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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

48

Aspiring Krautrock Superdad

Long time reader, first time writer. I'm a 39 year old professional and father of a two-year-old. I've been writing and recording my own music for 20 years with very little to show for it other than a closet of unsold vinyl and a second bedroom full of synthesizers and guitars. My little boy sleeps in a crib in our bedroom because our second bedroom is full of the accoutrements of my music hobby. I am toying with the idea of putting all this gear in storage so our son can have his own bedroom, but that would pretty much be an admission that I am giving up and I know it would make me so unhappy. I devote maybe one or two nights a week to music so renting a practice space seems unjustifiable. How do I balance the dream of being a bedroom krautrock superstar with the realities of the lives of two full-time working parents?

"Dieter" says he's a "long time reader" (rhymes!), but our pal Jessica Hopper, aka "Fan Landers," has only been doling out advice to musicians over at the Village Voice for a few months now. Further proof that reproducing creates a rift in the space-time continuum?



48 Comments / Post A Comment

Reginal T. Squirge

Give it up. Get over it.

cuminafterall

"I devote maybe one or two nights a week to music so renting a practice space seems unjustifiable." Yet paying a premium for a 2-bedroom apartment to store all your music stuff is, somehow, totally justifiable.

City_Dater

@cuminafterall

In his partner's mind, that second bedroom is very possibly "the baby's room." Or rather, it will be once she throws this 39-year-old teenager and his Moog out into the street.

leonstj

"Long-time reader, second time writer. My son is now 15, and he still sleeps in my room - luckily, I was able to install the race-car bunk beds I always wanted after my wife left us. The piles of unsold vinyl have grown so much with each new release that they now fill the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen isn't much of a problem, as we really love using the tea kettle to cook our ramen (NO CLEANUP! BOO-YAH!) but it is kind of a pain to have to go to the bus station whenever we want to take a wet-nap leftover from the BBQ joint to our pits.

The problem is this - while I tried to instill the virtues of rockin' jamitude into my son, he's not exactly what you would call a chip off the ol' five o'clock rock block. He's basically Alex Keaton.

How do I balance the desire to have all my friends know I'm a cool dad with my son's burning urge to restart the PMRC?"

noodge

i'm sitting here in awe of the fact that this baby has happened, and yet the second bedroom is still only used for music equipment and unsold vinyl record storage. like - the baby is living in the bedroom with them... and what sort of discussions have happened at this point about the situation?

Lily Rowan

@noodge And the baby is TWO YEARS OLD.

iceberg

@noodge DEALBREAKER. S that D.

noodge

@Lily Rowan ohhhh, i missed that bit. jesus, if it was a newborn (<6 months) then it would be bad enough.

his baby momma is either comatose or is about to throw all his shit out a window, euro style.

Tuna Surprise

@noodge
But guys!!! Music is his LIFE! It's what defines him. Not the little bundle made up of half his DNA in the other room.

Lily Rowan

@noodge Seriously.

Ophelia

@noodge Seriously. Our baby is -7 months old, and we have already figured out how to reconfigure the apartment. It does help that neither of us is a man-child, though we have designated space for my husband's keyboard.

antilamentation

@noodge What are they going to do when the baby gets older and they want to bang each other? In the bedroom? Which they still share with their child? The mind boggles.

If that's not motivation to clear out the second bedroom, I don't know what would be.

shadowkitty

@antilamentation I am pretty sure there's going to be no more banging here.

sandwiches

@antilamentation some of my relatives bang with their four year old and one year old in the bed.

i'll say that again.

IN THE BED.

Lily Rowan

@sandwiches Ughhhh. I mean, I realize people used to do that all the time, and it was no big deal, but they also lived without indoor plumbing or the internet.

Passion Fruit

@sandwiches Ah! Horrified! I have some memories from when I was three years old; I would hate for that to be one of them. Those poor little tater tots have the possibility of remembering from whence they came!

antilamentation

@sandwiches *facepalm* I hope they've started the future therapy fund for their kids... Because those kids are going to need one when they get old enough to understand what happened.

sandwiches

@all I know!!!! They are the nicest damn people, but some of their parenting decisions are really creepy/infuriating/bizarre.

Slutface

I feel for this kid. My father IS this guy. He will "forget" to go to the kids spelling bees, sit in the back of their high school graduation and walk out as soon as they're handed their diploma, and will only take an interest in his kid if he plays a musical instrument.

Not It

Music Guy, go ahead and keep your crap and have your dreams and fail to fully engage with the actually awesome life you do have (ya'll made a PERSON OUT OF NOTHING, how does that not feel like a miracle and an obvious first priority to you?)

I'm really curious as to who eventually destroys your cherished equipment: will it be the overly understanding wife who eventually snaps? Or the grown, teenaged kid, when he realizes that his dad never put him first?

Seriously, dude, if you're that great at this, you can set your shit aside for the 16 years you have left to raise this kid and then get back to it. Having the family be the priority right now doesn't mean you'll never get to play.

shadowkitty

@Not It It's going to be the then three year old, just playing. And that will be a fun day.

Not It

@shadowkitty If the three year old does it, I'm going to count that as the mom deliberately destroying it, because she knew what would happen when she left that door unlocked while dad was out.

Megasus

Keep your crap, but only if you get a three bedroom apartment, because y'all are gonna grow out of that 2 bedroom pretty quick anyway.

