It’s August of 2010. Home before college kicked back into swing for the fall semester, I sat down inside my childhood house, patiently awaiting the latest mail delivery.

Online tracking tells me my present should arrive today. And when you pre-order an album, you want it to arrive now. 

It did.

At 1:04 p.m., the mailman beckoned, bringing a small manila envelope that contained songs, soul, and so much more pack onto a 4.7-inch-diameter disc.

Black Label Society’s “Order of the Black” arrived, and I was far beyond excited to pop it into our six-disc Sony changer1 in our basement living room. Dad was, too. I told him the package would be delivered today, and he patiently awaited the mailman’s knocks all the same.

I watched the carrier pull out, oblivious to what he just did. He dropped off a package — business as usual — but to us, a father and a son, he threw down a moment.

The CD now in our possession, there was only one thing to do: Put that sumbitch in, cozy up, and bliss out.

So that’s what we did.

Crazy Horse kicked off the evening’s festivities, and we were hooked. The introductory flange recalled Eddie Van Halen. The solo was pure Zakk Wylde goodness. His pentatonic speed-show and wide, sweeping vibrato dotted every phrase, but there was more, too. As a flowering guitarist, I noted this evolution.

What was it? That wasn’t the pentatonic box. Later, I’d figure out that lick.2 For now, we’d carry on.

Overlord cracked smiles, we already wore out Parade of the Dead — the album’s first single — on YouTube, then, a few tracks later, Southern Dissolution made us lock gaze.

The intro bleeds Black Label. Heavy riff + pinch harmonics … it doesn’t get much better.

… then the intro lead hits. Throaty and vocal, Zakk complements his riff with a rick, making things adding another dash of shugga to the mix.

“This is the one,” I told dad from my corner of the sectional.

Dad glanced my way, smiled, nodded, and kicked back.3

More songs came and went — underrated tunes like Godspeed Hellbound and January — but the moment was sealed. This was an all-time great listening experience.

Dad in one corner, me in the other. Speakers blaring. Mutual love for the artist at hand (ear?).

The music could’ve been horrible, and that August day still would’ve been so damn good.

That’s the beauty of music: Two generations with wildly different backgrounds united, bonded by love and by blood, hearing everything and experiencing it all as one. For an hour, we were nothing but a set of ears, put here to stop and listen. 4

Listen we did.

The album proved itself with the preorder, and the moment proved itself something better yet.

Thanks for listenin’ with me, dad.

  1. #Vintage
  2. Zakk actually responded on Twitter when I asked him the pattern there. Dude rules.
  3. Funny enough, this is nowhere near my favorite track on the album now.
  4. Anyone who has ever attended a live show has felt this. Go support local music, you hooligans. It’s a special experience. Now, maybe more than ever, we all need to stop and listen.