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33 Musical Dads Discuss Fatherhood

June 19, 2011  |  12:00am
Jason Newman
Brother Ali

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Name and age of your kids:
I have a big boy and a little girl.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
I have to manage my time better. I split my daddy time and rapper time so I have to try and squeeze all the juice out of every moment.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
I make my own schedule when I’m at home so I get to really hang out with my kids. I’m there for the good stuff when I’m home.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
I’m gone a lot. I mean a LOT! I’ve had years where I’ve been gone 9 months. If I were to add up all the time I’ve missed from their lives, I’d probably quit. And I’m not exaggerating. I’ve literally missed years of their lives being on the road. It’s torture for them and for me. People always say “You should take them with you”. The road isn’t a vacation and we don’t get to kick it in the places we perform most of the time. If my family came with me, they’d spend their days driving in a van from city to city and hanging around hotels while I do my shows. No normal school or friendship. That’s not a life for kids. I fly them out and take a few days off in nice places like Hawaii and that’s the shit. But overall, it’s a huge sacrifice we’re all making.

What do your kids think of your music?
My son thinks I’m good but he’s over it. My daughter thinks I rap very LOUD. They’re both right.

What kind of music do your kids currently enjoy? Do you approve of their current tastes?
I raise my kids on a lot of Soul, Blues, Afrofunk and classic Hip-Hop. As a family we’ve always had Michael Jackson dance parties. I swear that man is the greatest musician to ever live because no matter who you are, you can’t front. Michael was the shit.

My son has taken to Justin Bieber and Willow Smith lately. It’s not my favorite but I figure I have to allow him to like what he likes and choose my battles. I saw Milli Vanilli live in concert TWICE when I was like 12 so I can’t really pass judgement on him for liking some poppy shit that his friends are excited about.

Have you attempted to immerse your kids in music? How have they responded?
Both my kids love to dance and sing and rap. My son has messed around with rapping. He’s naturally amazing at it but he doesn’t have the love for it. Having music in your life is important but doing it as a career is no joke. It’s only worth all of the heartache and pain if you truly love it. I wouldn’t push my worst enemy into music as a lifestyle unless their soul tells them they have no choice.

Richard Jupp
Elbow

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Name and age of your kids:
Well, Elbow now have a growing creche! We have Dylan Jupp, age 9; Martha Turner age 8 1/2; Kai Potter, age 5; Evan Potter, age 3; Ruben Potter, age 5; and Murray Potter, age 3.

How does having children and being a father change the way you approach your career?
i try and balance the time i spend away from my family. I’m lucky in the fact that we are at a point in our career where we can plan touring around children. Also our studio is only 10 minutes from home so we are able to function as a normal family when I’m not away.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
The best part about being both a musician and a dad is the fact that my son thinks I’m pretty cool!,and that I’m able to actively share what I do with him and his friends. When we are in the studio, I regularly take Dylan and his mates down to play with all our instruments. This gives them a different perspective to learning music by feel rather than being taught, plus its a great opportunity for them to make a racket without being told off!.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
Obviously being away from Dylan when we are touring is very difficult, but Skype is a Godsend!! Unfortunately for Dylan it can be a bit of a nightmare when i can tell him off for not doing his homework or being a good boy for his mum when I’m on the other side of the world! Dylan has Asperger’s Syndrome so we have to be very organized in telling him where dad is and for how long, sometimes this doesn’t work out and it can get quite upsetting for him.

What do your kids think of your music?
Dylan likes Elbows music thank God!!!

What kind of music do your kids currently enjoy? Do you approve of their current tastes?
My wife Sarah and I try and expose him to as much music as we can. We both grew up in homes that always had something on in the background, and ours is the same. Dylan is currently listening to anything from AC/DC to the Bee Gees!! It’s a great blessing that all the Elbow kids are involved in all aspects of their Dad’s job, from being in the studio where they will tell you whether the track you’re working on is any good, to coming on tour (Dylan spent a couple of nights on the last U.K Arena tour, sitting by my kit giving me the thumbs up!).

Have you attempted to immerse your kids in music? How have they responded?
There has been no pressure to immerse Dylan in music. Due to his Asperger’s, he has an extremely analytical brain and tends to deconstruct anything he listens to. When he’s in the studio he can move between all the instruments and build up a rapport with them, as we have done in the band. Also, I listen to a wide a range of music as possible, which hopefully allows Dylan to experience the whole spectrum.

If yes, what instruments do they play? And what do their early musical attempts sound like?
At the moment Dylan loves the drums (obviously!), but also likes the guitar. To be honest he’s still at the stage of getting his ‘moves’ right, like the foot on the monitor, Pete Townsend windmill, etc. Hopefully he’ll get back behind the kit at some point.
Of course I’m going to say that his early attempts sound great!!, but at the moment he’s getting a feel for the instruments. We pride ourselves in being experimental in our sound and I think it’s important for kids not to be fearful of making mistakes and to be allowed to immerse themselves in the texture and tone of sound.

If not, what are they interested in doing instead?
Dylan also wants to make films, be an animator, be an actor, be in the army, have his own band, be an artist, sculpt, surf, skateboard, be a DJ.

Van Hunt

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Name and age of your kid:
Mighty D.R., age 9.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
While I take parenting very seriously, being a father has not changed my approach to my career. You could argue that my career has shaped how I approach being a father; in that I understand the value of doing everything in earnest.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
Well, it’s a joy to be able to understand how my son’s brain works. He writes songs and stories and plays piano. As a fellow expressionist (smile), it’s pleasurable to share the experience with him.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
There are no difficulties! Even when I’m away from my son I am constantly thinking of ways to engage him. And we talk every day. Being a father is a 24/7, variable set of thrills!

What does your kid think of your music?
Just 2 weeks ago, I allowed my son to hear some new mixes. He said, and I quote: “Daddy, this music is amazing!” I smiled.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of his current tastes?
He will listen to anything once. I’d love to say he prefers Monk to a certain female pop singer. But, he thinks her legs are nice; which, of course, means she’s a great singer. Not all of his tastes. But more than I approve of most others.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has he responded?
God, no! I wouldn’t immerse him in anything; excepting the opportunity to make the best decisions for his own ideas. To my insistence that he think for himself he has responded positively.

What instruments does he play? What does his early musical attempts sound like? What is he interested in doing instead?
He has been playing piano for 5 years—any modern-era pop sing along, with a smitten, young Mozart on piano. He also enjoys making fun of absurdities, particularly his Dad’s, and particularly when I am driving and he is outside of my reach in the back seat.

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