Steve Wiley on Discussing Your Rowdy Past with Your Kids and a Punk Legend

Steve Wiley is Jackalope Ranch's Parent Hood. He's a slightly unorthodox father of five who will weigh in weekly with his mildly-rebellious views and observations. If you'd like to see how he came to write this column, watch the intro video. This week he recalls some parenting advice he learned from punk legend John Doe.

Seattle. April, 2005. The scene is a conference celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (I co-owned a record store called Hoodlums Music, and we were a proud member). I was working, but it sure didn't feel like it.

Conferences in the music industry aren't like other conferences. While most record labels (yes, both major and indie) are corporate weasels that have completely fucked up the music business over the past 20 years (don't let the media fool you), their ranks are full of completely cool individuals who know how to throw a party. First (and foremost), they bring artists. Second (and close behind), they bring lots of booze.

See Also:

- - Parent Hood: A Profanity Lesson with Grandma and Frank Zappa
- - Parent Hood: Teaching Kids to Embrace the Moment, Not Fear the Future.

Thanks to our pal Matt Vaughan, the owner of Easy Street Records, this conference in Seattle was the best. My comrades and I had been treated to killer performances, we'd partied hard, and best of all, and this was certainly not the norm, the artists had hung out with us throughout the proceedings. As a fan, it's great to watch 'em on stage, but it's even better to be able to just hang and party.

That's how I ended up having a conversation about parenting with John Doe of L.A.'s legendary punk band X.

Pick Your Role Models Wisely?
I didn't just go up and ask him for his views on the subject. In fact, I didn't go up to him at all. I'm not even a huge punk fan. Sure, I'm familiar with X and I understand the band's place in rock history, but I wasn't looking for the opportunity to run up and talk to John like some of my colleagues.

Pearl Jam at Easy Street.jpg
John had played for us the day before in the afternoon and he'd sorta just hung around. And it seemed we were destined to meet.

Later that night, after the weekend's pinnacle moment, a private in-store performance with Pearl Jam, we both had ended up on the same late-night, boozed-up, packed-to-the-gills shuttle bus back to our hotel (Pearl Jam had insisted on playing the smaller West Side Easy Street because that's where they had shopped as youngsters, and we were all staying downtown).

We weren't just on the same bus, we were part of six people crammed into the five seats along the back row (if I remember correctly, John had been the one that had suggested the squeeze... and when rock stars suggest stuff, record store geeks say "OK").

As we cruised along smooshed in next to each other, we had a chance to talk about the show (John had joined the band onstage for a version of "New World"). We talked about how cool Pearl Jam was to let CIMS record it for a CD (Live at Easy Street). We also talked about acting (I brought up his performance in the Patrick Swayze classic Roadhouse, about which he laughed and thanked me for mentioning). We did not talk parenting.

Until the next evening.

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