Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, September 30, 2011

Why Punk Rockers Make Great Parents

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 8:28 AM

click to enlarge the_other_f_word_promo_card_2011_med.jpg

This fall, an exciting documentary is hitting movie theaters. It's called The Other F Word, and it's about punk rock; it's about family; and it's about a plethora of life's awkward questions including: "Should I have tattooed my forehead?" and "Daddy, what's a dominatrix?" It features NOFX's Fat Mike, Jim Lindberg from Pennywise, TSOL's Jack Grisham, Rancid's Lars Frederiksen, Rise Against's Tim McIlrath and a host of others, and was produced by Morgan Spurlock (y'know, the Supersize Me guy). You can see the trailer for it here.

It's noted in the trailer that "There's nothing in the punk rock ethos that prepares you for being a dad." But, actually, we'd like to respectfully disagree. Because we think that a life spent submerged in punk rock is the best training any human could hope for when it comes to raising a child.

As anyone who has ever lived in a punk house, or squatted, will tell you, you will never find a more practical human being on earth than a punk -- they're good at eating on a budget, they're good at making clothes last three times longer than they should, and, by God, they can fix anything and everything, often using only regular household objects and a bit of creativity (think of them as stinkier MacGyvers). Just imagine what these people are capable of once their band has been successful and they've got some money in their pockets!

click to enlarge lars.jpg

On his last spoken word tour through San Francisco earlier this year, Henry Rollins very wisely noted that punks make the best parents because they raise kids to think outside the box, to question everything they're told, to understand the impact of politics on their lives, and, above all, to be open-minded. The children of punks -- even if they go on to have no interest in the genre/ lifestyle whatsoever -- are unlikely to beat up another kid at school for being weird, and they are probably less likely to discriminate against others.

What's more, kids of punk rockers aren't going to get beaten up or bullied in school, either. Think about it: would you mess with a kid who had Lars Frederiksen for a dad? Oh, hell no! We saw him in the produce section of Safeway on Market Street once, and, trust us, when he's placed in an entirely bland, suburban setting, he looks kinda scary. (Yes, Lars, it is the forehead tattoo.) Imagine him in a PTA meeting!

click to enlarge fat_mike.jpg
In addition, punk rock parents, without a doubt, have all witnessed some crazy shit. They didn't go from suburban homes to fancy colleges to office jobs and then back to suburbia. These people may end up in the suburbs sometimes, sure, but they've probably earned a bit of peace and quiet. Drugs, violence, death, lunacy, chaos ... it's all been-there-done-that for the seasoned punk rocker. So think of the wealth of advice they have to pass onto their offspring! So much more than responsible folk who've never done drugs, or gone to the bad part of town, or been in a fight, or woken up with a tattoo they don't remember getting. These are not parents who can sugarcoat the answers they give to their children's questions -- or avoid them -- because their experiences are literally written all over them.

If all parents were punks, the world might be a more tolerant, honest and wise place. Kids would probably rebel less (there'd be nothing to rebel against), and if fatherhood can prompt sobriety and sobbing from Flea (you think he's boring now, but watch Suburbia ... it's an improvement), think of the transformative powers reproduction can sometimes prompt in otherwise lost souls.

click to enlarge RIckThorne_daughter.jpg

At one time or another, we've interviewed most of the people featured in this documentary, and, for the record, there ain't a stupid one in the bunch (even when they try and pretend that's the case for the sake of public amusement). So we're excited to see this movie, and and we might just pick up some valuable parenting skills from it, too.


Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Rae Alexandra @Raemondjjjj, and like us at

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Rae Alexandra


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Phish at the Bill Graham Auditorium
    Phish is in the midst of a block of sold out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (October 27-29). The Monday night concert featured a rare first set opener of “Walfredo” with the band members switching instruments for the song. The evening’s highlights included John Fishman and his iconic vacuum cleaner solo and favorites such as Chalk Dust Torture, Slave to the Traffic Light, Axilla, Rift, 2001 Space Odyssey, and Maze. The show also featured Phish’s debut of a, seemingly impromptu, version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to with roaring approval of the, singing along, crowd. With Game 6 being tonight, partying Phish fans will join Giants fans in Civic Center Plaza where there will be a World Series viewing party on a large screen set up by the City. Photography by Jamie Soja.
  • The 4th Annual Masquerotica 2014 - NSFW
    The theme this year was Carnaval Mystique for the 4th Annual Masquerotica at The Factory. Attendees were entertained by strip dance, trapeze, and live music. Photographs by Calibree Photography.