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QRD #73 - Father's Day 2015
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Musician Dad Interview with Phillip B. Klingler of PBK
May 2015
Name: Phillip B. Klingler
Bands: PBK
Websites: pbksound.bandcamp.comfacebook.com/pages/PBK/47347591452soundcloud.com/pbk

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

PBK – I was 25 years old when I began to consider the possibilities of working with sound.

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

PBK – 1988: Minoy/PBK “Devil’s Music” concert at Cal State, shut down by protesting students who perceive it as an on-stage satanic ritual; 1996: PBK concert (with musical assistance from cousin, Artemis K) at the 2nd Experiences Festival in Paris, France, event also featured Con Demek, Shimpflucche Gruppe & Toy Bizarre; 2004: U.S. tour PBK, Govt. Alpha (Japan); 2015: PBK/Jim O’Rourke collaboration 2xLP Unidentified Again on Pica Disk.

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

PBK – Never made plans to become a father really, just lived my life & had a bunch of kids along the way. I’ve been married five times & have had seven children. My first son was born in 1980 when I was only 19. My youngest son was born a year & a half ago when I was 53.

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

PBK – Children are needy &, as a parent, you must always attend to their needs first (before your own). I have never been a “career” musician & I do all of my work at home, so the time I have for working is definitely impacted by my kids’ schedules: meals, getting up for school, off the bus at the end of the school day, bath/bed times, taking care of them when they get sick, & so on. If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. But when I think about it, the first time I felt this great, incomparable, unbound LOVE - I was looking into my newborn child’s eyes & that profound impact informed all of my work from that moment onward.

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

PBK – I consider my working with sound to be different from a “career”, as I’ve never made any money from it & have always supported my creative efforts with a day job. My creative works are more of a compulsion &... well, compulsion doesn’t work logically, or pragmatically. So, very often when I am in the thick of it, working intensely on a composition, I have a hard time thinking about anything else. It can be a big weight for me personally, diffusing my direction, diluting the attention I can give to other responsibilities. It’s like the guy in that surrealist movie (Un Chien Andalou) dragging those pianos with dead donkeys on them, you can’t stop thinking about the stuff you’ve been working on, it’s a big burden. Creative obsession does not cooperate very well with the parental calling.

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

PBK – My kids, as they have grown up & found their own tastes, have turned me on to music they like. So, I’ve learned about some music through them. The more important part of your question is how have they affected the music I make. But because the way I work is so spontaneous, there is no reasonable way to measure what goes through the brain & finds its way into the composition. All the events of the day, my loved ones, & our experiences together are there as the catalyst for what is created expressionistically in my soundwork.

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

PBK – I have always needed a day job as I have made very little money from my work. For the last ten years I have been a stay-at-home dad, & my wife carries the financial responsibility of the household. So you could say that at this point, my job, life, & music career are all deeply intertwined & more dependent on one another than ever.

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

PBK – No question, for those of us who have children, being a parent is the most important role we have. As my old mentor, Wolf Niessen, would put it, our self-knowledge & enlightenment, that information is contained in our DNA. From the very first moment of conception you are already raising your children in a particular way without even knowing it. The practical lessons, as well as the more esoteric experiences we give them, they help to create & change a small part of the community. I have great faith in these small changes as altogether they add up to: evolution.

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?

PBK – Simple. When my four youngest ones are awake, I don’t work on my projects. I keep my time open to them. Once they sleep, then it is my time to work. As they get older, more self-sufficient, there will come a day when I’ll be able to put maybe a little more time into my work, but at the moment I have four kids at home aged 1 - 10 & they keep me very busy! So, my output has suffered a bit, especially since our baby boy was born in 2014.

QRD – What do your kids think of your music?

PBK – My wife has been really wonderful about teaching my (youngest) kids about their dad’s music. It’s a little hard to share noisy sounds with children’s ears; they have a natural curiosity, but they don’t like being assaulted with heavy noise(s). I don’t ask my older kids if they like my work. I’ve had them listen to it on occasion & they’ve been to some of my live gigs too, but to be honest, I don’t really know what they think of it!

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

PBK – Of course.

QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

PBK – Do your thing without compromise. Kill your idols. Fuck nostalgia. Save the planet.