Do you like RSS? Add Smash Notes to your daily!
Rad Dad, hosted by Kirill Zubovsky on Smash Notes

🤘 Caspar Babypants - Raising kids and finding yourself at the same time.

Rad Dad, hosted by Kirill Zubovsky podcast.

June 21

Caspar Babypants is an adored Seattle-based musician and a songwriter. Previously known as the lead singer of The Presidents of the USA, he now brings joy to families around town with his whimsical music that is loved by both kids and parents. In this interview, Chris shares his life story, how he came to be known as Caspar, and what lessons he learned about life and parenting, both as a famous rock artist with thousands of fans on MTV, and a humble Seattle children's artist, with thousands of fans at home.

download episode

today's guest on this show requires no introduction, Chris Balloon. Or as you might know, him, Casper baby Pants is an amazing Seattleite musician who's been writing music for kids for the last couple of years. And it's the type of music that you is apparent actually want to listen to without further ado cast for baby pants. Welcome to the O check. Mic check. Mic check. Mic check. Mic check. Michael, check.


Mr. Michael, Check paging Mr Michael. Check. Please come to the podcast.


You're funny too. Thank you. Already in 5432 Step one. Chris, you were previously cold to go to man for toddler entertainment. Yes. Tell us, what's it like to be popular and what path you took to get here? Wow. Uh,

Who is Chris Ballew, and how did he get to where he is today?

His stage name is Casper Babypants. He sought out to make transparent music of who he is. He quit a band to discover the path of who he was, and what he felt like he was called to do. In the end, his path led him to create music for kids.

well, the path was in a nutshell. I always knew I wanted to make music That was honestly who I am. That was not sort of ah, artifice or a put on. I didn't want to maybe put on a costume or metaphorically and literally to do my music my whole life. I wanted that I wanted, like, transparency with my music. First step was I'd figure out who I am which took a long time second step, was to make music that matched that person. So I rose to fame with the president's before I really fully realized who I am and what I prefer in life and you know what I'm all about. So I rode that crest of fame without really knowing what I was experiencing, and it got disorienting, and I really wanted out. And all the while I had that's voice saying like, you know,

keep going, keep trying. This is great, but this isn't really what you're supposed to be doing. You're supposed to be doing something else. Keep digging. So after the S. O, I broke up the president's and Doug and tried all these different things and then finally settled on music for kids as the end of this long path of experimenting and trying things. The destination was this simple, innocent music for kids and their parents. And, uh, I feel like I've arrived. So what's it like? It's like for me,

it's like an arrival to a destination that I've been on my way to my whole life, and it's very relaxing to have finally, like, figured it out. Yeah,


so How did the name Casper Baby pants


That was actually an old nickname from Boston in the early nineties. I was in a jam band like an improvisational band with Mark Sandman from a band called Morphine. And he's the one that taught me how to play a to string guitar, which you probably see behind here. And he and I had a band where we improvised all the songs live in front of an audience, and it became my stage name. I never liked Chris very much, so I changed my name to Casper at one point when I lived in Seattle. Some people who I met during the early nineties only still know me as Casper because they met me as Casper. But I couldn't get the name changed to stick. And then I was in Boston for the winter, and I had no winter hat, and I went to a okay, a food co op that had sort of a clothing exchange been for poor people who couldn't afford a clothing, which I was one. So I pulled out this pair of handed baby's pants and put him on my head for a winter hat, and they fit perfectly and they were super warm. And the kids in my neighborhood started calling me baby pants like


a baby pants. Where you going? Baby pants?


And so I put Casper baby pants together. So in the early nineties, I was cast for baby pants. And then when I made the kids music, I kind of scratch my head, thinking, What am I gonna call this stuff? Chris Blue Makeup, some name? And then I remembered, Oh, wait a minute, I'm already Casper baby pants. I'll just use that.


Did you make any kids music in the nineties while being the Gaspar be repents for the


first time? No, not on purpose, because my arrival as Casper baby pants is that been this long, curving road? I wrote songs the entire way that we're trying to be kids songs, but without knowing what I was doing, I tried to make them grown up songs. So now I'm going back and listening to all this old stuff and be like, Oh yeah, that was trying to be a song I wrote 1986 or whatever is was trying to be a kid song. In fact, on my new record that I'm working on now. I have a song that I wrote in. What was it? Yeah, 86.

