Jeff Bogle fell in love with music long before he fell in love with his wife, long before his children were born. And luckily, he’s still passionate about all of them.
Just because it’s true doesn’t make it easier to swallow.
Music was there for me before my wife and her tender lips arrived on the scene beneath a lamppost, the January moon, and countless flakes of falling snow landed like glitter in her auburn hair, and certainly long before a pair of daughters flooded my life with scrap paper scribbles, double-sided sticky tape, a parade of dolls each named Rosie, and hugs so tight and true as to break my hefty 6’ 4” frame.
Should these three lovely people someday decide they’ve had enough of my quirks and mood swings, music will still be around to inspire and console. Although probably, in that precise scenario, not in that exact order.
On a different January—I had recently turned 18. My car idled in a Burger King drive-thru as I waiting for my chicken cordon blue sandwich, fries, and chocolate shake to be handed over through the tiny rectangular window. That’s when I heard it. That’s when I heard a college DJ on WPRB, Princeton University’s radio station, announce that The Afghan Whigs, a band I recently discovered by random accident on television, would be coming to a nearby town. This was way before the Internet, so I must’ve jotted the date, time, and place down on some piece of trash in my clunky 1st car. That show, in the worst part of an already miserable New Jersey city, would serve as my virginal experience as a passionate lover of live music.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen hundreds of concerts, most performed by small bands in smaller spaces. Even today, as I approach 38 years of age, I still walk in timidly, often alone, but quickly find a home inside the tattered walls filled with staples upon staples that could be carbon dated to reveal which concert posters they once proudly displayed: Bright Eyes ‘00, Fugazi ’96, Rufus Wainwright ’99 (hey I was at that one!)
My passion for live music is fueled by fist pumps and by the communal swaying left to right and back again. I am in love with the sound of guitars, discordant and angular and strange and beautiful. I am in love with impassioned singers spewing desperate poetry for the handfuls that showed up for the unknown opening act or stayed for the last band of a ridiculous four-band bill. I still believe that music can save my soul, and that musical discovery can keep me young, of heart and mind if not of body.
I’d be lying if it weren’t a part of my grand plan, to pass on this passion for great music to my daughters. But the way in which it happened is radically different than how I’d imagine. I started the first kid with the best—Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker. It was a master class 400 Level stuff. She didn’t balk at any of it, save for Dylan’s harmonica playing. Then, when she was a toddler, we explored the likes of Wilco and Josh Ritter—and went to see them live in concert together too. She soaked it in, the belle of the ball—smiling, dancing, and singing along with the catchy refrains. Then kindie music revealed itself to me and to us and ever since, with the exceptions of Brandi Carlile, Lots of Love, Boy and Jukebox the Ghost among a few others, it has mostly been music on her, and her younger sister’s terms. I’ve watched them both develop personal connections to lyrics that honor their specific experiences as children, the emotions of the music, and the double-timed drum part right…there! And fall madly in love with the way a certain singer stretches the last note of the final syllable in that one chorus. They adore music in that special way I do. They have the bug too, and my own passion for music has expanded into a passion for watching my children become passionate about it. That brings me almost as much joy now, to witness them become not a fan of a fad, but of artists who are going to be around after their new CD’s promotional cycle has run its course, to watch them grow up with those albums and seemingly chart their childhood through them.
But music is not the only bug they caught from me. They contracted my runner-up passion as well, that of far-flung travel, off-the-beaten-path adventure, and genuine assimilation into new lands and places. My girls have ordered their own croissants and hot chocolates in French and tested their limited Catalan in order to ride a 19th-century carrousel. They have paddle boarded for the first time on massive lakes, tobogganed around the snowy Pyrenees’ mountains, and strolled through street markets in foreign cities, embracing that special kind of nervous curious energy one derives from stepping outside their comfort zone of language, familiar hotel logos, and chain restaurants.
I’m every bit as passionate as I was as a young person, but now, the intensity of those experiences is heightened because of the passionate people I love who surround me every day, and who make my own musical and travel adventures more brilliant than ever.
What fuels your passion?
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nissan via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nissan.