Growing Up Grunge: Why I’m Grateful For My Dad’s Music Taste (February 2021)

Most of us reading HerCampus probably have Gen X parents. We lived the dream as young kids. Hot dogs and mac & cheese for dinner because it’s all our parents learned to cook in the ‘90s. Trips to the park in the double stroller. Raffi and The Wiggles blasting from a real stereo. Our parents shared stories about calling their friends on the landline, big hair at prom, and crazy nights at the drive-in movie theater. My upbringing was similar to those of my friends, but with a small twist. Instead of “Baby Beluga” blasting from the stereo, I rocked out to Pearl Jam and Nirvana as a toddler. While my friends were learning the ABC song, I was head-banging in my high chair. 

So this begs the question: ‘Abbs, why were you jamming to grunge in your Pampers’? My dad, Phil Murphy, is not only the inspiration for this article, but was my musical inspiration since before I could speak in full sentences. He consistently gave me and my brother lessons about great music when we were younger. He would play a Faith No More record, share a full history of the band, and why the song is important to rock culture. This guy should have a degree in ‘90s Rock Theory. Unless a song had an audible F-bomb, all hardrock was fair game. He would take me to Newbury Comics and carry me around the CD section. Four year old Abby wasn’t always the best listener, but she tried her best. This is why my first celebrity crushes were Zac Efron and Eddie Vedder (the early years of course!) 

Around the time I turned six, I decided I wanted to start singing lessons. I signed up for the children’s choir at my church. My dad came to every church concert that entire year and continued to attend my shows all the way through college. He has always been one of my biggest supporters. Little did he know that whenever I would get nervous before a concert, I would channel the creative, confident energy of the musicians that he played for me. All art has a purpose, even if no one else believes in it other than its creator. John Lennon to Chris Cornell, all started as dreamers. It was their drive to create something bigger than themselves that allowed them to eventually sell out stadiums. 

My dad often tells us stories about winning tickets to Lollapalooza ‘93 with his friend, Jason. Most of the concert attendees formed a giant mosh pit, so there was room right near the stage. He still talks about how cool it was to see his favorite bands up close. I hope to have similar stories to tell my kids one day. Flash forward to 2037, my children are listening to Kacey Musgraves and begging for new, weird robot music, written by Elon Musk. In addition to creative inspiration, rock and roll has always connected us as a family. My dad is responsible for creating the playlist for our annual trips to my Uncle Dan’s lake house. It is amazing how the music makes those trips so memorable. *Hey, Murphy’s! If you’re reading this, I miss you all!* 

So, I guess this article is a thank you. Thanks, Dad for bringing your music into my life.  Thank you for the social justice lessons from Rage Against The Machine. Thank you for inspiring my creativity from such a young age. Thank you to Gen X parents everywhere. You keep our bellies full of spaghettios and our hearts full of great music.

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