Celebrating Father’s Day with Our Favorite Rock Dads
Brandon Wetherbee | svetlana | Jun 12, 2014 | 9:00AM |

This Sunday is Father’s Day. Rather than highlight the fantastic music that came from not having a dear, ol’ dad (The Beatles, Nirvana, Eminem, we’re looking at you), we’re going to learn something from the actual rock and roll dads. From Fugazi to Fitz, indie rockers to not-so-indie rockers, dive in and learn from people that make instruments scream how to quiet down screaming children.

Brendan Canty from Fugazi

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Who are your children and what’s their age?

Asa 16, Leo 14, Truett 11, Mabel 7.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

“I’m So Tired” by The Beatles always did the trick….for both of us. I would often sing us both to sleep with that.

What rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

I walked in on Asa listening to Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain and my mind was blown. I guess he heard it on the shows House. Anyway, he and his friends listen to it pretty religiously, which makes me prouder than just about anything.

Truett, my 11 year old, said, “I would kill to live in a time that had REAL music on the radio”. So, yeah, that’s cool.

Any non-sucky kid music you’d recommend?

I really love the They Might Be Giants record No! It is absurd enough to appeal to every age.

Juliana Bright is married to former DC rock alumni Seth Lorenzi, lives in Portland and makes Cat Doorman, which I find soothing and charming.

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

I think there’s no difference. I wouldn’t judge people based on how they look from the outside. I have been at parties for my kids school and most of the dads share the fact that all they really want to talk about is bands. They may look straight but most of them have very similar histories. Of course my kids go to public school so that may be different in the private sector.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

If they knew any band well enough to ask for it to be on their onesie I would be blown away. Onesies are for pretty young kids.

My kids are generally allowed to develop their own taste. I personally am not a fan of Chief Keef but if they dig it, I have to get out of the way.

How long did it take to master diapers?

Paraphrasing the MC5 and Eldridge Cleaver, “It takes about 5 seconds to decide whether you are going to be part of the problem, or part of the solution”.

As soon as the midwife told me to get to work and change that diaper, I did it. Got good at it pretty quick. The alternative is pretty disgusting.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

DC is sick with parks. So lots of that. A good public park is something to fight and work for. Every part of DC deserves it. Same with schools. Our kids spend all their time in 3 fabulous DC public schools, but the rest of DC isn’t afforded that same right. We all need to fight for parity in our school system and help bring up the neighborhood schools in every part of the city, by whatever means necessary.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

Get down on your knees when you talk to kids. Get on their level. All sorts of empathy and understanding exists down there.

 

Brian Weitz from Animal Collective

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Who are your children and what’s their age?

Merrick 3yrs, Ida Rae 3mos

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

Not sure it qualifies as rock, but I always went with Syd Barrett. Either Terrapin, The Gnome, or Effervescing Elephant were good deviations from the standards. My wife sometimes sings “I Will” by The Beatles.

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

My son loves “Autumn Almanac” by the Kinks. He is also a big fan of Beachwood 45789. We eat a lot of dates in our house and it was a pretty funny moment when we realized that when he sang along with the line “you can call me up and have a date any old time,” he probably thought it was about giving someone a date to eat.

Some non sucky kid music?

Older kids records are pretty sweet. We have one by Burl Ives that we liked for a while. A lot of animals die in old songs. I suppose that didn’t seem weird when a higher proportion of kids grew up around agrarian vibes.

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

Probably only ones that exist in my head. I always assume people are judging me when I’m at the playground in the middle of the day, like why isn’t that bum at work? But it could be the beard and sunglasses.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

Band names on onesies aren’t an issue for me. Avoiding ironic slogans is priority #1.

How long did it take to master diapers?

