Check out two news stories that broke yesterday involving irresponsibly indulgent parents and the musician children they love.
First, we have some band kids at Mesa's Dobson High School who got suspended after being busted for drinking beer on a band trip to China. The little losers were supposed to be playing their tubas while wearing funny hats, but instead they got their drank on after a tour guide (I imagine some poor Chinese guy who got fired as a result of this, bringing shame to his family for generations) presumably took pity on the little pock-marked bastards after noticing they lacked the courage to make awkward passes at the nerdy girls surrounding them. So, we can safely assume, he gave them some beers to chill them out but they got busted cuz they're lame like that. Rather than doing their time respectfully and humbly -- maybe getting a little street cred in the process -- the kids and their despicable parents sued the school to stop the suspension.
Thankfully, a judge threw the lawsuit out, so the brats will just have to get a little blemish on their permanent records. That seems pretty light. Who would complain if the state used the lawsuit as a reason to strip their parents of custody and put the little urchins in an orphanage, where they'd hopefully learn a little about personal responsibility?
What does this have to do with music, beyond the kids being band geeks? Let's look at yesterday's other totally ridiculous Millennial story, this one about the Van Halen reunion.
First, let me say that, like most right-thinking people who've successfully avoided consuming any Chernobly Energy Drink in the vicinity of a hot tub, I don't really give a shit whether the Van Halen brothers team up with their old singer David Lee Roth or not. I mean, seriously, is anyone expecting this to rock at all? The dudes are too old for Spandex and too proud to reinvent themselves as a bluegrass-y acoustic outfit, a la Robert Plant. So whatevs.
However, as both a taxpaying American citizen and professional critic of popular music, I am outraged by the band's decision to fire original bassist Michael Anthony so that Eddie's 19-year-old son, Wolfgang, can take his spot in the lineup.
Okay, look, I don't know how to put this delicately, so I won't try: "Wolfie," the son of Eddie and his ex-wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, is a fat little pig with bad skin who has no business being on stage with Van Halen. Letting him "play rock star" on huge stages is a travesty of embarrassing proportions. If VH wasn't already in rock's hall of fame I'd suggest they be banned, Pete Rose-style.
Can Wolfie play bass? Who cares? I'm sure he's competent. Because, really, who can't play bass? Fact: There are several trained apes playing bass in circus bands touring the country. They get way more chicks than Wolfie and they party way harder.
So why is Wolfie taking the place of a guy who was in the band for nearly 40 years? Because his daddy wants to pretend his special little son is talented or gifted or cool or whatever. Like those parents who sued their kids' school for suspending them after they were busted with booze, Eddie wants to teach his son to have no respect for anyone or anything.
They call this the Age of Entitlement. I'm not sure The Bubonic Plague II would be worse. It seems that when you're a Baby Boomer with money or power, your goal is to teach your asshat children to show nothing but utter contempt for your fellow man and the rules and standards that govern polite society. It's a horrible thing to see.
In this case, it's probably unstoppable. The little bastard already appeared in the Van Halen Guitar Hero game which, as others have noted, is completely ridiculous, and now the band is planning to include him in their big "reunion?" Disgusting.
This really seems to be a Boomer thing, too. Ozzy (born in 1948) isn't that much older than Eddie (born in 1955) but he never carried on like this. Sure, he got them some fame with the television show, but he never pretended they were worthy of joining Black Sabbath or anything.
Imagine for a second that Randy Rhoades was a more competent pilot: Do you think Ozzy would fire him so Jack could join his group? No way. Ozzy understood something these Boomers and their awful little offspring don't.
So what can you do? Well, you sure as shit should not support this joke on America by seeing Van Halen's upcoming tour.
Or, if you must, you should also send a check for a quarter of the ticket price directly to Anthony. Maybe he can use the cash to get a new ass-kicking band together. I hear there are some hard-partying kids at Dobson High in Mesa.