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33 Musical Dads Discuss Fatherhood

June 19, 2011  |  12:00am
Mark Charles Heidinger
Vandaveer

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Name and age of your kid:
We call him Boog, Boog Knight, Chief, el Capitan, The Little Prince, Chub Monster, Chubby Cheekers, but officially it’s Nika James…He’s 14 months and change, and he totally rules the roost.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
Firstly, I now call it a career, because no self-respecting dad can get by in this world without a ‘career’. Secondly, I am working feverishly to master the clock, to best the second hand, for time is a top-shelf premium these days.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
Definitely the dad part. But singing songs to buy food to feed my boy is a pretty sweet deal, if not a bit wobbly…

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
Singing songs to buy food to feed my boy. Those are some lonesome nights out on the road…

What does your kid think of your music?
I’m not sure my boy knows it’s me singing when we’ve played him my records, but he sure does like banging out duets on the piano with me.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of his current tastes?
Nika’s been jamming to Matt Duncan’s “Beacon” a whole lot lately. Before that it was Kanye’s big ole twisted dark fantasy thing. Also, the original Sesame Street albums are on constant rotation. Lots of Tom Petty. I wholeheartedly approve of his current tastes.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has he responded?
Oh my, yes. And the cacophony is good. That boy makes quite a racket. He’s partial to banging on things with drum sticks. Mostly drums, but also stairs, chairs, the toy box, our end table, occasionally other people too. My mother-in-law gave me a serenity chime for my birthday recently. He can strike that thing with remarkable precision, but also with Keith Moon-like reckless abandon. I am a proud daddy. I think I have a drummer in my midst.

Paul Smith
Dengue Fever

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Name and age of your kids:
Miles, age 5. Nico, age 3.

How does having children and being a father change the way you approach your career?
It affected how much touring I do for sure. It also forced me to be smarter about commitments and decisions based on how they will effect the other areas of my life, such as sacrifices that my family makes in order for me to be out on the road or in the studio.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
Knowing that my kids get to see someone following their dreams and balancing a family life is the best part for me. Also, knowing they won’t have a skewed view of what it takes to have a career in a creative field gives me some comfort.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
Knowing that they are missing you when you are on the road. Sometimes my daughter wants to call me to hear my voice, then she starts crying, then I start tearing up. It is not easy to hear your daughter wanting you to comfort her but you are 5,000 miles away.

What do your kids think of your music?
They always seem interested when they first hear a Dengue Fever song come on. They always ask “Is that Nimol singing?” After a few minutes they lose interest. My son did once ask me “How did you get inside the TV?” after seeing me in a video.

What kind of music do your kids currently enjoy? Do you approve of their current tastes?
My son says he only likes rock ‘n’ roll, which means music with loud guitars. I have no idea why he is attracted to it cause I don’t really listen to guitar heavy music. There was a System of a Down song that he heard on Youtube and he LOVED it. He would bang his head along like he was front row at the Forum. My daughter sometimes requests the jazz station when we are in the car. She doesn’t like loud anything!

Have you attempted to immerse your kids in music? How have they responded?
I provide the opportunity to play instruments by having them around the house. I also bring them to the studio to see what the recording process is like and see if they are intrigued. They go through phases of wanting to play guitar, or drums to just wanting to play with robots or dolls.

If yes, what instruments do they play? And what do their early musical attempts sound like?

My son got his first guitar last Christmas. He was jazzed for a while, asking to put on concerts in the living room with his sister banging on various percussion instruments. Nico, my girl, wrote her first song when she first grabbed his guitar. The title was “Unicorn Poop” and they only lyrics we also “Unicorn Poop”. It was an instant classic at my house.

Stephen Kellogg

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Name and age of your kid:
Sophia, age 6; Adeline, age 3 (almost 4); Noelle, 6 Months.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
In the beginning, it was easier to be a baby about gigs that weren’t that fun or things you didn’t find fulfilling about the job. I think being a dad really made me get serious about making every second away from my family count… being more appreciate of the gift of music.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
If you have a thought inside you, you can turn it into something that can be consumed (by yourself and others).

The best part about being a dad is that it has expanded my heart’s capacity to love. I am filled with love every day. What more could a person reasonably ask for? A rhetorical question and though I find myself occasionally asking for more then that. I know that I’m already ahead of the game.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
It’s always slightly uncertain where your rent is coming from (even in the 10 years I’ve been doing this professionally it’s all changed so much that I’m glad to have some people on my team who think about these things).

Hardest part of being a dad is being patient on a seriously diminished amount of sleep. If you were asking about the hard part about being both of these things I’d probably guess that (at least for me), there isn’t much rest. But to be clear I’m not complaining. I enjoy my days and know I’m lucky to have a job that is this enjoyable.

What does your kid think of your music?
They dig it. They often would rather listen to other stuff, but that’s alright. It will be there for them when they are older if they want to know what I thought about things.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of his/her current tastes?
We all really enjoy listening to ABBA and (sometimes) some of the Katy Perry stuff that’s on this Kid’s Bop CD (cleaned-up versions of all the sexy hit etc.). I love seeing them smile and dance and express enthusiasm. We also do plenty of “Old McDonald.” I tried soooo hard with Bob Dylan, but it hasn’t caught…yet.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has she/he responded?
Yes, indeed…though I Basically do that by just living my life and allowing them to be around. I believe they just see it as the normal way of things and that’s fine. They can do whatever they want as long as they do it with integrity.

If yes, what instruments do they play? And what do their early musical
attempts sound like?

Piano, ukulele, guitar and lots of singing. They sound…kind of like me!

If not, what are they interested in doing instead?
We had an Irish step-dancing recital today.

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