I got the hang of it right away. Trying to toilet train is much harder.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

DC has great places. Tons of playgrounds in my neighborhood. I think there are five we go to within walking distance of my house. The Air and Space museum is a favorite recent hangout. And the Baltimore Aquarium of course.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

Someone did give it to me. There is no point in stressing about being fully prepared for anything when it comes to kids, even having them in the first place. Once they’re in front of you, you’ll be inspired to adapt and figure it out. I’ll give out a free tip though – put off teaching your kids that the dead batteries in their toys are replaceable. Take the opportunity to get those voices out of your head whenever you can.

Gavin Dunbar from Camera Obscura

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Camera Obscura will be touring this summer. They’ll be at Le Poisson Rouge on July 15, Music Hall of Williamsburg on July 16 and 9:30 Club on July 18.

Who are your children/how old are they?

Robert is 9, (10 next month, scary) and James is a tiny 20 weeks old.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

I’ve not really tried playing indie rock to get the wee one asleep, so far we’ve been mainly sticking to the wind up music box on the mobile above his crib, but I’m now thinking Howie B’s remix of New Order’s “Age of Consent” would be great (loads of harmonium sounding drones and bells ringing), or maybe Kid Loco’s “Love Me Sweet”.

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

Robert has been getting subjected to lots of my fave music in the car, and has developed quite a taste for the Beastie Boys (especially “Sabotage”, although i think he might be mainly a fan of the fact that there is some choice language that he isn’t allowed to use, but thinks he can get away with singing along to (see also Ben Folds Five – “Draw A Crowd”). Probably the most surprising was his level of love for Joy Division’s “Transmission”. He even likes the Hot Chip cover of it.

Some non sucky kid music?

For wee weans, the rockabye baby band tunes re-imagined as lullabies are pretty cool (even if takes a bit of getting used to the sound of glocks and vibes playing your fave songs, especially when there are mistakes)

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

I don’t suppose it’s much different, but you have a better soundtrack to your chaos.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

A Factory Records onesie would be acceptable. James already has a Beastie Boys T-shirt which we’re waiting for him to be big enough to fit in (only a month or so to go).

How long did it take to master diapers?

Mastered by the second one. To be fair the first wasn’t too bad, other than being a little bit looser than it should have been.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

Glasgow has a couple of great music bars that have Baby Discos. Mono and The Sparklehorse both do a once a month Sunday Lunchtime event, where you can take along babies and toddlers, and they get a chance to jump around to some great music that the parents like. Big quality decent-taste tunes that the babies can get bounced about to and the toddlers amble about to whilst slightly older ones just run around the bar. Its great fun, proper carnage and highly amusing to watch.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

More an observation than advice, but the thought that parenthood inspires you to be the best you can be. It’s such an amazing time, having a baby and being responsible for them and their upbringing, it makes you want to be better at being yourself, doing the best you can.

Chris Cain from We Are Scientists

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We Are Scientists TV en Français is out now. Follow the band on Twitter.

Who are your children/how old are they?

Dashiell Mathieu Cain, 8 yrs.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

As long as the child is too young to understand what you’re actually saying, most of the songs off of Liz Phair’s first two records are well suited.

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

He’s really into The Clash — far more than I am — and that surprises me a little. “What’s the attraction?” I keep wanting to ask him. But it’s better to be supportive, so instead I say, “Yeah, great! Throw on The Clash!”

Some non sucky kid music?

I haven’t heard any. Anyway, “kid music” doesn’t really need to exist. Kids’ brains are compatible with all types of music. There are some songs that, lyrically, are best saved till they’re a little older, but most pop and rock, let’s face it, is lyrically pretty broad, and will not deform a young mind. Do kids benefit, for some reason, from listening to songs about friendly ducks and strange ice-cream flavors? Until we see hard evidence, let’s assume they do not.

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

You’d think the kid would thrill at telling people what his dad does for a living, but because, I think, he’s never known any different, he doesn’t care. Some of his friends definitely think it’s a little odd, in a positive way — he brings them to soundchecks and gives them band merch. But as for him? I think the differences are insignificant. Like most kids, he will grow up thinking his dad should consider doing something more exciting with his time.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

Any band he genuinely liked listening to, I suppose. The thing I’d object to would be his wearing a band onesie just because he thinks it will make him look cool with the other babies, not because he likes the music. That’s a no-no.

