By: Katei Cranford
Dad-rock, dad-bods, dad-jokes. The list goes on. But what does it mean to be a dad in a band? To celebrate Father’s Day, 20 Triad dads dish fatherly advice on life as both performer and papa.
“It’s an interesting dichotomy: the pull of wanting to perform non-stop coupled with the desire of not wanting to leave,” said Brian Tyndall of The Mantras.
Similarly, Ken Fuller of Mr. Rozzi, laments the “precious time spent away.” He adds, “hopefully [my kids] will understand the sacrifice.”
Through it all, these dads strive to be living examples.
“I love being a role model, demonstrating music for my kids,” said Eric Mann of Basement Life. “Sharing music with them means a lot,” adds Kit Dean of Sissy Pants, “especially when they show interest in it for themselves.”
“Everything I do is a legacy to my son, he’s my masterpiece,” asserts Jaysen Buterin of The Malamondos. And it’s coming full-circle for Charles Kurtz of Breath of Ether, “my oldest is now playing the same venues I’ve played. I’m ecstatic.”
As a new dad, Tyndall is enamored, “I have a new ray of light within my heart and mind to focus on for solos.”
The ways fatherhood fostered creative-drive surprised these dads. For Larry Wayne Slaton of Old Heavy Hands, “it lit a fire under my butt to want to go above and beyond and make her proud of me.”
“I started taking music more seriously upon the arrival of my first son. He was the spark,” said Hunter Mcbride of The Wright Ave. Pat Brown of Tide Eyes echoes a similar sentiment, “fatherhood pushed me to play more shows, reach harder and really put it out there.”
Putting it out there as a dad is less of a struggle than it seems.
“I thought fatherhood would be the end of my music,” said Randy Seals of OPOTW Studios. “I was wrong.”
Scott Hicks of Totally Slow also approached fatherhood with apprehension, “like here we go: cargo shorts and soccer practice. But I realized I [didn’t have] to abandon the core of who I was just because I helped make a baby or three.”
“It’s been said many times before that having kids rearranges your priorities,” said Eddie Garcia of 1970’s Film Stock. “But that doesn’t mean you stop being you or stop pursuing your passion. Sure, it’s harder, but working to create something—to put beauty into the world—is a great example for a child to have.”
Song-content changes, too.
“I never thought I would filter my music until having kids,” said Jermaine Brown of ILLPO. Fuller agrees, “it makes me more conscious of the quality of my lyrics.”
“Having kids doesn’t change how I approach music, but it probably should,“ admits Gavan Holden of Basement Life.
“With all the craziness in the world, I worried about bringing children into it and what their future holds,” added Michael Joncas of Harrison Ford Mustang, “my lyrics began reflecting this concern.”
“There’s a lot more reflection in my songwriting and way more optimism than there used to be,” said Nate Hall of Old Heavy Hands. Hunter Good of Velvet Devils agrees, “I catch myself writing happier songs.”
“I’m writing a lot of songs for my youngest who’s been struggling with a serious neurological condition for the last four months,” said David McCracken of Donna the Buffalo, “seeing her creates desire to express my feelings musically.”
These fathers find inspiration in their children and relish having both critic and collaborative partners close-by.
“Having a little audience when I practice makes me even more aware. If I can make her dance there’s a good chance what I’m practicing is going to work when I get to my gig,” said J.J. Lone of DJ J. Lone. Good adds, “I won’t put much effort into an idea if she’s not dancing around when I’m playing.”
At the end of the day, band-dads are still just dads. “I thought [my kids] would think it was cool that their dad did something so different for a living, but nah,” said Chuck Folds of Big Bang Boom.
“Your father is always a goofball whether he’s an accountant or a rock star,” McCracken said.
To Hicks, “music comes natural. Being a good dad is a pursuit.” In that pursuit, good dads do the best for their kids. For Tim Haisman of False Prophet, “being a musician gives me an outlet to kind of recharge my batteries, which helps me be a better father.”
What makes a good dad varies as wildly as what makes a good musician. Thankfully, the Triad boasts an array of both.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music aficionado who’d like to wish her own dad a Happy Father’s Day in the great beyond and send a shout-out to Brad Morton, super-sick guitarist and the best dang pup-dad a girl could ask for.