Kid Rock 

Confession time. I used to be sort of…cool. I tell you this with some trepidation only because when I try to convince my teenage stepdaughters of this fact, they basically guffaw in my face.
Confession time. I used to be sort of… cool. I tell you this with some trepidation only because when I try to convince my teenage stepdaughters of this fact, they basically guffaw in my face.

The truth is, though, that during my college days in Athens, Ga., I hung with some of the most revered names in alternative music history. I spent many an evening backstage at the famed 40 Watt Club, traveled with bands to “sell T-shirts” at their gigs (the easiest way to get into a bar without being carded), and even sang backup in a reggae band called The Good Herbs. (OK, that last one wasn’t cool at all, but it paid well, so shut up.)

My cool quotient was sorely tested when I abandoned the music scene for the cheap plastic world of television news. There was only so much hell I could raise when I had to report to work at 3 a.m. to make happy talk for Columbia, S.C.’s morning show. Besides, their idea of cool was some guy named Hootie, whose music sucked ass.

Once I moved to Nashville, I had every intention of restoring my cool. Instead I had to go and fall in love with a guy who convinced me that marriage and a house full of kids were far more fulfilling than landing tickets to a last-minute White Stripes concert. He was right, of course, or so I keep telling myself. But I still yearn sometimes to lose myself in the sounds of loud guitars and thumping beats. I still want to feel bodies hurtling against mine in a mad push to get to the stage. I still want to lock eyes with the lead singer for one long moment and know we both get it. And that’s why I threw caution to the wind last Sunday night and did all of those things.

The rockers who took the stage that night reminded me a bit of my favorite live act, Old Crow Medicine Show, both for their raucous, foot-stomping energy and for the crowd of overall-clad kids who danced madly before them. But these kids weren’t slumming Vandy students; they were preschoolers, enrolled at The Temple Playschool in the heart of Belle Meade, and they were watching their music teacher and his band play songs from their newly released CD, Adam and the Couch Potatoes. Yeah, I know, it wasn’t exactly what you were expecting, but I’m a mama now. I take what I can get.

“Doodle, doodle, doodle, doodle, di do do…hanging from the monkey bars,” band leader Adam Selzer sang, backed by a crew of five singer/musicians crazily dressed. Their sticky audience went wild, strumming inflatable guitars and blowing on plastic trumpets with spaghetti sauce-ringed lips. Behind them, I smiled and tapped my foot, looking down at my dancing 3-year-old daughter, whom I’d brought along for the show. And that’s when I was smacked in the side of the head. Hard.

What the…” I started to say, grabbing at the blow-up guitar that bobbed before me. A cherub-faced little boy grinned wickedly at me. I looked around quickly for his parents, then leaned closer. “Do that again and this guitar gets popped,” I said in a low voice, squeezing it menacingly before handing it back to him. Eyes wide, he scampered off.

Admittedly, the band was playing for a tough crowd. The preschoolers were every bit as interested in a stray balloon that floated tantalizingly just over their heads as they were in the music, and their parents chatted loudly throughout the set, often not even bothering to clap when a song came to an end.

But I have a feeling that these kinds of shows will be the sort of thing the band members laugh about later when they’re rich and famous, because let me tell you—that Adam and the Couch Potatoes? Totally rawk. I hate to gush, but as any parent who’s been subjected to the aural torture contained in most kids’ CDs knows, tolerable children’s music is a big deal, particularly when it’s local. I would call Adam’s band a cross between They Might Be Giants and The Polyphonic Spree, and one listen to their CD was enough to put their songs on continuous play in my mind for days, which was a welcome respite from the Tahra Time theme song that normally makes me crave a good, stiff drink at 9 in the morning.

“Parents are the very first to introduce their kids to music,” 24-year-old Adam explained to me afterward. “It should be good music.” He has the look of a bright-eyed, slightly mad Boy Wonder, and the vision to go with it. He says Adam and the Couch Potatoes are more than just music. It’s a lifestyle, one that he hopes will someday include dolls, toys, music videos, movies, live tours and, ultimately, Total World Domination. “We’re young,” he told me hopefully. “We have the rest of their lives to make this happen.”

I’m thinking The Wiggles might as well hand in their primary color turtlenecks right now. Mommy’s got her cool back.

Check out to hear Adam and the Couch Potatoes and view their live show schedule.


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