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33 Musical Dads Discuss Fatherhood

June 19, 2011  |  12:00am
Dimitri Coats
OFF!

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Name and age of your kids:
Veronica Coats, 2.5 years; Charles William Coats II, 3 months.

How does having children and being a father change the way you approach your career?
It’s made me grow up a lot and pay more attention to the business side of what happens behind the scenes. I manage OFF! A band is not unlike a child and this one is growing out of control. Hard to keep up sometimes. There are three dads in OFF! We’re all hoping things continue the way they have so we can continue to provide for our families. We’re very luckily that something we love doing has caught on to where people are willing to pay for it. It drives us to be the best we can be. We’re not in our 20’s anymore. It’s not about the party. We’re on a mission. We have mouths to feed.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
My daughter is fascinated by the guitar. She lights up when I play for her and lately she’s been trying to figure out how to make sound. She requests The Ramones and sings along. It’s pretty cute. She has a little toy piano and we pretend to write songs together. It’s a trip to see she has that in her already. I look forward to jamming with her one day for real and I’d be lying if I said I don’t care whether or not she falls in love with music. I wanna share that with her.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
Being on the road. They’re too little to understand why I’m away for weeks on end. I miss them a lot.

What do your kids think of your music?
Veronica actually loves OFF! “Darkness” is her favorite song. I play her the video and she jumps up and down screaming, “Daddy Uncle Keith!” My wife took her to an outdoor festival we played. She got real serious and absorbed the whole thing. She connects with fun music that also has attitude. It’s a good sign.

What kind of music do your kids currently enjoy? Do you approve of their current tastes?
Well, she prefers the Stones over the Beatles. Have to work on that. Ha. There’s a CD that’s stuck in the car with a bunch of children’s songs on it. The versions are crap but “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” is unfortunately a big hit. Charles is pretty young. He gets real quiet and still when we put on Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys. Another good sign.

Have you attempted to immerse your kids in music? How have they responded?
I play them a lot of classic rock, blues and sometimes throw in some classical music for good measure. Haven’t hit them with anything too intense like metal or power violence. Same reason they aren’t exposed to horror movies. We want them to have nice dreams.

If yes, what instruments do play? And what do their early musical attempts sound like?
Veronica loves any instrument she can get her hands on. Drums are particularly fascinating. Kids like to whack stuff. She enjoys trying to sing what she’s playing on the piano. Her voice goes up relative to what her hands are doing on the keys. She’s only two and a half but I can tell she has that thing for music and it’s not just because she’s my daughter. That girl is gonna rock.

Laurent Lebec
Pelican

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Name and age of your kid:
Finn Atticus Odin Schroeder Lebec, 5 1/2 months old.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
Tremendously. We’re presently touring less as it is, but having a child revolutionizes the way you perceive time, love, precious moments… it just sucks you in completely. In the best way possible. These days the metaphor that works best for me is to perceive each moment with him as I once idealized the nascent moment of new romance or the
beginnings of a band… it’s consuming and incendiary round the clock. 24-hour cool.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
My two greatest loves often overlap. It’s not difficult to play your favorite record and watch as your kid seems amazed just because you are.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
Time to strum… not as frequent. But I’m in the super early stages of fatherhood, you know?

What does your kid think of your music?
At this stage I’m more concerned with his perception of Thin Lizzy, the Ramones or Captain Beefheart. Let’s start with classics before I lull him to trance-like sleep with sludge riffs.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of her current tastes?
Finn is not even six months. He loves everything I love: all my tattoos, my collection of beers, my cut-off rock T’s, his amazing mom, our cats, Radio Birdman, the Stooges and even Electric Light Orchestra. A good friend did start his record collection, which I thought was a cool newborn gift: Cooper, Zeppelin, etc. Just classic vinyl to start life with.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has she responded?
Music is everywhere in this house. He’s a chill little dude who likes it all.

If yes, what instruments do play? And what do their early musical attempts sound like?
Too early to tell…hoping for a drummer.

Ben Sollee

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Name and age of your kid:
Oliver, age 3.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
Nowadays, if I’m going on the road, I’m really going to work hard. It’s the only I feel like the time can be even partially justified. Also, Oliver is my little critic. If a 3 yr old doesn’t love the tunes, it’s likely most folks won’t either.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
Getting to expose my son to amazing people and getting him used to the ideas of sharing very personal ideas through the medium of music.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
Being away. It’s an inevitable factor in this business.

What does your kid think of your music?
Oliver really likes it.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of his current tastes?
Oliver is really in to Mumford and Sons and Nickel Creek. So, yeah, I approve.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has he responded?
It’s kind of inevitable that Oliver gets immersed in music at this age. It’s just always is happening. But the only thing I try to do is make the instruments accessible. I have my road cello that I just let him wail on. He picks it up pretty well and he also loves wailing on the drums.

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