“It was my 27th birthday and my wife, Rebecca, had a wonderful little surprise for me that day. We had ‘pulled the goalie’ for about a month, so we were definitely trying to get pregnant,” explains DANNY ADAMSON, rhythm guitarist and vocalist for Seattle’s THE NOT-ITS!, while discussing the day he found out that he’d soon become a father for the first time. “She went and bought a little onesie or unisex baby outfit and wrapped it up like a birthday gift for me – I think she may have even included the pee test she took! It was a wonderful surprise – I was pretty excited when I found out.” With THE NOT-ITS! gearing-up to release their fifth full-length album, RAISE YOUR HAND, on July 15, Adamson took some time to discuss his life as a “Rock Father” ahead of #RockFathersDay 2014.
THE NOT-ITS! are one of my favorite bands on the “Kindie” scene – that melting pot of indie rock and family music that still manages to fly just under the radar for most. In fact, the band forms part of Seattle’s “Kindiependent Collective,” alongside RECESS MONKEY, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, THE HARMONICA POCKET, CASPAR BABYPANTS (Chris from PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA), BRIAN VOGAN & HIS GOOD BUDDIES, and JOHNNY BREGAR. Featuring the former singer of Sub Pop’s VELOCITY GIRL and drummer of HARVEY DANGER, Adamson is in good company for bringing the family-friendly jams…
Name: Danny Adamson
Children: Two sons – Henry, age 11 and Elliott, age 9.
Musical History (in his own words): Tons of bands that nobody has ever heard of, where I played guitar and sang (WAFFLE STOMPER, THE GREEN, MERKIN, THE TERRORISTS [pre-9/11], KENTUCKY PISTOL), one band that nobody has ever heard of that I played drums in (MATH), another band that about 19 people may have heard of, where I played guitar and was in the band just long enough to record one 7” record with (KILL SADIE) and then…..THE NOT-ITS!
-WHAT FATHERHOOD MEANS-
THE ROCK FATHER (James): Have your kids been exposed to your creative works? If so, what do they think?
DANNY: They have been very exposed. Sometimes I write songs while playing guitar to them as they go to sleep. When those songs start taking shape the boys definitely chime in, especially Elliott, and share their opinions & suggestions. They also throw song topic ideas my way, which is fun. Bottom line though – they are 11 & 9 (they were super into THE NOT-ITS! 4 years ago) and would rather hear MACKLEMORE or IMAGINE DRAGONS than listen to THE NOT-ITS!, but they are starting to take a little more ownership with it since I put them on stage with us to play on some of the songs (tambourine, bells & glockenspiel).
JAMES: Has being a parent changed your creative output or the way you view your musical life?
DANNY: Absolutely! Let’s face it….had I not had kids, there is NO WAY I would have ever played this type of music, or even known about it. Our industry has come far, but we have a long way to go! If we’re just talking about Seattle, my guess is that 50% of people with kids know ZERO about the whole Kindie movement, or whatever you’d like to call all of us. So being a parent opened up this wonderful world of making music for families. I always thought it would be about making the best songs we could, but I never knew so much of our creative energy would go into the crowd participation end or making an engaging live show. So being a parent has allowed me the chance to look at our songs and performance with the eyes of “what will my kids like?”
JAMES: What do you find to be the hardest thing about balancing your music with your parenting duties?
DANNY: The better question is how do I balance music with my marriage or relationship??? Hahah… With parenting, shows can get in the way when it comes to making my kids’ soccer games and things like that. Out of town shows don’t necessarily get in the way too much because THE NOT-ITS! are on a pretty limited “out of town shows” leash. All five of us with spouses and kids does not a touring band make. We limit ourselves to only a couple of week long “tours” per year and a few other long weekend trips (but f***ing love to tour!!!)
JAMES: How did you first introduce music to your children?
DANNY: I’ve introduced it since the womb. I was actually playing guitar and singing full volume/projection when Rebecca was full term pregnant with our second child and that’s when her water broke. He kicked to the beat saying he wanted out to dance! I hit them hard and heavy when they were young to bands like FUGAZI, JAWBREAKER, AVAIL, RYE COALITION & THE BLOOD BROTHERS and they dig that stuff, but are now self selecting to become BEATLES and oldies fans which is pretty awesome. I still play acoustic guitar and sing to them at bedtime. They’ve also got a nice sized 80’s streak in them! MJ, Go-Go’s, etc.
JAMES: What’s the most “rock and roll” thing you’ve ever done with your kids?
DANNY: I would say it was taking them on a little tour. We had 3 shows in Colorado and they came along. Doesn’t get much more rock and roll than that.
JAMES: Last thing – since we’re so big on toys here at Rock Father HQ. Favorite toys?
DANNY: Of course all generations like LEGOs. We have a good amount of those and I still had mine from back in the day that I was able to pass on. My guys got into POKEMON and slightly into MAGIC: THE GATHERING, which I will say hurts my brain. This severely tests the bully inside me from not coming out to make fun of them.
Be sure to check out THE NOT-ITS! new album, RAISE YOUR HAND, when it hits the streets on July 15. In the meantime, check out more at the band’s official site. Want an early preview of RAISE YOUR HAND? Stream “Motorcycle Mom” below!