Guilt trips and playlists

Putting on my DJ hat for a second here, if there’s one thing that pisses me off to no end, it’s constantly getting pestered by my father to “play a song for your mother on your show.”

She died about a year ago, and while I sorta understand the [usually weepy] sentiment behind the weekly request, there’s a few problems with it:

1. I don’t do dedications on the Vampire’s Ball. Even if I play a song because I’m thinking of a specific someone, usually I won’t mention the reason. [Yeah, there was an exception when I added a block of Nachtmahr and Combichrist and gave my little anti-PC rant on a show at the end of May, but that’s because a certain incident was big news in the scene at the moment, in retrospect I probably should have simply played the tracks without saying anything, but on the other hand I’m not one to keep my mouth shut].

Which is to say, I never do the “this track is going out to…” thing. Can’t stand it. My show’s about mood and texture, not explanations.

2. The show’s also about a presentation to an audience. No one in my family listens to the show, none of them ever have – they don’t listen to industrial or any of the other genres I play. It’s a little bit like when the National Review capitulates to the demands of leftists and fires one of their writers [as has happened twice this year] – utterly pointless because they’re acting to placate people who are not now, never have been, and never will be part of their actual audience.

Or maybe a better analogy would be if a bunch of teeny-boppers request-bomb a heavy metal satellite radio station demanding they play the latest Carly Rae Jepsen single. Ain’t happening, because it’s really not a relevant request.

3. Usually I keep shit going on in my non-musical life to myself, maybe it’s the 25% WASP DNA I have, dunno, but I figure people aren’t that interested for one thing and I’ve never been one to share non-pertinent details. Work is work, family crap is family crap, friends’ stuff is friends’ stuff. No need to overlap unnecessarily.

4. Even if the prior three points weren’t true, exactly what the fuck would I play for my mother? She hated industrial. She hated all the music I like and play. She probably didn’t like any of my maQLu work either, but never said so directly. [One part trying to be supportive, three parts my work got legitimized in my family’s eyes when I got a couple sentences in the Province in 2010 reviewing Black. Go figure.]

My mother liked Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, John Denver, and their ilk. Not exactly anything that I would be playing on my show.

So, playing a song she liked that fits the show would be impossible.

I think for about five minutes she almost sorta liked one Jakalope song until I told her it was Dave “Rave” Ogilvie’s band, and she absolutely fucking hated Rave – never met him, of course, but she knew he had something to do with the Unholy Trinity of Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, and the much-despised Skinny Puppy, so after that, she added Jakalope to the “Bands Pyra Likes That I Despise” list. Plus, he’s one of my music industry friends, and she generally never thought highly of any of them. Every time I had a session where I was assisting Rave [Left Spine Down’s Caution, The Rabid Whole’s Refuge, Raggedy Angry’s How I Learned To Love Our Robot Overlords, and I sat in on some of the mixing of Jakalope’s Things That Go Jump In The Night though I wasn’t an assistant] Mom always managed to find fault there somehow and it was always his fault because, well, he’s the one from Skinny Puppy.

No, it’s not logical, it’s just the way she thought.

If I’d been putting in 20 hour days at the studio with some other project [especially if it was “nice” music] she wouldn’t have complained, and in fact when I was running for 16volt on the mix session for Beating Dead Horses, that was totally fine. 20 hour days when I was a student at Nimbus between working on my own music, going to class, and helping out on The Thick Of It’s session? No problem! [probably because she didn’t know Bill Kennedy used to work with Nine Inch Nails…]

And of course, Skinny Puppy may not get played much on the Vampire’s Ball these days as I’ve moved focus to more up-and-coming artists instead, but it’s an incestuous little gene pool we swim in. Never mind “six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” industrial music is all “two degrees of Skinny Puppy.” And “three degrees of Trent Reznor.” And she always thought there was something sinister about the Germans like KMFDM and Rammstein and the rest of them. So the whole TVB playlist is out.

And if there’s no industrial/electronic acts or songs she liked, is there any point in playing something of that ilk that maybe references death or mourning? eg., “Afterlife” by Front Line Assembly? I don’t see it, really.

It’s always been pointed out that any grieving and mourning rituals are all for the living, not the dead. Whether there’s nothing but oblivion after death or whether there’s an afterlife or a rebirth, the fact is my mother is not listening to my show in death any more than she did in life, and I’ve always been fine with it that way.

And playing a song for my mother as per my father’s request is really for him, but he doesn’t listen and wouldn’t appreciate anything on my playlist either. So what’s the point?

Of course, telling him will just provoke conflict and worse guilt trips.

No, I just do the usual “uh huh, sure, OK.” And then program the show the way I was going to anyway.