By: Zachary Kolesar, In The Record Store staff writer.
Musicians are frequently queried by interviewers digging for biographical information about their musical upbringings at home. What albums were their parents throwing on the record player in their presence? What instruments were scattered throughout the house? How did their parents’ taste influence their tastes while they grew into adolescents?
When front man Joshua P. James, keyboardist and guitarist Jeremy Ebert and bassist Peter Mendenhall of Yellow Paper Planes stopped by to chat on In The Record Store, Mendenhall recalled his dad playing The Beatles from a very young age.
“Songs like ‘Yellow Submarine,’ they’re almost child-like in nature, something that catches you from a very early age,” Mendenhall said on the show.
Whenever someone mentions “Yellow Submarine,” it is a boost of nostalgia. It reminds me of the 87-minute animated feature that helped shape my musical childhood. It’s a dream-like fantasy played out on the big screen, scored by some of The Beatles’ smash hits and scores not heard before on record.
One of my fondest memories growing up was heading to and from my public library to rent the vibrant VHS time and time again. But the wide success and amusement elicited from the film stemmed from its crossover appeal between adults and kids; it was a movie that, at the end, I did not know if my dad or myself enjoyed it more.
Aside from “The Yellow Submarine,” The Beatles’ catalog consists of other tunes that can be equally enjoyable for all ages. It also helps that The Beatles’ music helped shape our parents’ generation, so it was only natural for those songs to also shape our childhood.
“There was a room in our house that we called the music room as kids, so we would go in there and he would play us different stuff and we would dance,” Mendenhall said on the podcast.
On a smaller and more modern scale, it has the same vein of parents posting videos of themselves on social media singing religious Chance the Rapper tunes. Although rap performs for a more mature audience, bringing Christian ideals into his songs allowed parents to plug in while their kids are present.
But even with all the great tunes that our parents instilled early on in our lives, there were always groups from our childhood that we hid from them. For Ebert, that record was Metallica’s “…And Justice for All.”
“I grew up in a religious family, so I snuck this record,” Ebert said on the show.
When it comes to laying out the biographical landscape of musicians, determining the influences of the music they make, one of the most useful places to start are their childhoods.