How long did it take to master diapers?

About a day. Diapers aren’t difficult. Whoever’s telling people they are just enjoys spreading fear. I mean, it’s not as easy as pouring a glass of water, but it’s pretty simple. It’s about as tough as making a paper airplane, let’s say. If when you try to make a paper airplane your hands get all twisted up and sweaty and you end up throwing a crumpled ball across the room in frustration, then yes, you’re going to have trouble with diapers. You probably shouldn’t drive a car, either, though, or cook on a hot stove. And god knows who’s going to tie your kid’s shoes before he learns how to do it himself.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

Any time we’re walking around the East Village with a little time to kill, Dash likes to smash a $5 roll of quarters at Reciprocal, the skate shop/pinball room on 11th street. When school’s out in the summer, we hit the East river public tennis courts most mornings, after the working stiffs have been sucked up into their glass spaceships. And we have a nice tradition where the morning after I get back from a tour, we head off to school but “accidentally” take the wrong subway train and have a leisurely breakfast at Balthazar in SoHo.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

Take more pictures. Already taking shitloads of pictures? Good. Take more.

Matt Korvette of Pissed Jeans

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Who are your children/how old are they?

Only one child that I am claiming publicly. He’s two and a half, and while we really wanted to name him Maestro before he was born, his name is Anders.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

I’ll let you know when he finally goes to sleep.

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

He’s a big Neil Young fan, whereas I could care less about that old codger. I just hope he doesn’t ask for a Pono for Christmas.

Some non sucky kid music?

That album Staind wrote about Thomas The Tank Engine is pretty fantastic.

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What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

Dear God, I pray every night that I’m not an indie rock dad. The parents of indie rock dads grow up with deep-seeded shame and inferiority complexes, which is one difference.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

Whatever they want. How overbearing do you think I am? Imagine if your parents decided what band shirts you could or couldn’t wear?

How long did it take to master diapers?

Until poop no longer exists, diapers will never be mastered. I can’t think of a more humbling task. The tables will turn when I’m old and he’s changing MY diapers.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

Local pools, the beach, and state parks are key, especially if you live in a city. Teach your children that there is more to the environment than concrete and hot piles of garbage.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

I wish someone would’ve warned me about what I was getting into. No one ever warns anyone! You will cry, and cry and cry, that’s my warning.

Michael Fitzpatrick from Fitz and the Tantrums

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Who are your children/how old are they?

We have and 8 month old son named Theo.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

Nirvana “All Apologies”

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

He loves Phantogram’s “Fall In Love.”

Some non sucky kid music?

We don’t play him kid music.

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

Having to go on the road for tour and being gone for lengths at a time.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

Only bands I like!

How long did it take to master diapers?

A few days. One messy diaper and you figure it out.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

Love taking him to the Museum of Contemporary Art and see his eyes light up.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

Trust your own instincts when it comes to your child.

Eugene Cho from Escort

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Who are your children/how old are they?

My girl just turned two.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

Back in Black, but sung like Al Green.

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

Seriously, she gets a kick out of any really enthusiastic hip-hop chorus, mostly early 90s stuff like Onyx, Brand Nubian and Naughty by Nature. There’s something about that unfiltered party machismo that makes her dance and smile.

Some non sucky kid music?

She generally likes what comes up when you enter “The Knife” in Pandora, dance music in general is easily digested. Asheba’s version of “No More Monkeys” is THE VERSION.

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

Indie rock dads are really self-conscious about being a dad while at the same time not really giving a fuck about what others might think about their parenting. Non-indie rock dads are basically plucked from “The Sims”.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

I could see her in a Sly & Robbie onsie at the playground, or maybe something classic like The Cramps.

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How long did it take to master diapers?

I watched two YouTube videos.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

Wherever my baby girl goes BECOMES the cool place to hang out.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

Your kid might be verbalize a need for any number of things, playing with this, touching that, eating whatever, but often the root of what they want is meaningful interactions with you.

