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QRD #73 - Father's Day 2015
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Musician Dad Interview with Nick Fishman
May 2015

Name: Nick Fishman
Bands: Nick Fishman Blues Band, John William Gordon Trio, Joshua Cook & The Key of Now
Websites: www.nickfishmandrums.com, www.johnwilliamgordon.com, www.keyofnow.com

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

Nick – I think was 7 when I realized I wanted to be a drummer.

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

Nick – Lots of highlights, but some that stand out would be touring all the time, traveling around the world playing huge festivals, & recording my own CD.

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

Nick – I always wanted to be a father some day, but always thought that day was in the future some time. My then girlfriend/now wife got pregnant 3 years ago when I was 27 & I was in complete shock for about a day, then after that was over I got excited about it.

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

Nick – The only real negative I can think of is that I don’t have the time to practice that I used to.  For me at least, there’s been so many positive impacts & they’re all pretty cliché, but one people without a child might not have thought of is that a child’s a great excuse to say no to anything. “Oh shucks, I can’t make that mediocre gig with your band that I really don’t like playing with because I need to watch my daughter that night & my wife’s busy.”

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

Nick – No negatives that I can think of. I’m sure if you asked my wife she could think of some, but I think my career has an awesome impact on my family. I’m always playing the best music in the house, new & old for my daughter & the musicians that I work with closely who know my family are just wonderful, talented, & fun people.

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

Nick – No way.

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

Nick – No, but I for sure would if my wife didn’t have a good job. Here in the San Francisco bay area it would basically be impossible to raise a child on a musician’s income from gigs alone.

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?

Nick – Well, I was touring about 200 days a year for four years, got burnt out, gave a 9 month notice to the band I was playing in, THEN found out my girlfriend was pregnant a few months later. So I feel like I did get the crazy touring in & everything just happened to work out the way it was supposed to.  I still go on tour now & then when one comes up I can’t say no to & it’s still just as fun as it ever was.

QRD – Do you think being a father or a musician has a greater impact on your community?

Nick – Musician so far at least.  Maybe that will change when my daughter gets older, but for now me being a father doesn’t really impact my community at all.

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

Nick – I couldn’t choose. As long as my child’s healthy & happy, whatever they want to do I’ll be happy for them.  I’m not either the “you need to be a musician” type or the “I want grandkids” type.

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?

Nick – Family always comes first now.  I practice when I can & haven’t had any real conflicts with gigs. Practicing all day every day was also something I did for years & kind of got burnt out doing shortly before having a child.

QRD – What does your daughter think of your music?

Nick – She sings along to one or two songs off albums I’m on, but doesn’t really care for the most part.

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

Nick – Probably not. First off she’d need to be a high level professional musician & what are the chances of that? & second, it seems like one of those things that’s just always going to be cheesy.

QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

Nick – Ahh, where do I even start? How about this. Music’s about playing good music that YOU believe in & learning to play your instrument well. Music is not about playing what you assume other people will think is cool & trying to take shortcuts learning your instrument. The last thing I wanna see is another guy who can’t really play but has a cool image & tries to fool everyone with the “Oh, I just play raw with tons of feeling” lie. I can actually play whatever I’m feeling because I have the facility on my instrument to do so. These people are just the scum of the earth in my opinion.  If you’re going to be a musician, learn to play your instrument properly!