It’s Not Three-One-One. It’s Three-Eleven. Who Knew?

I hit an important milestone as a father last week.  It was inevitable, but I was trying to hold it off as long as I could.

As of last week, I am officially and completely out of touch with the music my son listens to, so much so, that I embarrassed myself in front of his friends.

The Band 311

My wife and I bought tickets for our son and friends to attend a concert for his birthday.  Last week, I was driving my son and his friends somewhere (probably to the mall).  Trying to make conversation and trying to show I was cool, I said, “So, you guys are going to see Offspring and Three-One-One next week, right?”

The next thing I know is there is snickering in the back seat, and my son turns to me from the passenger seat and says calmly, “Dad, it’s Three-Eleven.”

How was I supposed to know that the band 311 isn’t Three-One-One, but Three-Eleven?  Couldn’t it have been Three-Hundred-Eleven just as easily?

This had never happened before.  There are no such pronunciation issues with Offspring or Avenged Sevenfold or System of a Down or Gogol Bordello.  There are spelling issues with bands such as Gorillaz, but I never really write these band names down.  There are also odd moments, such as when I asked my son if he knows who Nikolai Gogol was.  No idea of course.

This scene of “dad-trying-to-be-cool-embarrassment” repeats itself generation after generation.  The other night Jay Leno explained how his dad always talked about “The Rolling Beatles.”  Parents of my generation often referred to “Earth, Fire and Wind” or “REO Stationwagon” and were thoroughly confused by the Who, the Guess Who, and Yes.

The closest thing to my gaffe that I recall was when a parent pronounced R.E.M. as one word that rhymes with hem and gem and them.

Led Zeppelin IV

Within days of this happening, however, my son helped me forget my naming mistake and made me very proud.  He came bounding up from our newly renovated basement and said, “Dad, I just played Led Zeppelin through the new speakers on one of your records.  Stairway to Heaven is beast mode.”

That’s right – beast mode.  That’s a very positive comment.  Trust me.  I almost cried.