Dan Balis of Escort

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Who are your children/how old are they?

Two year old girl.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

“Rock With You” by MJ always works.

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

Something about the 90s jams I think. My girl loves all the big dancehall hits from that era.

Some non sucky kid music?

Think you’re always better off with grown up music that works for kids than the other way around: Mine does really well with Desmond Dekker.

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

Super human strength.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

Sonic Youth or Public Enemy could work. Minor Threat maybe?

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

The zoo or the museum is a week’s worth of conversation. Then again, my girl loves the supermarket.

Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen/Hamilton Leithauser

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(Hamilton Leithauser only answered one of our questions, but that ‘s ok/we still love him very much)

Some non sucky kid music?

Kids go gaga for “Alexandra”, but no less so for “We Like the Zoo” by my cousin Walt (Walter Martin-ed). It’s civil war in our house.

Dan McGee from Spider Bags

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Who are your children/how old are they?

Adelaide ‘Del’ Rose is almost 3 and Frances ‘Fae’ Lide is 3 months old.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

“Electric Ladyland,” “Ol Blue” by Jim Johnson, “Big Yellow Peaches” by June Carter Cash.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YvlHXtjG_k

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

I’ve never been surprised when Del likes rock songs, but it made me really happy that she loved “Summer of ’79′” by John Wesley Coleman. First time I put it on, she jumped up and danced around the room until it was over. Then she looked at me like she wanted me to play it again, so I did.

Some non sucky kid music?

My wife plays Elizabeth Mitchell’s records, HMS Donovan and Woody Guthrie’s children’s albums.

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

I don’t think there is much of a difference. If I was a plumber or a pilot, I’d still be the same dad.

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

We listen to a lot of rock and roll but our kids are mainly logo free zones.

How long did it take to master diapers?

That was easy. It’s not learning how to do it when they’re newborns, the mastery comes 2 years later when they are eating like a regular sized human and still not potty trained.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

My wife built a permanent tent in our living room, so we’ve been in there a lot, cooking chocolate and apple frittatas.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

I don’t really think I have the perspective right now to answer that question. My kids are still really young, I’m kind of in the thick of it. The best advice I have at this point and it’s something that I’ve figured out: happy mama is happy family. But also I think there’s something about parenthood that everybody has to learn for themselves.

Producer (Alex Winston, The Spectors) former guitarist of Editors Chris Urbanowicz

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Who are your children/how old are they?

My child is a dog, he’s 12 and a half weeks old, he’s called Cliff Kipling and he’s a goldendoodle.

What rock song works great as a lullaby?

I don’t sing many rock songs to him if I’m honest, I do however use my own versions of “Stop The Pigeon” from Wacky Races and “Kill The Wabbit” by Elmer Fudd whenever we’re playing. I simply alter the lyrics to suit the mood.

A rock song you were surprised the kid liked?

I don’t really listen to much rock music at home to be honest, he does however quite enjoy Bret Hart’s entrance theme music.

Some non sucky kid music?

Well “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen is the best kiddy pop song of all time so I guess that one. When I was a kid I listened to Phil Collins, if it aint broke….

What is the difference between being an indie rock dad and not an indie rock dad?

Well you get a similar amount of sleep but it’s just shifted earlier. For example, when I was in a band I would regularly sleep from 6am to 12pm but now its more 12am to 6am

What band would you allow your child to have on their onesie?

Talking Heads, everyone likes Talking Heads or maybe The Velvet Underground, everyone likes bananas.

How long did it take to master diapers?

When dog shit is hanging out in a corner of your apartment, you get used to your aversion pretty swiftly.

Cool places to hang out with your cool kids?

Little Dokebi in Brooklyn is getting an outside seating area which will be perfect for Cliff to hang whilst I smash down some fried chicken and Korean tacos.

General invaluable piece of advice you wish someone gave you?

Do more exercise.