with D.A. Sebasstian of Kill Switch...Klick & The Inner Demons
May 13, 2007
D.A. Sebasstian was the first musician friend I knew to have a child. So with twelve years of parenting under his belt, he seemed a natural to have some knowledge on the topic.
Name: D.A. Sebasstian
Bands: Kill Switch... Klick
QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?
D.A. – I am 43 years old & decided to become a serious musician when I was 16, sold my car to buy my first bass guitar. It was all because of punk rock & hearing The B-52’s (greatest band of all time in my opinion) in an Artist Supplies Store. That was in 1980.
QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?
D.A. – Playing my first trombone solo when I was 11. Playing The Orange Show Fair Grounds in 1984 with my band Montage. That was the first time as a singer that I realized the energy of performance in larger venues. Headlining Madame Wongs & Gazarri’s in Hollywood with Montage back in the 1980’s. Playing the Guild Theater in Sacramento with my band Kill Switch...Klick on our first U.S. Tour. That show was the turning point for KsK. I knew we had the potential to be a great band - not just a recording project.
QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?
D.A. – Sidney my son was born in 1995 when I was 31. My daughter Vienna was born in 1997. Their birth dates (coincidentally) were at the same time my biggest albums to date came out. Beat It To Fit, Paint It To Match in 1995 & deGenerate in 1997. I also had a daughter from a girlfriend that we put up for adoption back in 1990. All I know about her is her name is Jessica & her adoptive parents were in the Navy stationed in Hawaii.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?
D.A. – All positive. My wife is also a musician & very very supportive. Kill Switch...Klick went on two major U.S. tours right after both my children were born in support of albums. My wife never complained once. Now my son & daughter are musicians & teaching me how to teach. That’s a great lesson for any person. To share what you know about something makes you realize what you don’t know, & where you should concentrate your creativity.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?
D.A. – It’s all been positive. My kids love watching me play & now me & my son jam (he’s a drummer), although I haven’t played with Kill Switch...Klick since 1997. At that time I was concentrating on starting a record label & doing more producing other bands. After the deGenerate Tour I had a bit of a nervous break down. Mike Ditmore had quit the band right before the tour & I was burnt out from trying to promote the band. The tour itself was a financial disaster. All because our van blew up right before the first gig in San Francisco. Being on an indie label, even one with a decent profile & roster like Cleopatra Records, has its drawbacks. Now my wife & I own a highly successful School for the Arts in Seattle. My kids really dig that.
QRD – Have your children effected the music you make &/or listen to?
D.A. – No. My son & daughter really dig the old punk stuff. My son is especially into the Beastie Boys & Rage Against the Machine. My daughter is into girl power pop & classical. They also have all my CDs in their music collection & iPods. My son has always liked my music & both have been guest vocalists on Kill Switch...Klick records. My wife used to come to band practice when she was pregnant & we had this one song called “Go Man, Go” with a really low sub-bass pulse. He would kick every time we played that song. My kids also graced the cover of Organica (fifth Kill Switch...Klick CD). They are an integral part of my musical life.
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?
D.A. – I don’t make music to make money. I have made money from music, mostly from royalties & MTV, enough to buy new equipment with - but not enough to live on. I never expected that. You need to work to be a proper proletariat. Labor is good for the soul. By work I mean doing something you may not want to do to make money. If you get everything you want, your music may suffer. Look at Brittany Spears or Metallica. I don’t believe in self-punishment for success, but if you feel sorry for yourself because your music isn’t “big time” then you will ruin your life. You become a corporate whore wannabe. “Music business” is an oxymoron. I just make music. If it doesn’t pay the bills, I find other ways.
QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on being a touring musician, would you have toured more earlier in life if you’d known?
D.A. – No. I toured when I was ready; right after Beat It To Fit & deGenerate came out. My family supported that. I know they will support my film tours for Hot Rod Girls Save The World in 2008. In fact I will probably bring them with me.
QRD – Do you think being a father or a musician has a greater impact on your community?
D.A. – Being the father of musicians has the greatest impact. It is a legacy to be continued. It grows, like the gypsies spreading music from generation to generation.
QRD – Would you rather see your child eventually become a musician or parent?
D.A. – Anything but a Republican! Seriously they both are already accomplished musicians. My son has played multiple drum kit solos in the school district talent shows. He is now going to middle school where he is in Jazz Band & Wind Ensemble. He plays better than many of the adult drummers I worked with in my musical past. My daughter just won first place in a City Piano Competition. She also put together this incredible solo stage act, mixing jazz vocals with piano. I couldn’t believe she did it all by herself. I am amazed at how good they are so young. I hope they also become parents, but if they do not, I guess I will not be called Grandpapa D.A.
QRD – Both family & music seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in. How do you end up dividing your time?
D.A. – My family suffers a little bit. They know when I’m editing a scene for my movie or recording a song to not enter my studio. I spend at least 5-6 hours a day in the studio (which is in our school). But by owning our Arts & Music School, I get to pick them up from regular school everyday. I don’t have to be downtown for a 9-5 job like I used to just a few years ago. I also spend afternoons with them everyday. Sometimes we do a Daddy Day where they skip elementary school & we go shopping or to a cafe & just hang out & talk. My family are my best friends. My wife is a musician so she understands it takes time to write & that I need my alone time to do this.
QRD – Do you have a split/secret life between being a parent & being a musician?
D.A. – No.
QRD – What do your children think of your music?
D.A. – They dig it. Sometimes they will critique a performance. Like, “Dad, shouldn’t you have played this or that,” in a song. My daughter has a little girl band called The Mariposa’s. I actually help write their music. It’s fun.
QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your children?
D.A. – Yes. They have already guested on two of my albums. I may produce a CD of their music in the next year or so. I have also talked to my son about laying down some beats for my next solo record. We all work well together. Almost like the Partridge Family!
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?
D.A. – “Always work. Go to church. Do right.” ~ Cabaret Voltaire