Yes, My Musician Kids Have Jobs. They're Musicians.

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Artwork by Jaime Torraco/Courtesy of Kittens of Industry
Recently someone I kinda-sorta know asked about my son.

He's doing great, I said. He and his band are on a 30-city tour.

No sooner than I'd answered this fellow, I regretted it as simple math scribbled itself onto his brain's chalkboard. Thirty shows minus my son being at home, where he lives, equals, "Your son doesn't have a job?"

Yes, he has a job, I explained. His job is being in an active, touring band.

It'll sound hypocritical to say this jackass should mind his own business when here I am abdicating all privacy to write this. But I'm mostly doing it to dispel the misjudgment that struggling musicians aren't working. My acquaintance might prefer my son serving up lattes or carrying lumber to his truck. But, who gives a shit what that guy wants?

I'd like my son to be happy, in the short and long run. I appreciate that he and his bandmates and bands like theirs everywhere believe in what they're doing. As someone whose day jobs have kept him chained to a desk or under the thumb of some megalomaniacal know-nothing, I can't think of anything I'd like less for my kid. I want him to take his shot at not having to live that life and know that he gave it his best effort.

He can do it, too, because what it means to be an "unknown" working musician in 2013 is very different than what it might have meant years ago.

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At the core, what my son does -- as well as his piano-playing sister; she's not flipping your burger, pal -- is no different than the many bands that came before his. He and his writing partner, Whitney, create and perform songs. Way back when, they'd have played them hoping to impress some record-company bigwig, a moment that would have been either a miracle or the end of the line.

Today, there's actually a guarantee their efforts won't go unnoticed by the broader masses. They don't need a fairy godproducer to do what they love and pay the bills. The digital age has changed all that.

Not to insult the informed readers of Rocks Off, but some folks don't realize how today's bands can create an audience as long as they're willing to do real, honest, time-consuming work. My kids love writing music, but it's the beginning of a very long process.

They learned to use home recording equipment, and their last two albums were clean enough to post on iTunes and Spotify. They recorded in a converted bedroom here with the dogs occasionally barking at the racket from downstairs. Bands in Houston and all over the world are doing it the same way.

It's no different with packaging the finished product. The Internet may have crushed the spirits and bodies of places like Tower Records, but it has created opportunities for independent artists of all kinds to have their work noticed. My kids have enlisted help from all over for T-shirt designs, show fliers, album art and the like.

For instance, the art highlighted in this blog is by a very talented Floridian named Jaime Torraco. She caught one of the band's shows on a southeastern run and followed them, then I followed her site, Kittens of Industry. Now I am (hopefully) introducing her to lots more people.


Story continues on the next page.

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22 comments
dpbellamy
dpbellamy

Finally, someone put my life into words.  Thank you.  I support my children in whatever their passion in life may be.  I also have a son who found music as his passion.  He has probably played locally with your son.  :)

arroyodeathmatch
arroyodeathmatch

Jesse, you are the best dad ever and you raised two incredible musicians.  P.S. We published your piece in the Goathead Record Collective zine this month.  We'll send you a copy when we get a chance!  

-Beth from Arroyo Deathmatch 

MykeWayne
MykeWayne

Excellent. Awesome even. Great shit right here. Great mother. Good luck young musicians. Stay humble as the other instruments

Smedley
Smedley

I saw them at Notsuoh earlier this year. Good stuff.

wordlover
wordlover

you're right, what an asshole!  you and your wife did a great job at raising your kids and allowing them to pursue their dreams.  being chained to a desk just blows.  do they have a link i can share on my blog? i'll pimp them out, i love this kind of stuff! :)

wordlover
wordlover

you're right, what an asshole!  you and your wife did a great job at raising your kids and letting them pursue their dreams.  being chained to a desk just blows.  do they have a link i can share on my blog?  i'll pimp them out, i love this stuff! :)

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning topcommenter

Love it. My son's band was in Asbury Park NJ last night, New York City tomorrow night? Getting rich? Hardly. Making it happen? Totally.


MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

This is fantastic. So many of us get brow-beat into the "real job" bit that we expend all our energy for someone else' dreams (or fears) and create NOTHING. Meanwhile your kids trump that tried idea of a band as an excuse to be stoned and on the couch all day. They are working their bu44s off for their dreams and smiles. Proof you raised them right. 

albertgator
albertgator

oh man Kittens of Industry is great, thanks for sharing that.

jesse281
jesse281

@dpbellamy right on, brother. i've heard from lots of parents since we ran this and am happy to report we are in good company with many others who support their artistic kids. feel free to give us a link to your son's page so we can check him out. :)  have a great weekend -- jesse 

jesse281
jesse281

@arroyodeathmatch Thanks, Beth!  That is great news, can't wait to get my hands on a copy. You guys keep being awesome and we hope see you at the Sendehaus soon!   :)    -js

jesse281
jesse281

@wordlover hello friend! happy thursday!  so excited to know you have a blog and am happy to share their respective links if you share your blog address so i can return the favor of reading random thoughts :)    even tho i just wrote a 2 page blog about them, it's probably not cool to throw their links up here, too promotional. but i can send the links via your blog's email box once you hip me to the blog. ps: uh,..what's wrong with our Texans??? 

jesse281
jesse281

@WhiteLightning beautiful. please tell me he played the Stone Pony. anyhow, share a link so we can all support new music!  

jesse281
jesse281

@MadMac thanks, Mac. that bit about expending our energy on someone else's dreams or fears? so on point. very wise. thanks for weighing in and have a good day

jesse281
jesse281

@seandelliot thanks, man. they're out there doing it, nickels and dimes at a time. thanks for sharing  :)


tishsendejas
tishsendejas

Or, right on, sister?! It just occurred to me just because i am a dad doesnt mean you are, you may be a mom. Either way, you rule!

dpbellamy
dpbellamy

@jesse281 @seandelliot 

Our children are friends!  My son & his band, Lion Among Men, played at DND CD release party & DND played at LAM's HOB preview show.  Nice to meet you Jesse. 

dpbellamy
dpbellamy

@jesse281 @seandelliot 

Hi.  I'm Tina - Austin's mom.  I am a big Days fan as well!!  Thanks again for sharing exactly how I feel.  A well written article!

jesse281
jesse281

@dpbellamy @jesse281 @seandelliot oh hellyes, dp, we are LAM fans here, have been since we first saw the guys do a set at Pushing the Limits' Dia de los Muertos show last year. that was a fun night.  i admit, i haven't seen em since Andrew and Austin added new talent to the mix. i'll have to come catch a show soon.  enjoy the weekend -- js

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