With Father’s Day only 103 days away, now is a good time to think about how some dads truly step up in trying to shape and nurture the artistic inclinations of their children. And, more importantly, how Coldplay’s Chris Martin is currently blowing it big-time.
First, the heroes.
Consider the way GG Allin’s old man led his kid down a path that included making 17 full-length albums, a half-dozen EPs, and countless singles. Thanks to his dad, Allin had a respected feature film made about him (Hated) and perfected a live performance style that saw him, in no particular order, punch his fans in the face, cut himself to ribbons with broken beer bottles, and not only evacuate his bowels on-stage, but also fling his feces at audiences like the performance-art equivalent of a monkey in the zoo.
For all this he can thank his father.
Merle Colby Allin bestowed up the future GG the birth name Jesus Christ Allen and then raised him in a log cabin with no running water or electricity, frequently threatening to kill the whole family and then bury everyone in the cellar. Merle (who basically hated everyone and everything, allowing his family little contact with the outside world) chose the name Jesus Christ after the world’s original beardo visited him and suggested his son would be a messiah.
For those obsessed with 2 Girls 1 Cup, self-harm, and beating up random strangers, GG Allin was indeed that, earning him a deserved place in the punk-rock hall of fame.
Then there’s Kurt Cobain, who spent his entire childhood bouncing between his mother and by-all-accounts largely disengaged father. The lack of any sort of parental guidance from the parent with a penis tormented the future Nirvana singer right up to his death. And that overwhelming angst and general self-loathing turned him into one of rock ’n’ roll’s most fabled icons.
Recognizing he owed everything to the man who didn’t really raise him, Cobain started out Nirvana’s best and final record, In Utero, by paying loving tribute to Donald Leland Cobain. As moving as the opening lines of “Serve the Servants” might be (“Teenage angst has paid off well/Now I’m bored and old”), they are nowhere near as grateful as what comes later: “I tried hard to have a father, but instead I had a dad.”
And let's not overlook the timeless ode to absenteeism that is Ugly Kid Joe’s classic “Cat’s in the Cradle”. Anyone that thinks that group was nothing but a bunch of ‘90s also-rans isn’t paying enough attention the poetry of William Whitfield “Whit” Crane IV and his lyrics. When's the last time anyone wrote anything approaching the greatness of Crane IV's “When you coming home, dad?/I don’t know when/But we’ll get together then/You know we’ll have a good time then.”
With Father’s Day on the horizon in just four short months, that brings us to the parent who, instead of inspiring his child, is proving a complete failure.
Most of us know Chris Martin as one of the nicest fellows in rock ’n’ roll. And, to be fair, instead of spending all his time sucking back smoothies with Dakota Johnson in Vancouver, the English mega-star at least pretends to be somewhat involved in the life of Apple.
(Apple, by the way, is the name of his daughter, not part of a Malus sieversii lineage that leaves you trying to decide between golden delicious, spartan, and mackintosh at Safeway.)
Yesterday, Martin’s ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow took to Instagram to post a clip of Martin trying to support the artistic aspirations of 13-year-old Apple by teaching her guitar.
There are many legends one might expose a child to in order to ensure maximum proficiency on the six-stringed instrument moving forward: Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and/or Eddie Van Halen.
Instead, Martin decided to guide his daughter through a Beatles song.
As if his picking the Beatles wasn’t bad enough, he goes above and beyond in his efforts to show he isn’t overly invested in Apple’s future by trying to teach her “Blackbird”. That’s right “Blackbird”, where a father who actually gives a shit would opt for “Strawberry Fields” or “Eleanor Rigby” or “I Am the Walrus”.
As you will see below, epic fail. Luckily, Father’s Day is on the horizon and it’s not too late for a parenting manual.