Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy Dislikes the Term ‘Dad Rock’
And his son Spencer dislikes the pejorative genre label even more
Certainly no one can argue with the technical accuracy of calling Jeff Tweedy “dad rock” these days, considering that he’s literally in a band with his friggin’ son, but the implications continue to irritate the singer/songwriter. Jeff and son Spencer sat down with Esquire recently to discuss their eponymous group’s new album, balancing their familial relationship with their professional one, and of course, the dreaded “dad rock” label, which has plagued Tweedy as the lead singer of Wilco for nearly a decade now. Says Jeff in no uncertain terms:
I remember the first time it was said about Wilco. It was particularly unflattering and hurtful. It was a Pitchfork review for Sky Blue Sky [in 2007]. I had never heard that term or seen it and I was like “Ouch. Wow. Okay. That’s not very fair.” I don’t know what you can do about somebody calling you something. You can’t win.
Upset as Papa Tweedy may be about the term’s usage, little Tweedy gets even more irate, adding:
It just really bothers me because it’s so dismissive…it discredits the reality of Wilco records. They’re just making music, they are real people, it’s not a faceless entity marketed to Banana Republic-wearing dads. It’s just annoying that something so apart from the music has come to be such a prevalent thought.
Of course, as Jeff says he has reminded Spencer, Wilco has never been that cool anyway (“We were cool for like a record, but there was never an overarching desire or goal of being cool”—he’s gotta be talking about the More Like the Moon EP, right?) and “dad rock” is hardly the worst thing they could be called.
It is a pretty silly term anyway, and needlessly prejudicial against dads (who, let’s be honest, are basically pretty great), so for the next rock act who comes along for whom you can picture the in-studio fannypacks when you hear them, let’s all be less hateful with our genre appellations, huh? Lest they turn the tables and start dismissing our younger bands as “son rock,” anyway.