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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Word to the Mother (and to
AC/DC): October Edition of Ask the Rock Doc
Details, and, in some cases, the method of communication associated with the following letter may be altered, to protect the confidentiality of the distressed person.
Dear Rock Doc,
Just found your website. Wondered if you know what the initials AC/DC mean? I do believe in Christian Rock, but I am concerned about my daughter liking a band that sings "Highway to Hell". The Bible says what we put into us will come out. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" so I am concerned about my 13 year old being obsessed with AC/DC. If you have advice, please write. I really would really like to know what AC/DC stands for. Thank you for your time.
Mother crying "Mayday!"
Word to the Mother Crying "Mayday!" (From the Rock Doc):
First, here's my reply, in
I heard your "mayday" distress signal loud and clear. As a psychologist, I can assure you that "obsession," (even if it involves an obsession with something good or neutral), is not a good thing. It consumes one's world, creates an internal and external imbalance, and interferes with other activities required for emotional and spiritual growth and development.
I cannot rescue your daughter from AC/DC, but by my reply (along with the above song that I wrote and recorded just for you and your daughter), I will try to offer the two of you some sound advice. It is my hope that this reply, and the song corresponding to it, will be "instrumental" in directing your daughter away from the "Highway to Hell," and back to the straight and narrow road to righteousness-the highway to heaven, if you will.
In the strictest and most technical usage of the term, "AC/DC" refers to an appliance that works on either alternating or direct current. There is another slang definition of the term, and it refers to a bisexual person. To the best of my knowledge, the band has left listeners to guess as to which definition they had in mind when they named the band. I have heard a rumor that it is the latter, but I cannot confirm or deny whether this is in fact the case.
Quite frankly, I understand and can appreciate your daughter's interest and enthusiasm for the band, simply because few bands rock with such passion and intensity. Many of the band's songs have become classics, and such classics were recently featured in the hilarious, heart-warming movie, School of Rock, starring Jack Black. By rock 'n roll standards, this band really delivers the goods, including the bad side of the goods---the lyrics. I share your concern over your daughter's fascination with the band because I am distressed by the band's lyrics.
In Hell's Bells, there is no jingle, or ho ho ho, and no reference to Christmas or bells of a cathedral (though, believe it or not, I once heard it played by youth directors in a church, and not as a lesson on what not to listen to). On the contrary, in this song, the band seems to be siding with Satan, and pleading on his behalf, for the listener to join his cacophonous choir. In this hellish "hymn" the lead singer declares, "...Hells bells, Satan's calling to you..." The song, and the CD of the same title, Highway to Hell, seems to celebrate a reckless lifestyle fueled by similar Satanic sentiments. Furthermore, when I consider the opening lines to Given the Dog a Bone,
She take you down easy
I too, want to shield my daughter from the band. (Of course right now she's three months of age, and into songs like Three Blind Mice and Old McDonald, so I'm not worried yet). You Shook Me All Night Long is an infectious party standard, and the lyrics, though much tamer than the lyrics in Given the Dog a Bone, seem to glorify close encounters of the wild, impromptu, one-night-stand kind.
Is your daughter open to suggestions on great rock bands---Christian rock bands---that offer similar levels of intensity, only involving lyrics that are more edifying? If so, I have some good news. I recently consulted with entertainment writer, Danielle C. Belton, who is a local expert on all things pertaining to music, the arts, and entertainment in general, and she recommended two great Christian bands for your daughter: P.O.D. and Skillet. If you'd like to know more about P.O.D., I reviewed one of their CDs here:
In terms of a Christian band that sounds similar AC/DC, and parallels the band's incendiary intensity and passion, Phillip Prevost, Music Supervisor at Berean's Bookstore, suggested the band, 1988, who came out with a self-titled CD about a year ago. He has personally listened to the band (made up in part of former members of 80s rock band, Guardian) and notes a distinct similarity between 1988 and AC/DC in terms of musical style and intensity levels.
If your daughter has a mind of her own, (and most 13-year-old daughters do), I would recommend asking her if she would mind if you borrowed one or more of her AC/DC CDs. If she asks why (or, if she doesn't), say that you and The Rock Doc share some concerns about the lyrics. Then listen to the CD and write down the lyrics that disturb you most. After that, sit down and discuss your concerns with her. If there's anything you like about the band, share that with her first. Then share your concerns about the band, one by one, in an open, candid manner. As a parent, you may feel that it is your right to confiscate her CDs, or ban them from your household, and you may be right, but you probably won't win her over that way. I would save that as a last resort, if all else fails.
Based on your letter alone, I cannot say for certain that your daughter's "obsession," with AC/DC is a signal that she is in distress, or that is trying to fill some sort of emotional and/or spiritual void by getting into the music of AC/DC, but if you feel that is the case, I would recommend going with her to see a psychologist, a pastoral counselor, or some other sort of professional therapist. Otherwise, just share my song, and my concerns with your daughter, throw your own concerns into the mix, take two Aspirin, and call me in the morning J
If you are a musician or
a music-lover in distress (or a parent of either) contact Dr. BLT, the
Rock Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org