Wes Fortier knows the meaning of family. Part of one of the most heavy hardcore bands of all time, Death Threat, he has been the guitar backbone to cathartic and punishing songs with themes of friendship, family, truth and honor. In addition to being a great guitarist, he is a tattoo artist as well, inking permanent designs with a steady hand and eye for detail. Combined, these traits are enough to keep a many busy for years, but his number one priority is his family. Husband, and father of two children, with another on the way, he knows what’s important and proves that his family always comes first.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
My name is Wes Fortier. I am a father of 2 ( 3 as of May 2015 ). I am a musician, and tattoo artist. I play guitar in a punk / hardcore band from Connecticut ‘Death Threat’, and have been doing that for 14 years. My trade / career is that I am a tattoo artist. Being on the road had definitely become an instinctive part of my life for a while. That has become harder as the years go on. There is nothing more heartbreaking than being 3,000 miles away, and your kids on the phone telling you they miss you. Death Threat doesn’t tour or travel nearly as much as we did in the past, so most of the year I am home, and working a 1pm-8pm schedule. This is cool because it allows me to be there to get them ready and bring them to school, and if I shoot home early enough I can catch them before bed. But in the summer it’s great! I get the whole morning with them. My wife is a hairdresser so she’s usually out by 8am during the week, so they don’t have much time away from us collectively. I also make my own schedule, so if I am done early I go home, and that’s always great to surprise them. The balancing act is tough. Between my mortgage, car payments, water, electric, day care, and normal everyday family expenses it can be tough. I’ve been lucky enough to work my way up in a well paying field, and keep our heads above water so far, and they are all pretty understanding when duty calls.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
Pretty exciting overall… I think I worry about the things everyone does for the most part… Are my children adjusting to changes well, being social, standing up for themselves? These are the tough questions once school starts, but I make it a point to talk with them every night or morning depending on my schedule. It’s so strange to watch them go off (even in early elementary school years) and start making friends you don’t know, and even just watching them talk to someone from a distance, and you don’t know what they’re saying. It starts to feel like they have this life you don’t know. Being a modern day dad to me is about being there for my children, and them knowing that right, or wrong, they can tell me anything, and I will be there.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
Well, it definitely threw me for a loop at first. I’m sure it’ll be a learning process for the rest of my life, but… It’s been nothing short of amazing. My son is my best friend in the world. I’m so proud of everything he does. Exploring his interests has been pretty cool. He does guitar lessons, hockey, t-ball, boxing, and more… My daughter is involved in dance, and loves to sing. At the ages of 6 and 4, it’s crazy to see the development happen thinking back to when they were just babies… They didn’t speak or really even move much on their own, and now they are people, with interests, and voices… It’s really amazing. I’ve never really had to answer to anyone, even as a teenager. But the responsibility of knowing like hey, I can’t stay out I gotta get them ready in the morning… You might test the waters here and there, but you become used to just doing the responsible thing for your kids.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
Getting all the cool toys all over again, and secondly… No matter how bad you are at sports or video games, you’re amazing to them. Haha
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
My sons teacher told us last week that they had an exercise to make words out of certain letters… Well, when Lennon’s turn came it was “AG”. His answer… “STAG! My dad goes to them all them time” hahaha. So, the first grade teacher got to explain to the class what a stag was. Hahaha. This cracked me up. We have a lot of friends getting married right now.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
No matter how hard things get, your children, and spouse are your family. That means you don’t give up, ever. When it hits the fan, (and it will!) just remember… You wouldn’t give up on your mother or father or sibling, and your spouse, and children are just as important. Your family can last forever, and make it through anything if everyone is willing… And please, take time to stop and smell the roses. The rat race will still be there when you’re done!
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. Modern Day Dads have been a fan of Death Threat for quite some time, and it was a pleasure to get in touch with you and see how you make it all work. We wish you continued success in all that you do!
Get in touch with Wes on Instagram here: http://instagram.com/wesdtc