Growing up I was immediately drawn to punk and hardcore. Living in a smaller southern town, I didn’t have access to the venues, bands or even much of the lifestyle of the New York Hardcore scene, yet I strangely felt akin to the outcasts there that were able to channel their frustrations through hard hitting and furiously intense music. New York Hardcore had an appeal, and nothing out there was like it.
One such inspiration for me over the years was founding member of one of my all time favorite hardcore bands, Harley Flanagan. Few names that bring up as much legend, history, admiration, or controversy than Harley, or the band he helped cement into hardcore history, Cro-Mags. His name is infamous and despite the wild tales, many he penned out in his own book, he is a dedicated father who is able to set the record straight on what a Rad Dad can be. It’s my pleasure to share this feature on Harley Flanagan. Enjoy.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
I am a Martial arts instructor, musician and author. Sadly I am like probably more then half the fathers in this country today, who doesn’t live with their kids, so I don’t see them as much as I’d like, I miss the days of being with them everyday and training with them and spending all that quality time- every moment of it. I see them every other weekend and alternating vacations etc, and of course this comes with its own set of challenges. I am just grateful I got to spend so much time with them when they where young. I was their “primary caregiver” and I think that is why we still have such a great relationship; I always hugged them, always gave them lots of kisses and love, and I always trained Jiu-Jitsu with them. So we always rolled around and played together and I still train with them.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
It means being involved with my kids as much as possible; teaching them from my experiences, the good and the bad ones, and trying to set some kind of good example for them despite the life that I lived in my youth.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
It stopped me from being as wild; I started to think about consequences. It forced me to grow up.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
Spending time with my kids.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
I have too many, as I’m sure everyone does. It’s not really about being a father, but one that comes to mind that always makes me laugh, was when my eldest son was really little he came running into the living room one time, pulled down his underwear stretched his balls, looked at me and said “Dad look I’m growing hair”!!!!! My jaw dropped, I laughed and said thats great but please son just don’t show anyone else ok. His little brother still laughs at him about that one now that they are both much older.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Remember what you liked and loved about how your father and mother treated you, and what you didn’t like and what you didn’t think was fair, and let that help you be a better parent. Remember what it was like to be a kid. Remember the mistakes you made, and the crappy attitude you had at times. Know that their are a lot of chemical changes, hormones and everything else going on in them when they drive you nuts. Be honest with them and love them; hold on as hard as you can and be ready to let go when you have to. Your career may not always be your career, your spouse may not be your spouse forever, but your kids will always be your kids, so give them the time that they deserve.
Thanks so much, Harley. I wish you continued success in all that you do and appreciate you taking the time to chat with us.
Check out his book: HARDCORE: Life of My Own
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