Punk rock dads facing the challenges of being, well, punk rock dads are the subject of tonight’s movie The Other F Word, directed and written by Andrea Blaugrund Nevins and produced by Cristan Reilly. It’s hard enough to be a parent these days, but punk rock papas face a unique set of challenges as they walk the pater-path.
In interviews with over twenty fathers involved in punk rock –as well as pro skating and BMX riding, sports which have been heavily influenced by punk culture–the filmmakers have crafted portraits of men whose own childhoods were not exactly perfect (absentee and abusive fathers/parents are a prevailing theme), and are attempting to be better fathers to their own kids, to heal themselves through parenting.
Some of the challenges are humorous: Having to explain tattoos of dominatrixes to your kids, coping with F-bombs and farts, dealing with school officials and other parents when you don’t exactly fit the norm of Ward Cleaver (though funnily enough, a lot of the families in The Other F-Word do have that dreaded symbol of suburbia, the minivan)–when Rancid’s Lars Fredriksen, heavily tattooed and dressed in well, punk rock casual wear, saunters to the park with his kid all the other families bail.
Some challenges are painful: The death of one’s child and friends, and touring almost a third of the year. The stress of touring becomes more and more evident for Pennywise’s frontman Jim Lindberg, father of three girls, as he misses important milestones in his daughters’ lives. His story mirrors the many of the conflicts fathers–punk or otherwise–feel as they struggle to make a living and give their kids more than what they had, emotionally and materially, especially when making that living takes them away from home for long periods of time.
The Other F-Word also takes us through the a personalized history of punk rock through the eyes of the musicians, putting their fatherhood in stark contrast to what some would call a misspent youth. But was it misspent? These men gained insight and maturity through their (mis)adventures, and their lifestyle gave them perspective and interpersonal skills that helped to shape their parenting abilities and give their kids a firmer foundation than they themselves had.
Though several do remark that they can at times hear their fathers’ voices when they interact with their offspring–and the guys get that it is kinda funny to see anti-authoritarian guys become that symbol of mega-authority: Dad.