Uh, that was trying to be a kid's song, but I didn't know what that was at the time. And so now I'm, you know, sort of chiseling it into shape to be an actual Caspersen.


Let's jump around a little bit. So is this how you get inspiration for kids songs reading, writing


some of them? I mean, they come from all over the place. My wife, Kate, is a great inspiration. She is funny. She says things backwards. Her little, slightly dyslexic mind mixes things up. She's the one that said My Feli has dogs, which should into a song she said, I'm too dirty Love. She's like my Ringo. Ringo is the one that said, Oh, it's been a hard day's night.

John and Paul were like song gringos like Tomorrow never knows the song, so she's My Ringo. So that's one way. Another way is I swim around in the waters of public domain and look for old folk songs and traditional songs and prison work, chance and stuff like that and use those as the foundation to write a brand new set of lyrics for an old melody. Another is going through my old history of thousands of bits as a songwriter who records every little idea and finding little diamonds in the rough and growing them to see if they can turn of songs and the other is. Sometimes songs just fall out of the sky and they just fall right into my brain. They just exam like 9 99 on my second record, I wrote in his much time as it takes to play it. It's just the exam. There it waas and then some of them are kids. Little kids will email me with ideas or come up to me. It shows and have ideas. And so I'll write a song with a little kid or from the inspiration of a little kid. And and so there's a bunch of ways


that's amazing. Doesn't take a while.


It can like again. Sometimes I'll write a song and record it, and it's done the same day. Sometimes it's 35 years. Yeah, thanks sense. Generally it's about generally it takes a good year for a song to cause I work alone, so I have to be my own critic, you know, and to be your own critic, you have to forget about all the hard work it took to make the thing in the first place and kind of just hear it for what it is. And that takes time. So I'd like to give us on. Although I've got this song disco Hippo that I just wrote kind of. The song had completely different lyrics, and I just scrapped all the lyrics and wrote a whole new set of lyrics to it. But I think I want to put it on my new album, even though I'm not gonna let it sit for a year,


I think Let's go quick. Okay, that's all you get for free, actually, speaking of free so a lot of the music is available on your website for free. So


yes, some of it. Well, which website for baby? Yes, some of it. At the bottom of the page. There's a player. I take two songs from each record and just put it on that jukebox. So if you wanted here stuff for free, you can and it's just done random, so you could just


check it out. It's still pretty awesome of you to do that, because then you know people who can't afford music


and just play it on there. Yeah, they can play it. There's a little free jukebox. Yeah, and then, if you're interested in other stuff I'm doing, there's Chris Blue dot or GE. And there I've put up tons of previously unreleased bands that experimental bands and old recordings and cassette tapes and stuff for free,


and we'll circle back to that. I just found it. And it's completely different from everything you have on Casper, Babe. It's more of what


the journey sounded like to get to Casper. Baby bands kind of.


Okay, so that was the processes. Is it Chris currently? Or the process of Chris becoming


Casper? No, I don't make any of that kind of music. Currently, a lot of that sold four track and eight track cassette stuff. And although the current part of that website is the ambient music, so I make music for meditation and that I do currently that's like another way I make music these days. That's not Casper baby pants. That's not even songs, really. It's just soundscapes gives me a break from the verse chorus,


verse, chorus, solo bridge. Yeah, this is how you do it something.


Every song is a little different, but you know what I mean? Like it gives me a break from making sense. Just allows me to make me I figured out a way to make this ambient music. That's kind of like, um, it's an algorithm. So it's a setup I use in pro tools that allows me to put elements in on, then randomize them and then listen as if I'm hearing it for the first time. Like I'm not in control of everything that happens when I make the Ambu music. So it's like I'm a witness and a creator,


so it's kind of cool. I love making that stuff. So speaking of the journey, let's talk about Casper the child and kind of what your childhood was like. And you know how that impact that we are today?


Well, it was great. My childhood was super idyllic, really fun, really happy. I had a younger brother 20 months younger, who we got along great endless days playing with Legos on a day like this, when it's cloudy and dark, we would play with Legos and chatter like make up songs and rap back and forth about nonsense. It kind of like informed how I like to use words. I like to twist words around and make them funny and make a liberation and stuff like that. And that's where that really came from. S Oh, yeah, I was just like play. You know, I got to bask in the joy of being playful for a long time without stress. So that's kind of what I'm trying to now offer in the form of music to parents, like a moment of of ridiculousness and joy and energy to share


with the kid. Actually, do you think you have more kid fans or parents?