MoxyCrimeFighter

Glad he has an entire bedroom for his stuff, while his wife has...the shower for 15 minutes every day?

fondue with cheddar

@MoxyCrimeFighter Seriously. I've always hated the double-standard that a man needs his "man-cave" while a woman doesn't.

dracula's ghost

@fondue with cheddar Seriously, this is some deeper A Room Of One's Own bullshit right here

fondue with cheddar

@dracula's ghost My ex used to argue that he's got a man-cave, but I've got the rest of the house.

bocadelperro

This column is great. Here's my personal favorite: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2012/11/fan_landers_blood_sacrifice.php

vunder

Hm, I think you guys are being a bit harsh on this dude. It will be interesting for you guys above if/when you find yourself in that conversation with your partner where he says "I don't know, I feel like having a baby takes over your whole life and you never get to be yourself again." I don't think it's a non-legitimate thing to want to keep doing your stuff that makes you feel human when you have a baby - and the responder is trying to show a way where that can continue in a different fashion. The 2 year old in the bedroom seems extreme from the outside, but I'm sort of guessing they had the co sleeping by choice for a long time (people do this) and are just trying to figure out the transition. Anyhow, I don't know. We had those conversations ("Will I have to stop X...and Y... and Z...") and they are difficult and real. I kind of think it's good for kids to have their parents continue to do some things for themselves.

Danzig!

@vunder I thought it was common knowledge that when you have a kid, you are required to drop anything and everything that requires any a amount of time commitment (unless it's work, in which case DO IT MORE FOR YOUR FAMILY).

Lily Rowan

@vunder That's why the answer is so good -- keep some of your stuff and keep doing your thing -- but in a way that doesn't take up a significant part of your family home. It seems like a solution that shouldn't have taken the dude two years and outside consultation to come up with.

veryanonymous

@vunder The criticism is not that the dude has a hobby. THe criticism is that the dude is being super-selfish about his hobby. The dude's hobby has a whole bedroom to itself. The dude's wife and child each have 1/3 of a bedroom.

fondue with cheddar

@veryanonymous Yeah, it's definitely possible to have a music hobby and a family and make it work, but once that hobby starts impeding on the health of your marriage and/or children it's a problem.

My brother has been playing in a band for well over a decade. He's got a wife and two kids, and two of the other band members have families as well. And yet they all make it work. Their kids have everything they need and they have good relationships with them, and yet they still manage to practice once a week most weeks, and they play gigs about once a month. But they don't let their music shit displace their children from their bedrooms.

rural14

@veryanonymous
All y'all are being way too hard on this guy. HE'S even being hard on himself, slightly depressed / new baby scared / wife & he both post-partum etc. / now after 2 years crawling back to the remnants of his former life. So change the storage situation a little bit, get some headphones for playback / practicing etc. Get the fuck up earlier in the AM, commit to a schedule, even a practice schedule, and figure out how to be with the kid when you're with the kid, with the wife when you're with the wife, and with both when you're with both. Don't give it up. But do it for your own pleasure, not the eventual "fame". Play out a few times. Etc.

Django

@rural14

Will all of you (presumably) white (presumably) Millennials please stop saying "y'all" all the time? Especially while you're trying to call someone else to task for not being "mature" enough to do the "right" thing! Please! Stop typing "y'all" in your posts, and I'll stop using "scare" quotes. Thanks.

fondue with cheddar

@Django Do you think "y'all" is a mark of immaturity? I thought it was just a regional colloquialism.

Lily Rowan

@fondue with cheddar Yeah, what does that even mean? Also it's a second-person plural, which otherwise we don't have in English! I sometimes wonder about appropriating "y'all," but people think even less of "youse," which is my own regional colloquialism.

fondue with cheddar

@Lily Rowan Yeah, people sometimes say "youse" around here, though it's often more like "yuzz" (plural of "ya"). I agree that it's a good word as it fills a niche. And really, all it is is a contraction of "you all", but nobody actually says "you all" (except these guys).

Danzig!

@fondue with cheddar My mom is southern, and quite ashamed of raising yankees, so she raised us to use the colloquialism. Also, much more PC than "guys" in mixed company!

fondue with cheddar

@Danzig! Agreed! I use "guys" all the time, and although it sounds fine to my ears because I grew up with it, once in awhile I remember that it literally refers to males and worry that I've just offended someone.

rural14

@Django
Wrong on all counts.
Mixed parentage.
50 years old.
Accent vanquished.
High school and college drop out.
Not proud of that at all, BTW - and is BTW any less grating than "y'all" (not to me).
And - uh - kiss my ass! Is that better? Insert emoticon here, nyet? Nyet.

uemmak

@vunder Except that we do have a second person plural. It's just that our second person plural (you) is identical to our second person singular (you). No reason to add anything else to it.

Ten Thousand Buckets

I'm not sure why they haven't moved the music stuff into their bedroom, and the kid into the other, unless he actually has so much music crap it's literally filling the second bedroom, in which case he can't practice in there anyway?

queenofbithynia

@Ten Thousand Buckets And he doesn't even practice! "One to two nights a week," he says. So his hobby is not playing music, it is collecting and lovingly storing musical instruments. That is to say, he has an boring settled person hobby (owning and housing expensive stuff), not a thrilling young person hobby (doing interesting things with his stuff.) So, no need for him to agonize about letting his dreams go; they are good and gone already.

rural14

@queenofbithynia
So so harsh.
Letter writer, don't give up.
But sell your equipment; keep 1 acoustic and 1 electric and 1 amp and get headphones.
Get up early in the AM and practice at first just 10 minutes a day.
Scales mofo, just scales.
And take it from there.
Ignore these children.
But be kind to yourn.

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