This Father’s Day my quest is to be as lazy as possible without appearing to be ungrateful or a bad father. If I could move my couch and laptop to the nearest White Castle and camp out for a day feasting on delicious burgers and watching hunting shows.
There were days before I had children that I enjoyed extreme forms of laziness. I have spent some days doing nothing but eating and watching ‘Law & Order’ reruns. I’m not proud of being that lazy, but sometimes you just have to be. I spend the rest of my time trying hard to achieve ambitious things, so a day here and there of intense couch warming is not out of line.
But having children means that those days of restorative sloth are behind me for the time being. If you are the father of small children you have some kind of work to do just to make sure your children don’t wander into traffic and get themselves killed. Children have to be fed every day, and if you don’t change their diapers with regularity they begin to smell bad and behave strangely.
This coming Father’s Day I will relax as much as possible and I plan to travel with my family to Staten Island to the Punk Island festival. This will be the first time in several years that our band Blackout Shoppers is not playing the all-day FREE festival (our guitar player will be out of the country). I’m eager to be able to go and enjoy it without having to worry about bringing equipment or being ready to play. My wife and I plan to bring ear protection for the girls and they can walk now so it may be a chore keeping them out of the mosh pits because they love to dance when they hear music. But any stress will be well worth it.
I am very lucky to have the father I have. He raised me with a good sense of right and wrong and a love of reading and the arts. Not everyone is so lucky, but having a good father is not a prerequisite for being one. I’ve discovered that fatherhood is a lot like hunting. If you have good instincts and are willing to put in the time, you’re chances of success will be much greater.
At the end of the day Sunday I will have relaxed as much as I can and my children will have survived my indulgent slacking off.
Of course I’d like to do better than having children that merely survive. I want my daughters to be willful and strong, and smart enough not to be subservient to the societal groupthink that is slowly choking the life out of the American intellect. I want my girls to be able to be legendary warrior-poets and forge their poetic souls to the cause of their people and be among the elite of their future world. But I’ve got to get them potty trained first.
This Saturday is the Punk Island 2014 festival in New York City. It will feature almost 100 bands on seven stages all for FREE on Staten Island.
I have had the good fortune to have been a fan of punk rock music since I first heard ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ in the eighth grade. And 10 years ago I decided I would take a stab at being in a punk band of my own and started a band called Blackout Shoppers.
Full disclosure: our band is playing Punk Island and has played the festival several times, and we are friends with several of the principal organizers. But this isn’t world of laminated back stage passes and cushy green rooms. In the world of DIY punk rock music, the back scratching and mutual admiration dick sucking doesn’t earn you big rock and roll money; it maybe gets you a space on a floor to sleep on, and maybe a free beer.
The Punk Island festival for the first several years of its life was held on Governor’s Island. Governor’s Island is an excellent place to visit. A former Army base, airfield and Coast Guard base, Governor’s Island boasts lots of great historic sites and rarely-seen views of Manhattan and industrial waterfront Brooklyn.
Governor’s Island became off limits in the wake of the damage done by Superstorm Sandy and more recent park development by the city.
So last year, Punk Island moved to Staten Island. It takes place on a small strip of land and pier right near the Staten Island Ferry terminal. It was a long, hot day but it was well run and everyone had a good time. It wouldn’t be a punk show without a few fights and problems. But last year only one person went to the hospital and no one went to jail; that’s a win-win for a punk rock festival.
People have been fighting over what the term Punk Rock means since 1975. Punk Island has always featured a large cross section of punk rock music. There are “crusty punk” bands with members who my live as or at least appeal to the gaggles of itinerant homeless-by-choice youngsters who smell bad. There are beat-down hardcore bands that buy tattoo ink by the gallon. There are “pop punk” bands who may sound like Green Day though they probably don’t want you to tell them that. Punk Island even has a Brooklyn TransCore stage because trannies from Brooklyn have created their own punk scene. More power to them all.
Our band has agreed to help provide equipment for the Dispatches from the Underground stage, which we’ll be playing. So I will be there bright and early by 7 a.m. It will be a day baking in the sun with my ears ringing from the sounds of a multitude of punk bands. By noon I will be a disgusting miasma of sweat and coagulated sunscreen. It will be great. As much as my inner adult voice tells me to be more serious about life, and that punk rock is a young man’s game, I find it hard to tear myself away, try though I might.
Punk Island is a very short walk from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and it’s free and for all ages. It it will have all kinds of punk bands there. You have no excuse not to go.