Probably more parent fans. Actually, I don't make kids music. That's the big secret. I make parents music, but there is no genre called Barron's music, so I'm stuck with the moniker kids musician


s way were thinking to make music that parents can also listen to. But really, it's the parent music that kids also


injured. When I'm sitting here in the helm here and I'm making decisions, I'm really making most of them for the parents.


I gotta admit there's been times when I get on the car and you'll be playing. I'm like, Cool Just gave going.


Yeah, I know that's I actually ever so up and pluck out one of my old records and just put it in the car and listen and I love it. I'm super into it. So as I should be, I made every aspect of it, so I should be digging it. But yeah, it's parents music. Maybe I should strike out on my own and start the genre, you know? Yeah, I just start fresh ago. ITunes put a new category parents music.


You mentioned at some point that as you were growing up, you were also you also noticed that playing music would make your mom feel happy?


Yeah, Yeah, it did. I connected playing music with making my mom really feel elated. And she had such great, joyful energy, and it was really great to see that come out in her. So I kind of connected playing music with helping people feel good, you know? And that became a just real big cornerstone of why I do it. And I'm trying. Thio, I'm trying to give the gift of a silly, ridiculous visual and, ah, hookey musical element that people can have, even if they never hear this song again.

I could be here at once, and you walk away and you've got it in you. That's the ideas I want to give, like a little gift. Two people,


the gift that keeps on giving. Yeah. And so now you've found yourself this Casper. But while you were in president and that was a long time, right, so you keep kept searching for yourself. It wasn't quite the thing you wanted to do, but you kept doing it. I think that's kind of something people should do, like perceive year where they are. Or once you feel that what you're doing is not what you are, you should just jump right out of it.


I guess it's up to each individual in the circumstances, you know, like I I think I put myself through some unnecessary stress in the early days of the president's because I couldn't reconcile the little messaging in my gut in my head, saying, Move on, move on, keep looking. This isn't it. With the external experience of being on MTV and you know, cheering thousands of cheering fans and all that stuff. Like I wanted to experience all that stuff at the same and at the same time, I was being sort of feet. I was having this feeling like, This is not my place. His name didn't they need to get out of here, so it was weird, but I let that go on,

I guess, as long as I could. The first time I quit the band, though, I couldn't very emotionally if I quit like late in 97 it was like a very like, messy emotional experience. The second time the band retired. It was a very neutral, educated, self aware, peaceful decision, and so that was very different. I think if you can extricate yourself from a situation that you know is not what you want to do, but do it without emotion, do it without being hot headed about it. Then you will be set up to grow and find your new voice or your new way better because you won't be stuck in an emotional state.


So while we're in the emotional state, let's talk. Let's talk about another decision that well, another state you extricated yourself from. But before it, let's take a quick break. Let's take a break to hear these messages. If you enduring this episode of Casper, he repents. Please head over to our website, read dead show dot com and enter for a chance to win one of Casper's 14 CDs, including his new releases, Sleep Tight and fan favorites. Now back to the episode. Okay, Specter than foreign stuff you read Dad's Dead dad's radical data. So not only did you quit the band at some point, you also quit your marriage. Yes, divorce happens to be a really popular request


on red that How do you mean? Like talk about


divorce? Talk about doors, divorced moms and dads wants to hear what people have to say, how to go through it. I have things


to say about that. Basically, it is the same as when I was just saying about the band is that my first wife and I had four great years and then started to slide into friction, and we had six friction in years, and during those six friction in years, we were searching for the truth about our relationship. What's the answer? Yes, we're supposed to be together, and this is just a little difficult or no, we're not supposed to be together. And we went to couples therapy for a while, but really is when we split often did individual therapy that we figured it out because we worked on each of our ourselves and then figure out whether that self wanted to be in it. And that process led to a neutral un emotional, let out of sort of a big, emotional, angry time into a neutral un emotional realization that we were not supposed to be together.

And so when we finally decided to divorce, it was I slept like a log that night. I mean, it was the sleep of the of the gods because it was so peaceful. And for her too, you know, Actually, we went to see Paul McCartney on our 10 year anniversary, and that night in the hotel room, we broke up because Paul McCartney was singing all these songs about love and love, love, love. And when we got there, it was like, you know, how do you do?

