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33 Musical Dads Discuss Fatherhood

June 19, 2011  |  12:00am
Murray Lightburn
The Dears

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Name and age of your kid:
Neptune, 5 years, 8 months.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
Other than logistical aspects, like, having to shut down the studio to go pick her up from school, it hasn’t changed much. And I’ll still write all hours of the night and wake up a few hours later and make pancakes on a Saturday morning if I have to. Touring is a bit more complicated but she actually looks forward to putting up all kinds of stickers in her bunk on the bus or whatever. In any event, the kid is such a deep part of my existence that life before her seems… like… my life only began the night she was born. I’m dead serious.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
...is having a legit excuse to not go out and get shit-faced because ‘so-and-so’ is in town.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
...is having to go out and get shit-faced because ‘so-and-so’ is in town.

What does your kid think of your music?
When she was a little tiny baby, the only thing that would work when she cried her lungs out was Gang Of Losers. Before “Sinthro” was over, she would be out cold. Every time. Parents with newborns: try it. Nowadays she’ll ask to listen to whatever I’m working on in my headphones, which is pretty cool.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of her current tastes?
She really likes the “Strawberry Shortcake” song. We sing it to each other as if it’s a show tune. Never too early to teach them to emote a little while singing.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has she responded?
I wish my parents dumped me into violin lessons when I was kid. One day she’ll thank us—and wished she practiced more. When she’s ready to sit and listen to records and pick stuff out, I’ll be right there with her.

Dayve Hawk
Memory Tapes

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Name and age of your kid:
Aida, age 6.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
Being a father has given me something more legit to focus on. Being a musician is admittedly a pretty self-interested, juvenile sort of pursuit. I think having a daughter has helped me to focus on the worthwhile aspects; just trying to be creative and sincere… and pay no mind to all the bullshit that surrounds what I do. I genuinely don’t care what people think of me and that comes from Aida’s effect on my priorities.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
I (mostly) work from home and have gotten to be such a bigger part of her day-to-day life than I would have otherwise.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
Tour… it hits her really hard. I guess the flip-side to my being around so much is that when I’m gone, I’m really gone. It’s a large part of why I play live so little.

What does your kid think of your music?
She loves it. I sing her to sleep most nights and she always asks me to sing my own songs. I usually avoid it because I don’t write the most pleasant lyrics, and she has to make due with Beatles and Kinks songs.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of her current tastes?
Her favorite band is Black Sabbath. We rarely make a car trip without listening to one of the first five Sabbath records. I’m definitely a fan but could do with a little more variety. Ultimately though, when I see her friends in their Justin Bieber t-shirts I know I have nothing to complain about.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has she responded?
Music is definitely a huge part of our household but I really am not interested in pushing her to be like me. If she asks me how to play the piano or something, I’ll show her; but I don’t pursue it any further than she does herself.

If not, what is she interested in doing instead?
It’s always changing: right now she’s really into cooking. We make bread together a lot and she likes to pretend she’s running a restaurant so there’s always scribbled menus and bills hanging around the house.

Marc Broussard

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Name and age of your kids:
Gavin, age 8; Gibb, age 5; Evie, age 4; Ella Grace, 3 weeks.

How does having children and being a father change the way you approach your career?
Well, I don’t party quite as hard as I once did. I think the experience of fatherhood and the transformation from boy to man to father has shaped everything about my thought process and thus, my writing process. Essentially, being a dad changes you as a person, and for a guy like me, who writes from personal experience, fatherhood is inextricable from my music.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
The time at home is high quality. When I’m home, I have no other obligations. That probably wouldn’t be the case if we lived in an industry town, as opposed to South Louisiana, which is why we’ve stayed down here in the bayou.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
The time away tends to be exhaustingly long. The summer tours go on for 6 weeks or more. I grew up on water skis during the summer and, as a dad, I want my kids to have those same memories, but I work all summer. I just miss being able to hug and kiss my wife and kids on those long runs.

What do your kids think of your music?
My kids are my biggest fans. They regularly request my music in the car. When I bring new mixes home, we all dance in the living room together. They love it.

What kind of music do your kids currently enjoy? Do you approve of their current tastes?
My kids are still pretty young so they haven’t had much opportunity to buy new music on their own. However, given the chance to explore my library of music, you can usually count on hearing Michael Jackson or Earth, Wind and Fire. I approve.

Have you attempted to immerse your kids in music? How have they responded?
I pay attention to their singing voices from very early on. I remember Gavin matching pitch when he was just 10 months old. It blew me away. It’s hard for me not to push them hard when it comes to music. I know what it takes to be great and I don’t want them to make half attempts at anything really. For now, I’m letting them explore.

If yes, what instruments do they play? And what do their early musical attempts sound like?
Gavin takes guitar lessons from my dad, who’s great, weekly. The kid is impressive. He picks things up real fast. He only needs to be shown twice at the most. He’ll practice on his own sometimes for hours. I heard him playing Jessie’s Girl one day, so I asked him, “Who taught you that song, PawPaw?” He said “No dad. I taught myself! Really!” I didn’t believe it so I asked my dad, and the kid was telling the truth. He had taught himself the verse and chorus, IN THE RIGHT KEY!!! I am still blown away by this. He writes his own songs constantly and sings about love! What a trip. I am a proud Papa.

If not, what are they interested in doing instead?
Gibby and Evie have expressed interest in music but are still too young to really dig in with any discipline. Gibb wants to be a drummer and Evie just had her first dance recital. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. I love being a dad and I have the coolest job in the world. See ya’ll down that road!

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