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QRD #50 - Artistic Father Interview Series
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Father's Day Interviews:
Jason Ward
Khristian Weeks
Don Campau
Eugene Chadbourne
Kurt Dinse
Justin Bieler
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Interview with Musician Dad Eugene Chadbourne
June 2011

Name: Eugene Chadbourne
Bands: The Chadbournes, Shockabilly, Chadbourne Baptist Church, G.O.I.N., Me & Paul, The Jack & Jim Show, New Directions in Appalachian Music, Hellington Country  
Websites: eugenechadbourne.com

QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?

Eugene – Early 20s.

QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?

Eugene – Getting to play with Jimmy Carl Black.  Getting to play with Han Bennink.  Getting to play with Paul Lovens.  Getting to play with Ed Cassady. Getting to play at the Museum of Marionettes in Palermo.

QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?

Eugene – I got involved with a woman who had a young daughter from a previous marriage. I began raising Jenny & adopted her several years later. So I was an instant father.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?

Eugene – I can’t think of anything negative. Being a parent & being around children & adolescents as a role model has not only shaped the progression of my music, but made it richer in content & more powerful emotionally ? at least that’s what I hope!

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?

Eugene – I would say the touring, but in my case it doesn’t seem to have really bothered my children in the long run.

QRD – Have your daughters effected the music you make &/or listen to?

Eugene – I have three daughters & I would say yes in all cases.

QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?

Eugene – DUH.

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?

Eugene – This doesn’t apply to me, I always toured, my wife stayed home. It was a one-career family, rare these days.

QRD – Do you think being a father & a musician has an impact on your community?

Eugene – Anything anyone does has an impact on the community. Being a musician has a very positive impact & obviously being a father does as well.

QRD – Would you rather see your children eventually become musicians or parents?

Eugene – I don’t see why they can’t be both, but I never thought about “rather” in terms of what they would do with their lives. Jenny is an entrepreneur, festival organizer, festival worker, club promoter & booker. Molly is studying to be a nurse. Lizzie just graduated from the Peace Studies program at Goucher in Baltimore, she is going to be a teacher working with under-privileged kids.

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?

Eugene – That is the most difficult thing, because many aspects of creativity demand suspending the clock. One does the best one can. I always had a problem being over productive. Putting aside things to be with my children was a healthy solution ? not that it worked!

QRD – What do your daughters think of your music?

Eugene – I would say my three daughters are among my biggest fans, although they don’t act like some of my really obsessive fans.

QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your children?

Eugene – I have done many with all three. Jenny started out doing some album & tape covers for me, eventually she was my driver & road manager. We still like to collaborate on events. Molly learned a set of material at the age of 7 & went on the road with me, we still like to sing together. Lizzie also followed her footsteps & most recently was part of the backup singing group on the Bigger Country Boobs CD. The girls are featured on other recordings such as Country Boobs, Jungle Cookies, the Acquaduct, & Jesse Helms Busted with Pornography.

QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

Eugene – Find something you like to do & do it. Figure out how to survive from it. Listen to advice, but don’t take it all the time. If you are creative, don’t pay attention to people who try to discourage you. Make sure you create something that you like, if you can’t listen to your own music don’t expect anybody else to.