On Sunday evening, I received the following text message from my 22 year old son Riley, a college senior at UNC-Chapel Hill. I knew he was on his way to a spring break trip in northern Florida. (Now, before you read what’s below, imagine all the messages a college student on the way to a spring break trip could text: I’m arrested. Can you bail me out? Or I got in a wreck. Can you come get me. Or, worst of all: Mr. Davis, this is the hospital. We have your son’s phone and need you to come immediately.)
But no, none of that. Instead, this:
Riley: Yo, diddy (think “daddy” with a deep Southern accent). Plant or Bono? Who’s a better rock vocalist/frontman covering lyrics, vocals, showmanship, & stage presence?
Me: Bono, though it’s close. Gotta give a nod to longevity. You in Florida yet?
Riley: Almost. Me and (my friend) are talking about the seeding for a best rock frontman March Madness bracket. Plant, Bono, Mick Jagger, and Freddie Mercury would probably be the one seeds.
Me: Ya got 3 outta 4. Jim Morrison though I’m not a Doors fan.
Riley: Yeah, we said Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Ozzy, and Eddie Vedder as 2 seeds.
Who has time to think of this stuff?! But in those moments, of course, I was bursting with pride.
But pride inevitably leads to blogging. Which of course makes me come up with a list based on Riley’s ingenious March Madness Rock Frontman bracket. Here are my Top Five.
The voice. The sunglasses. The Time Magazine covers. The voice. The cool. The lyrics. The voice. The longevity. The bike accident in Central Park. The voice.
2. Bruce Springsteen.
He’s almost a solo artist and therefore disqualified, but a) the E Street Band is really a band; b) We won front row seats to a Lexington, Kentucky concert in 1988 and so really now what a performer he is; and c) it’s my list and I can do what I want.
3. Robert Plant.
Does anybody remember laughter?
4. Mick Jagger.
For all his flamboyance, his voice is truly under-rated.
5. Kurt Cobain.
Did anyone ever have a more beguiling mix of innocence and fatalism?