When Patrick Pedraza, formerly of the Oxnard punk rock band No Motiv (on Vagrant Records), had his first child at the age of 40, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. Having previously spent his days playing music and surfing, he found himself having to reconsider his priorities.
Not that he didn’t want to. Pedraza is a proud dad who speaks lovingly about his wife and daughter. But he quickly found that he was going to have to adapt the punk-rock music side of his existence if it was going to continue. Rather than quit, he called up a bunch of fellow punk fathers and formed Dad Brains — a band dedicated to extolling the virtues of fatherhood, in a snotty punk fashion.
The self-titled EP drops this week (as does the “I’m Old” video, premiering here), just in time for Father’s Day. In fact, they plan to release new music this time every year. To celebrate, we spoke to Pedraza…
L.A. Weekly: For starters, give us a little background. When did Dad Brains form, and why?
Patrick Pedraza: Dad Brains formed just October of last year. I had my daughter on Oct. 3 last year, and it inspired me to start the band. A lot of shenanigans went on when we had our first baby, so that inspired me to do it.
Who else is in the band? Are they all dads?
Yeah. I wanted to start a dad band, and that was the criteria — you had to be a dad to be in. Even the live shows — you had to be a dad. We’ll take a dad off the streets or in the crowd — as long as they’re a dad, they can come up and play. My friend Matt [Kash] I’ve known for a long time. We played together a long time ago, and we’ve toured. Everyone in the band [completed by Craig Kasamis and John Crerar] basically grew up in the punk-rock scene in Ventura/Oxnard, and I’ve been friends with them ever since. Fifteen or more years ago. So who better to have in the band with you than your friends who are also dads?
You were 40 when you had your kid…
Yeah, I was 40 and then seven days later I was 41. That whole week was just crazy. My old life is out, basically. I used to like to surf, and it was terrible — when my wife first told me she was pregnant, the first thing I blurted out was, “Am I still going to be able to surf?” That’s terrible. I felt really bad. I was like, where did that come from? Then, “You know where it came from — it came from your heart. You probably really mean it.” It’s totally upside down now, but it’s actually changed for the better, which is awesome. It’s a crazy love that you just can’t even understand.
Obviously you’re not the first punk-rock dad, but still, the spirit of rebellion and the weight of responsibility aren’t comfortable bedfellows…
I think it’s a little bit easier for me. I’ve always been in a band where I wasn’t too political. Not against the government. So I think with this band it might be a little bit different, because I’m not really rebelling against anything. I’m just talking about being a dad and all the struggles that other people can relate to. My old band, No Motiv, were on Vagrant and we were writing about breaking up with girls, stuff like that, not really political stuff. We were 17 when we started, so we were writing about school sucks, I have problems. Now it’s that way in a different way, but they’re different kinds of problems. Good ones.
Those songs about breaking up with girls — do you look at them differently now that you have a daughter?
Oh dude, you don’t even understand. Everything I’ve ever done to girls in the past, the stupidness that I was, the way I treated women and the way I treated people, it’s totally different now because I don’t want anyone to treat my daughter like that. I’m worried about her going to high school and guys looking at her. I’m like, NOOOO. I can’t even believe this.
Are you happy with the first EP?
Totally, I’m stoked. We wrote those songs within a couple of hours, and my friend Roger who was in my old band, No Motiv, he recorded us live. It’s not to a click track. It’s punk. It’s raw energy. [We’ll release] an EP every Father’s Day. We hope to get a bit of a cult following. Maybe a couple of tracks around Christmas. There’s always something to write about as your kids get older and there are different experiences.
Do you have any shows planned?
We don’t have anything booked yet. We have to book it around the kids. Maybe a matinee show or a backyard party. A barbecue for dads.
Have you received any feedback from the Bad Brains?
Not yet. I hope they hear about it and like it. If we can have a tenth of the energy that they had live, that would be awesome.
Just to keep writing songs. Play some shows and sell some merch. We all have jobs, so it’s a cool thing to do it with no pressure. Just for the spirit, how we all started doing it when we were kids. Making people laugh and making ourselves laugh.
Check out the premiere of the “I'm Old” video below: