I have seen many bands in my time. Some of the heaviest bands on earth even. When I think back to the most impressive, most brutal and terrifyingly awesome show I had ever seen it was a band called Disassociate.
I was visiting California for the first time and happened to catch them at the infamous Gilman street in the late 90s. As they got on stage I had no idea what I was in for. An absolutely crushing sonic assault from start to finish that left me with my jaw on the floor. To this day, their LP “Symbols, Signals & Noise” is one of my favorite albums of all time.
By chance I found Matthew Melnick, the guitar wizard behind those punishing riffs on Instagram. I was stoked to find out that not only is he still making music with his current bands Darkside NYC and Downlow, but he also is an extremely dedicated father to two children.
It’s my absolute pleasure to share this feature with you. Meet Matthew Melnick.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
My name is Matthew Melnick, and i’m a husband to an awesome wife, Pamela and a father to 2 excellent children, Edward 11 years old, and Madeleine 5 years old. I have no issues balancing a career and fatherly duties since i’m a full time stay at home dad! I gave up my job as an Internet support technician for Thorn Communications 6 years ago to take care of my daughter full time when she was born. My wife supports the family and works full time as a Registered Nurse at NY Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell. I take care of Madeleine and things at home like cooking, cleaning and getting the laundry done. My son is from a former relationship and lives in Illinois with his mom so visiting him is a challenge, but I make it work. I see him a couple of times a year and every summer after his birthday in July I fly out to celebrate with him, then we both fly back to NYC for his summer vacation which rules.
I’m also a musician for 35 years. I play guitar in 2 bands, Darkside NYC and Downlow. I used to play guitar in a punk band called Disassociate. I also do power electronics and noise in a band with my wife called Blood of a Zombie.
The guys in my bands also have wives and children to deal with, so the bands aren’t really a full time thing and don’t really conflict too much with my family schedule. Getting in rehearsal time and setting up shows is sometimes hard but it’s worth it. I sometimes have to settle for late night rehearsal and deal with lack of sleep.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
Being a dad these days means dealing with a whole different set of complications and situations than my dad or his dad encountered. Being equipped with a modern arsenal of knowledge and experience is crucial. I work according to a schedule, almost down to the minute, every day. If I don’t adhere to a schedule, nothing gets done! My iPhone timer and Google calendar are my essential father tools. Knowing how to cook and prepare food the kids like, knowing how to do the laundry and iron my wife’s uniforms and my daughter’s clothes are as important as knowing how to dial in the right distortion settings for my guitar rig. The attraction kids have to the internet and computers, tablets and iPads, and their exposure to advertising and media at every turn is a challenge for the modern-day dad, and it’s something I have to deal with and manage on a day to day basis. Trying to find a balance between their use of technology, real books and actual toys is probably my most important duty as a responsible dad.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
Becoming a father changed my attitude about material possessions and collecting things. When I had kids, my interest in gathering material possessions decreased a lot. At this point in life, i’d much rather have an empty basement where I can relax and my kids can play than have a basement crammed full of band t-shirts, records, CDs, videos, books and other stuff that I don’t use or wear. All that stuff really isn’t that important to me anymore. I have no one to impress by showing off a collection of old hardcore 7″s! I get more pleasure watching my kids have fun and smile than owning anything. Ok, except my guitars and synths, but even that stuff.. If a giant flood wrecked all my gear, i’d survive. It’s just wood and metal. Nothing could replace my children.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
The greatest part about being a dad is watching my kids grow up, and up and up! Their transition from just being babies and not being able to walk or talk, to watching my son rollerblade and skateboard, and seeing my daughter draw an amazing picture, or read a story to me..that’s the biggest payoff. And their faces when they say something interesting or fascinating, or if they say something funny and then laugh. it’s corny, I know, but sometimes just seeing them smile about something and gazing right into their happy faces is worth more to me than anything in the world.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
I never really grew up, ok? I mean, I grew, but never “grew up”. I still try to keep a little bit of youthfulness in my attitude and life. Anyway, for a while when my son was about 5 years old, he had a thing where he’d always talk about “poop”! There was always some way he’d manage to get that word into a conversation and i’d just crack up laughing because, yes, i’m still juvenile and that just makes me laugh, ya know? I can’t even pretend to be a mature adult sometimes (maybe that’s how I can still be in bands 30 years down the road). He’s 11 now and the poop phase is more or less over, but he’s passed the torch my daughter, and she’s carrying the poop flag for the family now. She says certain words that she hears in school or learns from friends and it’s just hilarious to me. I try not to encourage her by laughing, but sometimes I can’t help it. What’s funnier than a 5 year old coming up to you, looking you straight in the eye and saying, “Fart your Butt!”? Those surprise moments when I never know what’s going to come out of my kids mouths are the best. I have a million fun times with my kids and family. It’s like being in a real life comedy show sometimes.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Don’t take everything so seriously. Learn to laugh at things. Get your cooking skills together. Learn to iron clothes. Make sure you know where the working flashlights are. Always carry tissues and bandaids. Buy disposable items if possible. Know the difference between processed food and food that grows out of the ground and buy more of the food that grows out of the ground. Get a good coffee maker. If you get really mad, walk away, take a deep breath and dial it down a few notches. Forget about sleeping for at least 2 years.
Follow Matt and check out his works:
Matthew Melnick’s website (needs updating, but check it out anyway) http://www.matthewmelnick.com/
Matthew Melnick’s Facebook https://www.facebook.com/matthew.melnick
Matthew Melnick’s Twitter https://twitter.com/mmelnick
Matthew Melnick’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/mmelnick/
Matthew Melnick’s Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/profile?user=splifford
Darkside NYC Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarksideNYC/
Matt’s site about Brooklyn (that’s about 15 years old) http://www.lostbrooklyn.org/
Blood of a Zombie website http://www.bloodofazombie.com/
Matthew’s daughter, Madeleine’s website fartyourbutt.com