Founding member and vocalist of Underdog and Into Another, Richie Birkenhead helped set the standard for New York hardcore. If you are a fan of heavy music, you are familiar with his distinct vocal stylings, and if you aren’t prepare to become a fan of not only his music, but also his positive outlook and dedication to being a father. It was an absolute honor to be able to include Richie in our “Rad Dad Feature”, and it is my pleasure to be able to present this to you.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
I’m a singer, musician, composer and lyricist. In addition, I run a boutique-sized design and art direction firm. My work days can be long, but I make it a point to spend as much time with my kids as possible every day. I’m an early riser, so I spend about two hours every morning with them, preparing breakfast, getting my daughter ready for school, reading books or playing a game if there’s time. We do lots of reading, arts & crafts and other activities in the evenings and weekends are crammed with great stuff like museum visits, Central Park visits, the beach in summer, road trips to visit family, etc.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
It means going well beyond the traditional, archetypical male role of solely being a provider and mentor. My wife and I are both providers and mentors and we share equally in the day-to-day responsibilities of raising our kids. Of course, some things tend to be exclusively “Daddy” or “Mommy” activities.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
It changed my life in innumerable, profound ways. Among them, it showed me that there is a love and a bond far deeper than I’d ever conceived of prior to having children. It also taught me what true responsibility is and that every word, every action and interaction can have deep, lasting effects and influences.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
Learning from and with my kids every single day. Also, tied for “first place”, is hearing my kids laugh.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
When making the rounds and touring New York private schools prior to my daughter’s kindergarten year, we were wrapping up a tour of one of the more elite schools (which shall remain nameless) and at the last minute, for some unknown reason, my daughter goes completely bonkers and starts doing cartwheels, and handstands on the sofa, dancing and loudly singing silly songs with a few “potty” lyrics thrown in. Totally out-of-character for her in that situation, but totally hilarious, too.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Read to your kids and, later, with your kids. Cook with your kids. Involve them in the things that you do every day and let them try their hands and minds at these tasks. Travel and explore with your kids. Leave the video games alone.
Thanks so much, I appreciate you taking the time to chat with us and you continue to be an inspiration. Where can we hear your music?
My band, Into Another, has just released a five-song EP entitled Omens. Check it out here:
Thanks again! Keep up the great work!