"I would guess it was about nine months before my son was born (haha)!," quips the multi-talented DANNY WEINKAUF, recalling the moment he realized that he'd soon be entering the world of Fatherhood. "I was both excited and nervous - all the usual reasons and we knew we wanted a child so it was not a total surprise." Now, ahead of Rock Father's Day 2014, the THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS bassist has a new solo record out with NO SCHOOL TODAY, and is throwing down some words about Fatherhood and Music...
Name: Danny Weinkauf
Offspring: Son, Kai (14), Daughter, Lena (12).
Musical History: A GRAMMY winning, New York based composer and multi-instrumentalist in the field of film and television music.
In addition to his composition work, Danny records and tours with the multi GRAMMY-winning, platinum-selling band THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS. His work with TMBG includes writing songs for their children's albums NO, HERE COME THE 1,2,3s, and HERE COMES SCIENCE.
Danny has also worked with other groups including the GRAMMY-nominated FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE, Academy Award nominated singer Mike Viola, David Mead, Lincoln, Mono Puff, and Stephen Fretwell.
Current Project: New Solo family music album NO SCHOOL TODAY. Packed with 16 catchy and memorable tunes, NO SCHOOL TODAY covers topics from marsupials to archaeology, spelling bees, voting rights, the four food groups, and even a song about BEN FOLDS.
Was there any concern that you wouldn't be able to balance your family life with your musical career?
Yes, there was certainly concern about balancing family and a career in music. I would be crazy not to be concerned. The music business is notoriously unstable, touring can send you away from your family for extended periods of time etc. It's a lot to balance. Fortunately my wife is a very supportive and strong woman - it never had to become a choice between family or music. I'm one of the lucky ones. I'd miss my family (…no, no , no - just kidding) Family first and always.
What is your kids' relationship with your music?
They have never known life without being around me and my music. So, in a way it's almost the same as if I were a doctor or fireman. It's just what their Dad does for work and fun.
Once in a while I think they are reminded that others might see it as "cool" and I think they enjoy that. They are also by biggest critics. When I play a new track for them, if they don't like something they do not hesitate to let me know and they don't worry about feelings - they speak their minds. It can be tough to hear the truth sometimes but generally it makes me examine what they've commented on and usually I'll go back and fix the track.
Has being a parent changed your creative output or the way you view your musical life?
Being a father has made a huge impact on the way I make music these days. For one thing I've learned to work in spurts of time. I grab 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and put 'em together and hopefully wind up with a song. Also, my son Kai is a great singer so I often ask him to sing on tracks I'm recording. In addition to that, having kids has reminded me about how fun it can be to discover something interesting for the first time. My kids' love of dinosaurs enabled me to write my song "I am a Paleontologist" based on our mutual interest in them. Also, on the business side of things I have to be focused on earning enough to contribute to keeping our standard of living at a certain level. If i didn't have children that would be a much lower number and not as important to me. Having kids has also made me much more interested in music for children and specifically in music that doesn't "sing down" to them and is also educationally motivating in its lyrical content.
What do you find hardest about balancing music and parenting?
The hardest part about balancing my music with my parenting duties is going on tour. I LOVE to play live and I love to travel but I HATE to have to be away from my family.
-WHAT FATHERHOOD MEANS-
"I guess one of the things fatherhood means to me is just trying every day to be the best parent I can be in so many ways - and hope that that is good enough."Danny Weinkauf
JAMES: How have you introduced music to your children?
I have introduced my children to music in many ways. I play my favorite music for them constantly and they have taken lessons in and outside of school . But I don't push them or force it on them
I would not want to take the joy out of something that I love so much.
What's the most “rock and roll” thing you've ever done with your kids?
Well, there was that time when we made our own moonshine and stole a couple of motorcycles and drove them into some rich guy's pool. Does that count as "rock 'n' roll"?
Final question - Favorite Toys?
My son Loves bionicles and I do too!