The Dads


The dads 1980

The Dads

Andrea said it yesterday and I guess I agree with her. The Dads was my golden opportunity. If I was going to make it as a rock star then that band, at that time, with my old friend Parthenon Huxley, was the vehicle. Since then I have pretty much struggled musically. I think the songs I wrote after the Dads broke up were better, but there was no band to play them, just me with my acoustic guitar and that got boring fast.

This is how I explained it in some interview either for an imaginary magazine or maybe I wrote it in case I ever got interviewed for a magazine. Rock stars do this a lot. They answer questions in imaginary interviews in their heads. But I took it a step further and actually wrote it down.

"This was my greatest and most painful musical experience. I really believed this band was going to 'make it' as did a lot of other people but my partners never wanted to practice and then complained that I was not up to their standards of musicianship. 17 years later and I still get pissed off when I think about it.

It was Rick's idea that we would have this dream band and we would make it. It was our destiny. We had been playing together since 1968 in Greece and the whole time he was at UNC, I was working in restaurants waiting to start this dream band. He would say "Not til I get my degree so I have something to fall back upon". Meanwhile I was developing a talent to fall back upon: my dishwashing experience. Then what does he do his senior year? He joins 'The Blazers'. A local rockabilly cover band. I couldn't believe it. I stopped talking to him for a year or so.

Then I discovered Arrogance, in my mind the greatest American Rock band ever. Led by Don Dixon and Robert Kirkland who were the two best singer/songwriters in the history of recorded music, Arrogance was the tightest hardest rocking musical band I had ever heard. They would spend 3 hours on their soundchecks and their shows were 3 hour long sets of great original music. As anyone who has heard Dixon will agree, the guy is the best singing bass player and one of the most dynamic performers who has never made it. And Robert Kirkland was just as good if not better.

Rick and I met Dixon who became intrigued that we had been playing together for so long and convinced Dave Robert to give us a record deal with Moonlight. From those sessions came the Dads. Rick and I played guitars, Zoe Lagergrin was a frontman/lead singer and amazing lead guitarist for his own band and he became our bassplayer and Dr. Scott Schwartswelder was a boyfriend of one of Rick's ex-girlfriends. We had two rehearsals and learned 8 originals and two covers and went to open for Arrogance in Greenville at the Attic. (Our opening number was 'I Can See for Miles'). That gig served as our rehearsal for the next night in Chapel Hill which was Halloween where again we opened for Arrogance at the Cat's Cradle. The following night we opened for Secret Service at the Station.(See how each gig is a rehearsal for the next? We would learn new songs at sound check and play them that night.)

The next week we were opening for the Fleshtones at the Cradle but while we were doing our soundcheck they called to cancel so we learned a few more songs and played the whole show. Two weeks later we did Thurs, Fr and Sat at the Cradle. Two one and a half hour sets. (We practiced for that one).

It really seemd we were destined for big things. New York Rocker said we were cool and everyone came to our shows, danced all night and sang along to our songs. We played loud and fast Beatles-inspired Originals(Move inspired really but nobody really knew the Move). We never really worked on our harmonies but we did em anyway. We even played the graduation party for the Cocoran Art School in Washington DC.

Then one day the other three guys decided that they would be a better band without me. This was when the Police had just introduced themselves and Rick was mesmorized by Sting and his ability to integrate his personal philosophy with his music. In my opinion he envisioned himself as the next Sting rather then us as the next Lennon/McCartney (or Wood/Lynne) and so they kicked me out of the band.They went to Mitch Easter's studio and recorded 3 songs that sound exactly like the Police and then did nothing for almost a year. 

Eventually I talked them into being the Dads again for the sake of money (that was actually the argument that convinced them all) and we started as we had the year previously, opening for Arrogance. But we never did get as popular again and nobody really made me feel like I was welcome back into the fold so I quit and that was the end.

Lots of bands do reunions or even get back together but this one won't, even though Rick and I are friends again. One reason is because he is now in ELO and travels all over the world to exotic places like Sofia, Bulgaria and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The other reason is because Zoe passed away and to do it without him seems ridiculous to me.

Nevertheless, this was a great band " Matt

Dads at the Cat's Cradle
Here are some live recordings of The Dads from 1980-81

1. Everytime I Speak: We usually opened our shows with this song of Zoe's which he sings.
Jaded: This is one of Rick's (Parthenon), sung by Matt and Rick
Actress: This is a song by our friend Jimmy Agnello that we sort of adopted and made it our own. Matt sings it.
Actress 2: This is another version of Actress which includes Scott's famous rambling on the fly 10 minute introduction to the Mind/Body connection which any aspiring philosophers and psycholgists will want to hear.
No Next Big Thing: Another of Rick's. Probably my favorite of his. He should re-record it and put it on his next album.
The Machine: Another one of Zoe's and probably my favorite of all the Dad's songs.
Trying to Tell You: One of 2 songs by our drummer Dr Scott. The other was The Spinctor of Love.
Lookin for a Sputnik: Rick later recorded this with Rick Rock and it is on at least one of his albums but I think of it as a Dads song.
17: Not one of my best but the only one that sounded good enough to include.
Body Zen: One of Zoe's whose songs were always the best and the most fun to play.
Saving up for L57: This song of Rick's about space communities could have been a hit
To Those People: One of the first songs we learned of Ricks.
I Could Kill TV: Another Raspberryish song of Rick's.

Most of these songs were from the Cat's Cradle though Actress was recorded at The Pier in Raleigh. We have tapes of about 20 shows and it is just a matter of finding songs that sound OK and can be included here so stay tuned. Maybe I will add some more in another 30 years.

This is a rare Dad's studio song: Another World, which later became All My Friends from Greece

Reviews for The Dads

Here's a band that has a lotof nerve. The territory they cover is not new. There must be thousands of bands nationwide that are presently purveying the same kind of energetic melodic pop regarded by the soulless record industry as the 'commercial' branch of New Wave. The Dads. however, have the shameless audacity to render this sound far better then most. 

The Dads more then any other local New Wave act are reliant upon audience response. Despite their overt professionalism and self-confidence, the power level they attain is a direct function of how much crowd interaction they generate. When the chemistry is right, the Dads can be ominous. 

So how do the Dads succeed where some nationally signed acts fail? Most big acts fall victim to a commercially contrived pop formula. The Dads don't. This is not to say they are devoid of musical calculation, they are simply a lot more fresh and concoct a healthy dose of good-time Beatle-isms that work in a contemporary mold. You like the Raspberries? You'll love the Dads. Trust me. 

--Ken Friedman

Fourteen Songs Live-The Dads

This is rock and roll. After one listen to this album-length collection of live tracks from the Cat's Cradle(Nov 81) and the Pier(Jan 82), plus three studio cuts, I'm forced to wonder why the Dads have not progressed further down the road to "success". Unless of course there is a plan to develop a cult reputation of mythic proportions. 

Nothing says it better then a hit. Considering the problems inherent in live recordings-no second takes, for starters-The Dads potential for success shines through. The 14 songs here, even at their weakest, point to refined pop sensibilities and a feel for situations that real people go through in life. 

Well what do they sound like? Beyond sounding like the Dads they show influences as diverse as John Lennon, Ray Davies, the Byrds and the Move. 

Until Triangle Rock and Roll consumers and fans get the opportunity to hear the recorded works of the Dads, the best bet is to catch them at their next appearance. 

--Tony Madejczyk-The Spectator

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