to communicate what it feels like to be in their shoes. And they’re learning to derive pleasure from a sustained relationship with delayed gratification (i.e. practice makes perfect) rather than posing or primping. That’s rare in society generally — even more so among kids this age, who usually still need adults to teach them how it’s done.
Getting picked on for thinking for yourself is the worst thing ever, but fortunately for people like these two, it just strengthens resolve. It’s cool that Jarad and Malcolm’s outlet is rock ‘n roll, too, but if it were painting, chemistry, or anything else, I’d look up to them just the same. Most of us would. Nobody seems to be putting words into their mouths, but apparently someone has already instilled some quality coping skills. My fingers are crossed that the world around them doesn’t manage to undo their impressive drive and dedication, ’cause with the path they’re on, these kids can become some seriously heavy hitters.