June 18, 2012, posted by Crumbs
In honor of Father's Day (which was yesterday), Roadrunner Records decided to reach out to some of our artists who are themselves parents, and ask them how they balance family life with the sacrifices necessary to be in a rock bandólong stretches of time spent apart from wives and kids, the need for isolation to let creativity flow, and more. Here are the answers we got back.
Phil Demmel, Machine Head:
"Adding the complexities of a family member being a touring musician to a split-custody situation is one that my six-year-old son has known all his life. Bridging this gap and maintaining our unique relationship not only takes patience, but a lot of understanding. We have created an amazing kinship based on the fact that no matter how far apart or how long we go without seeing each other, he knows his Daddy will call and he will be seeing him again. With our limited time together, we've learned to not take anything for granted and to enjoy our family time (with Martarino too!) to the fullest. Our situation has strengthened our relationship and thank all that is good for what we have. Happy Father's Day to all."
Robb Flynn, Machine Head:
"Being a dad is the greatest gift that has come into my life, and something I try every day to get better at. It's the single hardest job I've ever had, and it's twice as hard for my wife Genevra, who for months at a time is basically a single mom with financial support from me who raises our two sons, Zander and Wyatt. Yes, being in a touring metal band and balancing fatherhood is a challenge in so many ways that I wouldn't have expected. It can be amazing, inspiring, depressing, heartbreaking, hilarious, life-afffirming, and at its best, makes me a kid again.
"For over 23 years straight now, I've been on tour. I've never retired, gone on hiatus, took five years off to recharge. Nope, since I was a teenager I've been on tour, and Machine Head is a band that tours hard, harder than 90% of the metal, rock, or pop acts/bands out there. James Brown, eat your heart out. The shortest tour we've done? 16 months. The longest? 3 years and 1 month. Granted, there were breaks in between tours, some as long as 2 1/2 months, others as short as a week. The flip side is that when I'm home writing a record, I can be home for a year, straight spending a lot of undivided time with them. But when I'm touring a record, another tour is always on the horizon, and for both Zander and Wyatt, that looming feeling that Daddy is going away soon is tough.
There's the depressing parts: Often times, the week before a tour is the hardest because the boys begin to shut down emotionally, or act out. It's a coping mechanism, it allows them to deal with the situation they are about to face. They don't understand that and certainly don't rationalize that. I've had my five-year-old, Wyatt, tell me, "he hates my job, he hates my band, and he hates how it takes me away from him." My eight-year-old, Zander, didn't speak to me via Skype for eight weeks on a 10-week Slipknot tour, because he was mad at me for being gone. It was brutally hard. They miss me, and I miss them.
"I've missed many things too: I've missed both of their first steps, both their first teeth, both their first words, plays, recitals, school functions, soccer games, baseball games, wrestling classes, Tae Kwon Do classes, basketball camps, camping trips. I've missed big chunks of their lives.
"And then there's the hilarious and absurd parts of being a heavy metal dad: We played the Download Festival in England in 2007 when Zander was three, and Wyatt was six months old. I flew home the day after, and when I walked in the door at three in the afternoon, my wife handed the kids over and said "your turn," and walked out the door. Zander proceeded to make seven poopy diapers that day. SEVEN POOPY DIAPERS!!! 24 hours ago, I was a Metal God commanding 65,000 people into a frenzy that Kerrang! magazine said "blew Slayer away," and now I'm changing seven poopy diapers! Ah, fatherhood, it has a good way of humbling you.
"And then there are the life-affirming parts, the parts of fatherhood that remind you why you're alive: As a self-professed Star Wars nerd, being a dad has truly been one of the most enjoyable things in life. We're probably a bit more conservative than most parents when it comes to TV and movies. And until a month ago, hadn't shown Star Wars to either kid, and even now, only Zander has seen it. But since most of the kids at both boys' school had watched that movie, plus they had a ton of the toys, I wanted to devise a way for them to know the story. So what I did was, I told them the story of Star Wars.
"I broke every movie down into about 10 to 12 different 'stories.' I'd read the script and then every three or four nights we'd all lay down in their bed, turn out the lights and I'd have them stare at the ceiling and listen to the story of Star Wars. I'd do all the voices, make it all dramatic, leave every story on a cliff-hanger, it was awesome! They could stop me to ask me about characters or details, which they often did, and later as we found out, the best part of it, was that it allowed them to dream, to use their imagination about what Star Wars could be, or look like. The first time I had a light saber battle with the boys, I was practically in tears. So fuckin' cool. We've gone through all six Star Wars movies now, all four Indiana Jones, and are about to start Pirates of the Caribbean.
"Being a heavy metal dad is a life less ordinary. It is a choice the wife and I made, and a life we chose to bring our kids into. And while it is Father's Day, I'd like to give some huge props to Genevra for the enormous, nearly inhuman amount of effort she puts into raising our kids, the damn good job she does, the extraordinary patience she has in dealing with a barnacle-ly son-of-a-bitch like myself, and for being tough as nails and making me a better father.
"To my own Dad, Conrad Flynn, for being one heck of an awesome Dad.
And for all the heavy metal dads out there who work their asses off to balance this life we've chosen...Happy Father's Day."
Full story with more artists >>
TakeMyScars.com - A Place Dedicated to the Mighty Machine Head!