11-Year Old Aidan Steals Hearts At A Steel Panther Show, But Not Mine
A couple of days ago a video surfaced of 11-year old Aidan Fisher challenging Steel Panther's guitarist to a solo via a fan-sign and was called onstage to put his money where his mouth was. While most bloggers are flipping out about the kid's skills (which are definitely impressive) I'm gonna take a different stance today because this struck a nerve. But before I launch into my (hopefully short) schpiel, watch the NSFW videos below..
And from the backstage angle, rolling a few seconds before Aidan was brought up onstage...
I mean just the title of the first video is enough to make my eyebrows go up and my heart sink! The words 'explicit' and '11-year-old' together in the same sentence... Interesting though that Chris, Adian's dad made a censored video too which between both videos have garnered over 2 million YouTube views as of this writing, most of which went to the clean version. Call me old fashioned but even though I can swear like the best of them and have lived the rock star life away from home, I wouldn't DREAM of taking my kid to see a band who're known for singles like "Party All Day (F*** All NIght)", even WITH a parental disclaimer in the car on the way to the show about what my kid was about to witness. If it's 'not safe for work', it's not safe for little ears and eyes either, and arguably our own really.
To me, his 15 minutes of fame felt like a pie that's been pulled out of the oven prematurely... It smells good but you can't eat it yet because it's NOT READY. Kids these days grow up in search of fame because we adults WORSHIP these people. Playing music is supposed to be about pure unadulterated emotion whether it's just you alone, or if you choose to share your gift. While the attention is a by-product of the scene, it shouldn't be the drive. I mean, what 11 year-old makes a sign that challenges some celeb to throw down? I guarantee you that this wasn't his idea because if it was, the kid's already lost.
As a music teacher I've seen his type before or more importantly his parent's type. So many otherwise promising students get totally stroked about their skills by everyone around them and as they grow up, they are increasingly prone to fall for the same praise from well-meaning spectators who unfortunately aren't music experts. Too many of these kids end up sporting a huge sense of entitlement and self-importance to go along with their ripping solos (which is EXACTLY the kind of men who brought him onstage). But then again, we wouldn't be musicians if we didn't like the attention at least a little, but it's such a tough balance between sharing your gift and not letting your ego take over. Most musicians can't strike it and end up on one end of the spectrum, either being total tools or way too humble, so much that they don't know how good they really are. But on the other hand, rock stars wouldn't exist were it not for inflated egos.
Aidan's now been onstage with a national act before he even hit puberty and obviously looks up to those guys. His dad was quoted as saying that music is a better addiction than video games and while that sounds pretty good on the surface, I sure hope that all of the other addictions that come with being a performing musician pass his kid by as he ages such as easy sex, drugs, alcohol, empty praise and a string of broken hearts in his wake. After all, here are Aidan's words following the show...
“I felt like I wanted to be a rock star and this is what I want to do for life... I want to start a Van Halen tribute band and make our own songs and albums and become really big.”
Ugh... It just kills me, but instead of ranting any longer, I'll leave you with these final thoughts specifically for Aidan and his dad in case they happen upon this article...
To Aidan - Just make music, man and bloom where you're planted and if the fame comes, it comes. Be happy making a difference in your community (and to yourself when no one is watching) and find the joy in the small things. If you forever stay a big fish in your little pond, embrace it, the world hasn't passed you by. Enjoy the praise from fans but take it for what it is. Seek out the opinions of guys who really know their stuff (like your teachers) and place more value on criticisms from them than the praise of fans who think you can do no wrong.
To Aidan's Dad - Kudos for encouraging your kid in music as so many kids (including my own) falter in the video game department. I'm excited that you're proud of your boy and I would be too if I saw my boy rock it on any platform, much less a national one, but for God's sake throw some better role models at him than Steel Panther and don't take him to unwholesome shows like it's no big deal. He likes those guys because you do and while I'm not suggesting throwing the baby out with the bath water, try to shield him from the dark side for as long as humanly possible, because it's REALLY dark and very, VERY real.