… and so have I been, time and time again.
Dad was voted “Most Talented” in his senior class at Hume-Fogg Tech back in Nashville. I was about 8 or 9 when I discovered this (by looking at my folks’ old yearbooks), and I asked him if it was because of his paintings and other art.
“That might have been some of it,” he said, but he and my mom told me he had also won an award for oratory and had brought down the house with a bongo solo in a version of “Caravan” that his band did at the school talent show. “I think it was the drum solo that sealed the deal,” he said.
“Do you still have the bongos?” I asked.
He shook his head. “I hocked them to take your mother to prom.” I didn’t entirely know what that meant, but I knew he didn’t have them any more, and I went back to looking at the yearbooks.
The subject of his band came up from time to time, as my friends and I were learning to play and record ourselves. His group had been called The Elgins. I asked if they were named after the Marbles, but he said, “No — after a cheap wristwatch one of the other guys wore.” Dad did hand percussion because he couldn’t afford a full kit. A few years after that, he did a novelty record with his best friend, although Dad isn’t credited on it. And at some point, he actually met Elvis, because a friend of his was essentially being fostered by one of the Jordanaires.
I was reminded of all this by a site I ran across a little while ago, called (you guessed it) “My Dad Was In a Band“. As I scrolled through the various entries and listened to the samples of the dads’ bands’ music, I was saddened on the one hand at how many of these kids grew up separated from their fathers, and amused at how many of these dads would be, well, about my age these days (the guy from the Byrds and Lemmy’s successor from Hawkwind being notable exceptions).
Meanwhile, my band’s first (he said optimistically) album will be coming out very soon, as the tracks and art work have been delivered to our indie label, Go Zombie! Records. Years from now, after I’m gone, I wonder if the Spawn will tell her kids, “You know, my dad was in a band…”