You see us going on and she was like, I don't see it. I don't either, so we'll do it. Then she's like, Yeah, put the life went to sleep. So you want to get to a point where you're neutralized? That's again important if you're gonna quit something to not be frozen because, you know, if we were pros, if we broke up four years earlier, we would have been frozen in an angry state, and it would have really hindered our ability to raise Children. You know, she and I are totally on the same page about how to raise the kids,

and we have lots of talks about parenting philosophy and what's happening with them. And, uh, we agree on all that stuff. So and you know, she's she her mom. My first wife's mother and Kate are good friends. Kate's friend Kate, Mary Lynn get along great. The families all blend together, and it's It's like nothing's changed. Really. Write the lyrics. Cates. Your second wife, Kate,

is my second wife and final wife. Um, yeah, so and you know, it was like I think when you're involved in something that's not quite right, you really have to get out in order to find what is right. You know, like whether it's a job or a person or a creative situation.

What should you say to your kids if you and your spouse are separating?

The main points are that you should tell them the facts, and assure them that they will always be loved. Allow them to ask questions if they have any.

So how were the kids at the time?

What should you say to your kids if you and your spouse are separating?

The main points are that you should tell them the facts, and assure them that they will always be loved. Allow them to ask questions if they have any.

Let's see, That was 2005. So Josie was five and Auggie was eight. Yeah. What was it like explaining Thio? Kid's pretty good, Pretty good. You know, when you do that talk. If you're going to do that talk, you really want to stick to the fax. The fact is, your mom and I don't love each other the way we need to to stay together. Um, we will always be your parents, and you will always be loved and taken care of. That's really it.

That's the end. Anything else is just answers. And they were then, Do you have any questions? And then if they have questions, great, if they don't, if they're just you know, I remember saying it to them and they got kind of, you know, welly, teary eyed and everything. And then we just went downstairs and play Legos and the process


started. Did they see it coming


or I don't know There. I wouldn't ask him, you know, we got professional advice about howto do it, and that was the advice be factual and loving and then, you know, because they need to hear that you've still got them, you know that they're not gonna be left out in the cold at the Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot.


So ever since you've been co parenting with your wife, that sounds like a very Seattle thing to do. Is it co anything in general? Yeah. How does it work? How do you cope? Parent? Well,


we communicate a lot. We're open with the kids. We have a very serious philosophy with the kids that they can tell us anything, Although they, you know, they don't have to choose to tell us anything at all. But if they have any issue, our problem, they can always come to us. And we never talk about each other behind the other one's back. So I don't disparage her in any even subtle way, and she doesn't disparage me in any subtle way. And so we that that way we never put the kids in a position of defending one or the other of us are feeling like, Well, if he's saying that about her, he'll say that about me and just keep it, you know,

keep Communications Super Open. And, uh, because we were neutral when we divorced, we can really do that. So, you know, Maryland and I've had a really good deep conversational check ins over the years that have been great because she knows me like very few people do, and I know her. So we keeping each other as a resource for a sounding board and for friends And, you know, and the process of parenting and focusing our concepts of philosophies about that has been really good. So it's just you gotta talk frequently and openly.


Yeah, it sounds like a very logical, constructive approach to divorce, and especially for somebody who's a musician who I assume is an emotional person having a lot of al divorces. It's kind of a conundrum, but


it sounds like, yeah, it just took time. It took time. It took time. And it was a big stepping stone towards self awareness for me, didn't it? Didn't do the job, but it moved the ball towards self awareness. Why did this happen? How did I make this decision? You know, how did I just allow life to happen in a way without really deciding what I wanted. And, uh, and that was a big step towards self awareness, which in turn became a step towards musical clarity and Casper baby pants like finding the way.

In fact, my first wife, Ray Allen, is as much responsible for Casper baby pants as Kate is because Mary Lynn was the one that made up the song Run, baby, run in the car in order to Keats. Thank you. Got mean, Thank her. She made it up to keep us happy in the car and which has become my purpose in a lot of ways. What I think about when I'm recording this stuff is the car. What's it like in the car? Is that, you know, Is this instrumentation gonna help that atmosphere? So she made that part.

