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33 Musical Dads Discuss Fatherhood

June 19, 2011  |  12:00am
Doug Marvin
Pursesnatchers

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Name and age of your kid:
Henry, 6 months.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
I do a lot of tour managing for other bands. And I enjoy going on the road. But now I have to weigh every offer that comes along against the chance that I might miss my baby’s first steps.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
The hours are great. Outside of the occasional tour, I’m generally at home all the time. It allows me to be more involved in raising my boy than if I had to go to an office every day.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
My wife is in my band, so any time we want to practice we have to sort out a babysitter.

What does your kid think of your music?
We never listen to our records around the house, so I wouldn’t know. But my wife and I are always making up little songs for every part of Henry’s day. Nap songs, eating songs, morning songs, etc. And he just loves them all.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of his current tastes?
I’m sure it was just coincidence, but it sounded an awful lot like Henry was singing along with the theme to All Things Considered the other day.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has he responded?
He plays a mean keyboard—very minimal and atonal. He’s into some serious avant-garde 12-tone business.

David Metcalf
Bodies Of Water

Name and age of your kid:
E.V., 4 weeks old.

How do you think having a child and being a father will change the way you approach your career?
We’ll tour around differently than we used to. It is fun to have adventures and sleep on the floors of people that you met that night, but now I imagine that we will need to have real beds, whether they be in a friend’s house, a hotel or in a motorhome. The season for strange floors is drawing to a close, and I doubt that I will look back on it with nostalgia (though I may be wrong). I sleep poorly on floors and tend to get sick. I think this has something to do with ‘vapors.’

What do you anticipate being the best part about being both a musician and a father?
I look forward to family jamming. I don’t know if E.V. will want to play an instrument or not when the time comes, but, in our family, “jamming” is an open-ended proposition. Body motion, abstract vocalizing, and contemplation are strongly encouraged. Anything goes!

What do you anticipate being the most difficult part about being both a musician and a father?
I have some real trouble paying attention to more than one thing at a time, especially when I am working. Since my job is, essentially, noisemaking, the time may come when I will fail to hear my child’s anguished screams over the din of my own shredding. Is this an occupational hazard, or a personal shortcoming? Probably the latter…

Chris Conley
Saves The Day

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Name and age of your kid:
Luella Florence Conley, age 6.

How does having a child and being a father change the way you approach your career?
It hurts my heart to be on the road away from my angel. I think about her all the time and I miss being there for the little moments where she says, “I love you Dad.” I just wish I could be with her and my wife more, and be out on tour less. Alas, I must make a living to support them and music is the only thing I do well. Thankfully, my wife is understanding and supportive, so I have her encouragement and I know I’m doing the right thing. Before having Luella, I would miss home, but in a different way, where my heart didn’t feel wrenched out of my ribcage, just a soft sadness missing my wife. Yet when I’m home, I get to dedicate my time to my family, having no other obligations, and that is a gift for us. Dad is always there. Always home with open arms and a big smile. So while it’s hard, we make it work, and we’re lucky to have each other.

What’s the best part about being both a musician and a dad?
The best part about being a musician and a Dad is getting to sing for my daughter’s Kindergarten class. I go into the classroom with my acoustic guitar and sing Beatles songs and Old MacDonald and ABC and whatnot. It’s an absolute blast. The kids hang on every word and clap along, trying their best to keep the beat. It’s adorable and warms my heart.

What’s the most difficult part about being both a musician and a dad?
The most difficult part of being a musician and a Dad is missing my little angel when I’m on the road away from her loving smile.

What does your kid think of your music?
Luella loves my music. Clearly Saves The Day is much more mature music than she is ready to hear, but she loves it when I sing her “I Will” by the Beatles at night when she’s going to sleep, or when I do “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and substitute ‘Dad for Desmond’ and ‘Mom for Molly.’ It’s a hoot.

What kind of music does your kid currently enjoy? Do you approve of her current tastes?
She likes “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles and “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, which is super cool. The other day “Bohemian Rhapsody” came on the radio and I told her it was Daddy’s favorite song, and she listened very intently, then said, “This is a good song Dad, I like it too.” I about died and went to heaven. I love her taste in music.

Have you attempted to immerse your kid in music? How has she responded?
We let her discover her own interests and rarely direct her towards things we want her to get involved in. We enjoy getting to know her personality, and she really is a joy, so we haven’t had to redirect her behavior or tendencies very often. She has yet to show much interest in playing her own music, but if she ever wants to follow a musical path, we would support her without question.

If yes, what instruments does she play? And what do her early musical attempts sound like?
When she does play music of her own, she bangs on the piano and sings her own melodies. Every so often when I’m singing to her at night, she’ll reach over and strum my guitar as I change chords, and she seems to like sharing the experience of making nice sounds come out of the guitar. Music is so ever present in her life, she doesn’t seem to notice it’s in the background all the time, but perhaps when she gets older she will find her own styles of music that move her. If not, we will enjoy learning more and more what she loves as she shows her true inner self to the world.

If not, what is she interested in doing instead?
She loves playing outside, pretending to be a kitty, or finding snails in the bushes and making a home for them in a box with leaves. She likes animals a lot, so we spend time at Gramma’s farm, or go on hikes with Pop Pop and watch for birds or rabbits. When we take the dog for a walk in the park, she enjoys discovering new pathways we haven’t traveled down before, and she likes to wade into the water in the stream and look for fish that swim by. She is our love, and we are completely supportive of her every inclination.

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