When I was a kid, I thought that all of the bands were actually at the radio station, playing live music that was then somehow funneled into our living room hi-fi.
It seemed rather complicated—difficult logistically. I couldn’t quite figure out how they switched to a new band between songs so quickly. Multiple studios? And wasn’t it kind of a bother to set up a whole stage for one song? I mean, each group was only at the station for, like, four minutes!
I recalled this last weekend, when Tom Petty, for whom I nurture a small obsession, turned up on the cover of Parade Magazine.
“Guess who this is?” I asked the chickens. Expectant grins. I threw them a hint. “He sings to us in our kitchen.”
“Tom Petty!” yelled Chicken Noodle. We’ve spent many a pajama-d morning dancing to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” Noodle can identify a Petty song in about two measures (Ah, the joys of indoctrinating one’s young in our own sweet obsessions).
Noodle greeted Tom’s image appropriately. She began kissing the page, landing passionate smacks all over his grizzled 59-year-old face.
Then she became puzzled. “Is he playing the music right now?” she asked, pointing at the Ipod and screwing up her face.
“Here’s how it works,” I said confidently, proud to explain what I’d finally figured out all of those years ago. “He plays the music in a studio and records it so that we can listen to it anytime, without him here, which is handy, because he’s famous and probably wouldn’t come to our house.”
“Oh!” said Noodle, missing the main point of my little soliloquy and instead clinging to a much better idea. “I know! Someday can he come and be our babysitter?”
Just putting this out there, Tom. I pay $8/hour. For you, I’d go $10. I know you’re busy, so you pick the night. We’re flexible.