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QRD #50 - Artistic Father Interview Series
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Father's Day Interviews:
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Don Campau
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Interview with Musician Dad Don Campau
June 2011

Name: Don Campau
Bands: Don Campau
Websites: www.doncampau.com

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

Don – I’ve never been a professional musician & do not want to be one.

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

Don – Recording my own music for over 40 years & trading tapes & CDs with like-minded individuals all over the world. Also hosting “No Pigeonholes” since 1985, my radio show about the home recording scene. Both of these activities have resulted in me making friends all over the world. It also resulted in me marrying a home taper from New Jersey.

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

Don – I always wanted kids, but like a lot of guys I kept wanting to push it back. & like a lot of things it just sort of happened... once, twice, three times. Never regretted any of it & love it more than almost anything. & now I have 4 grandkids... incredibly rewarding & joyful.

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

Don – My family always came first no matter what, then my job to support us. Music came last, but I always found time to do it & many times involved my own kids in the making of it. The positive aspects include my family influencing & cheering me on, at least my kids. Not so much my first wife; but I don’t blame her, it just wasn’t her thing. 

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

Don – My children came to realize early on the importance of music to me. They understood that Dad did not watch TV, but went into the garage to make songs. They liked being part of it I think. I believe that my first wife felt I was being selfish (true no doubt) because I did not give her enough attention perhaps. It just wasn’t meant to be with her. My incredible second wife is a musician herself so she totally gets me & supports what I do. However, we have two separate studios because we need our independence in this matter. Sometimes we will appear on each other’s songs.

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

Don – Certainly, both my daughters & my son. Check out my album from 1987, “Pinata Party”, they are major players & influences. Hear it here: http://www.archive.org/details/DonCampauPinataParty
I would not tell them to “hush” if I was taping, but encouraged them to join me. When they got older they actually suggested different music for me listen to. & in the early to mid 90s we liked a lot of the same bands & music.

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

Don – No because I had a steady job & never made money from making music.

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?

Don – No. I would not tour even if I was single with no kids. I like being home too much. Maybe a few gigs here & there (like when we toured Europe in 1991 & 1996), but that also involved meeting & visiting friends along the way.

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

Don – Only in the sense of being an individual that cares about other people & makes personal contact. & also showing that being a parent doesn’t mean you have to give up your art.

QRD – Would you rather see your children eventually become a musician or parent?

Don – Whatever they want to do is their own path, they will find their way, make their own mistakes & have their own rewards. 

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?

Don – Balance is a key element & sometimes giving up sleep. Now my kids are long gone so there isn’t a problem. With my current wife we know how to balance things perfectly. We spend a lot of time doing our own thing, but make sure to put energy & passion into our time together. Heck, that’s why we got married.

QRD – What do your children think of your music?

Don – All 3 of my kids have some knowledge of my tunes, but do not “study” me nor are walking encyclopedias of Dad. I give them my releases sometimes if I think they might be interested, but not always. They remember our time at home & participating with me fondly I would hope.

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

Don – I have done some. In addition to them all appearing on my home tapes I produced 2 tapes by my daughter Nicole. One when she was like 11 & the other when she was 19. After that life took them all in different directions.

QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

Don – Stay open minded if possible & challenge yourself with new ideas & ways of looking at the world. Read, listen, discuss & feel.