“They’re part of the subject matter, have helped with songs and song titles and are my best critics,” says POOCHAMUNGAS frontman JOHN JOYCE about his 9-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. The self-proclaimed “stay-at-home Firefighter Dad” wears many hats, flipping between his duties as a “Rock Father” and those of the Chicago Fire Department, where he’s worked for nearly two decades. Now, ahead of Rock Father’s Day 2014, it’s just been announced that John is preparing to take the stage at Lollapalooza, a newly-minted member of the “Chicago Kindie All Stars,” who will perform on the growing Kidzapalooza bill.
“The kids inspired me to write music. I played guitar before, and wrote, but the two didn’t come together until I had my daughter,” continues Joyce about the relationship between his creative output and his family life. A student at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music pre-Fatherhood, I’d asked John about his thoughts when he first realized that he’d soon become a Father for the first time. “The birth I remember (a story for another day), though I don’t really recall the pregnancy announcement other than feeling the happiest and most overwhelmed at the same time.”
A friend of mine and longtime supporter of the site, I’ve spent some time with John and his kids on a few occasions, once paying a visit to Bass Pro Shops to see the freshwater fish display (and a diver in the tank at the time), and hitting the Chicago Toy and Game Fair last Fall. John is a true Rock Father – and I’ve witnessed it first-hand…
Currently performing shows in support of his second full-length album with POOCHAMUNGAS, last year’s BLOCK PARTY! (Amazon | iTunes), I asked John to share a few thoughts about balancing his different jobs, and how music and family have become woven together…
THE ROCK FATHER (JAMES): What do you find to be the hardest about balancing your music with your duties as a parent?
JOHN JOYCE: Time. Family. Job. Band is the order in how things work around here. So I try to fit it in when I can.
JAMES: How have you introduced music to your children?
JOHN: Radio, CDs and my guitar. My daughter has great taste. When she was little, I composed a CD of her favorite songs which included VAN MORRISON, EDWIN STARR, THE BLUES BROTHERS and THE TEMPTATIONS, among others.
JAMES: That said, what are some favorite artists that you like to enjoy with your kids now?
JOHN: We’re big into the kindie scene with JUSTIN ROBERTS (big fans of The Dowd), RECESS MONKEY, THE NOT-ITS!, and of course, the POOCHAMUNGAS. DAVE HAMILTON’S latest album, CROW & RAVEN (non-Kindie) is getting a ton of play right now. They love it! (and the parents dig it too!)
JAMES What’s the most “rock and roll” thing you’ve ever done with your kids?
JOHN: My son breaks out his drums, keyboards and guitar and say’s “Lets Jam” – Can’t get more rock n roll than that! My daughter rushed the stage at her first Justin Roberts show as well.
JAMES: Last question – since we’re big on toys here at Rock Father HQ, what are some of the favorite toys at POOCHAMUNGAS HQ?
JOHN: My daughter loves to ride her bike, while my son loves flashlights and cardboard boxes. My favorite toy is my Taylor guitar and harmonicas!