What influence did your father have on your music taste/writing?
"Well my dad wasn’t into music that much. I remember when I was a kid, my parents had an old record player hi-fi with a radio built into it. It was one of those big console ones, and there was a Deep Purple record that got played every once in a while. My Dad does like our music, especially our Rediscovered album."
Do you have a guilty pleasure dad-rock band/song/album?
"Yes, I have so many guilty pleasure dad-rock bands, one of which is Meat Loaf. That first Bat Out of Hell record is super good. We play it, and I rock out as if I am personally Meat Loaf, and I wrote that music, and I am singing it live to a stadium full of people. That’s what happens in my head when I play it."
Who was the most important father figure in your life?
"The most important father figure in my life would probably be...my father. Throw a curveball at you, there. My dad is a great dude. He’s been a real great dad."
What is your favorite musical memory involving your father?
"My dad brought me to my first concert ever, okay? Here’s the story: we lived in New York really close to Burlington VT, so Phish was huge here back in the day, since that’s where they’re from. And they had this huge concert in 1994 in our town, Plattsburgh, called The Clifford Ball. It was the summer between 5th and 6th grade, and my Dad and two of my friend’s parents brought me and two of my friends to this concert. I have this vivid memory of being at this concert and seeing these people on the lawn, and seeing these people next to us smoking this huge joint, this giant, enormous joint. And I remember saying to my dad, 'that’s a really funny smelling cigar!' Yeah, that’s a very important musical memory."
How has fatherhood affected your music?
"I like to get my kids involved in playing music, messing around, having fun. Just the other day, we were doing this song, and I had our oldest kid, who’s 6, come downstairs and record a drum track on it. Our other kid, who’s about 2 and a half, she’ll put a harmonica in her mouth, have a maraca in her hand, have a keyboard on the ground, and also a little tambourine on the ground that she stomps like a kick drum. She’ll play them all at once and it’s fantastic, she’s such a multi-instrumentalist, she’s a complete champion."
What does fatherhood mean to you?
"To me, fatherhood’s super important. It’s helping people figure out who they’re gonna be as they become adults, and also teaching them to work hard and accomplish anything they want to accomplish."
How does music influence your parenting?
"We have exceptional fun in our family, because we turn on records really loud and we rock out to stuff. A very proud moment, we were riding in the car the other day, and my kid said… I showed her all these videos of my favorite bands, and there’s this one video of Bright Eyes playing a song on a late night show, and at the end of the song they all trash their instruments. It’s pretty sweet. Connor Oberst breaks his guitar. My kid specifically asks me to play “the song where they get crazy and break their instruments.” So that was pretty good, I gotta say."
How do you balance family and your career?
"I’m really great at compartmentalizing things, so when it’s family time, it’s 100% family time. And then people go to sleep, or we make time for work, and it’s 100% work time. So it’s busy, but it’s very doable. Time management baby! I feel like that’s a dad skill right there anyway."
What did music teach you about fatherhood?
"To just have fun, and that’s all that really matters. Keep showing up, keep putting out records. That’s all that matters."
Will you pass down instruments to your kids? Will they learn how to play?
"If they want to! I won’t force them, but I’ll give them the opportunity. Right now our 6 year old takes piano lessons, and I think she likes it. I let all my kids hit my drums all the time, and we have a bunch of instruments laying around the house that they just pick up. If they want to play them or learn how to play stuff on them, I will definitely help them out."
What’s your best dad joke?
"I don’t know about best, because I’m full of fantastic dad jokes pretty much all the time. I rip out a couple a day. I got a good one though: I bought some shoes from a drug dealer the other day. I dunno what he laced them with, but I was tripping all day. That one may not be appropriate for kids, but it’s a dad joke! It’s a good one."
Give us some fatherly words of wisdom!
"Hey, this is my dad pep talk. Ready? Cue Danny Tanner Full House music please. Hey buddy. I saw what you did there, and I saw that you sorta quit halfway through. Here’s what I want you to do. I know that you can do it, okay? I know that you can do it. So let’s just take 2 more minutes, and we’ll just try it again. And then if it’s too hard we’ll stop, take a little break, and we’ll come back to it in a minute, alright? See you out there."
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