“I had a friend many years ago…One tragic night he died…The saddest time of my life…For weeks and weeks I cried…Through the anger and through the tears…I’ve felt his spirit through the years…I’d swear, he’s watching me…Guiding me through hard times…I feel it once again…It’s overwhelming me…His spirit’s like the wind…The angel guarding me…Oh, I know, oh, I know…He’s watching over me.” – Iced Earth (“Watching Over Me”)
The year was 2001, and the friend that died on a hot summer night in July was my dad. Today would have been his 71st birthday, and it would have been very memorable for him. Because of his special connection to 3-13, I can only imagine how happy he would have been to see 3-13-13 on the calendar.
Life has never been the same since his passing, but I have done everything in my power to keep his memory alive with my children. And even though they never met him, they feel connected to him through the stories that I’ve shared with them.
If not for my dad, Hard Rock Daddy probably wouldn’t exist today, but not because he was a hard rock music fan.
My dad never listened to hard rock music. Doo-wop was his music of choice, and he loved it with a passion – so much so that, in his eyes, no music recorded after 1964 was deemed worthy enough for his ears. Obviously, our musical tastes are vastly different, but his passion for Doo-wop gave me a profound appreciation for the genre. It is the music that I listened to until I was old enough to decide my own musical taste.
My kids have been raised as rock-and-roll children because of my influence. Even though they are starting to venture out on their own to listen to other music that they like, they still love the hard rock music that I play for them. If their musical tastes eventually shift towards other genres, my guess is that they will always appreciate hard rock music the way that I appreciate Doo-wop to this day.
The passion that I have for music was definitely influenced by my dad’s passion for Doo-wop, but the biggest influence that he had on me is how to be a dad. He was always the one to make us laugh, and I have done my best to keep his spirit alive by doing the same thing for my kids. Our house is filled with laughter. Sometimes is it just a silly joke or a goofy face that gets the ball rolling. Other times it falls more into the inappropriate category, kind of like Rodney Dangerfield’s character, Al Czervik, in Caddyshack. The phrase “Who stepped on a duck?” has been uttered on more than one occasion in my house, something that definitely would have entertained my dad.
My dad’s passing was, by far, the saddest time of my life. I was angry at the injustice of it all. To this day, there is a void that still exists, and it will be with me for the rest of my days. But “through the anger and through the tears, I’ve felt his spirit through the years.”
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my dad, but days like today I can think of nothing else. All I can do is pray that he is the “angel guarding me…guiding me through hard times…and watching over me.”