She made that song up, and it worked. Auggie would just go like, relaxed when she sang it. And so it became kind of a cornerstone. And then Cates artwork is what really pushed me over into wanting to make a body of work that kind of came from the same planet that her art comes from. And she and I currently collaborate on songs and ideas and books and stuff like that. So Kate, I couldn't have done it without either of my wife's. My wife, wife's wives, wives. Fancy double wife. I'm double Y ved and happy about it. I love double wife ing.


That sounds terrible like this for kids. I call him Big Wife and Little White Cates. The Big Wife. Raylan's a little life, so I don't know where to go. Everybody needs a big wife in a little wife. It's awesome, actually, another divorce related questions, since it's so popular. But if you're someone who's just getting married or just married, right, how do you recognize this early? Because I've talked to some dads who got divorced and they said, You know, I should have divorced like X many years ago, but we waited,

waited, waited and he just blew up in their face on. You're basing your experience and the counseling, or it's professional help that you got. You know, is there anything people should really look out for? To know that hey, maybe they made the wrong choice early on them,


I guess. Ah, away. To think about it would be that you have a cognitive intelligence which understands that this is a microphone, and that's a video camera, and this is a podcast, and you have an emotional intelligence, which is taking in the atmosphere on a much bigger scale that can't possibly be put into words. But you're having your integrating all the colors and the atmosphere of where you are all the time. It's a big vocabulary of emotional experiences, as you are beginning to be in a relationship. The drugs that kick into your body, the endorphins, the chemicals to get released in a new relationship completely cloud your cognitive judgment. So and as those wear out and you hit, you know you kind of get into the plateau of being a couple. That's when I think you should start to check in with your your body,

like, How do you feel? Do you feel relaxed around this person? Do you feel like you can be yourself? Do you feel like you can say whatever you want to say? Do you feel yourself editing yourself or reserving your opinion or tiptoeing around to please that person? Those are indications to me that you're not in the right relationship if you feel this the second way, I said If you feel the first way where you just relax and you can say anything you want. And, uh, you know, you don't feel any like knots in your stomach or stressing your body, then you're in good shape. That's how me and Kate feel. Yeah, so it's fantastic to find that is amazing s.

Oh, yeah, I would say. Be aware of how your allow your body intelligence or your emotional intelligence to be part of the dialogue inside yourself that informs whether you're in the right place at the wrong place. You know it. You know it. I knew it for years that the president's was not quite right. I knew that my first marriage was not quite right. But you just have to wait until that feeling is so clear that you can't ignore it. I guess


you told me last time there was a really good book that people should read that talks about quitting. Oh,


yeah, it's called the Dip. I don't remember


who wrote it, says God. What's that? Says God, Seth Seth Gordon


gotten gotten Seth Godin. Okay, so it's a process. Yeah, that book is fantastic. It kind of turns the idea on its head that winners never quit and basically says winners quit all the time because, like, I just started to write a book and after it was gonna be about song writing is gonna be interview based. I did one interview and immediately realized it was a podcast, not a book, that it had to be more free form than a book. I then looked out into the dip, which is the amount. So you're excited about a project and you're honest, like plateau of excitement. And then to get it to be established and to really be the thing you're going to invest in you. You look across what's called the dip,

which is the of work. But it's gonna take to get to that. Whatever your golden carrot is, you know, your podcasts 100th episode or whatever, and then you check in with yourself because they do. I want to go in that dip and do that. And my answer was no. So I quit. So yeah, the answer. The book says that a lot of times the answer's gonna be no. So expect the answer to be no over and over and over again and be okay with that? Yeah. And allow yourself to quit. Don't be like,

Well, I bottle these office supplies, so I better start a business like you don't need to do that. If you don't want to allow yourself to quit, that's Yeah. Allow yourself to quit quitting. Winners always quit. That's the bottom line.


So cast for music is something you haven't quit yet.


I can't, Man. The songs were just the volcano of tunes. I gotta I gotta deal with it.


Is there ever a time where you just want to put the guitar down and give up for a while and walk away? No,


there isn't. And there was, But I read another book, all right. Called, um, but what is it called? Uh, camera. What? It's called now, linked afterwards. Button pause at it. What is it


called? Um beep boop. People, people.


Oh, it has a dirty word in it too. Um oh, I got it ready. It's the subtle art of not giving a B. It's a great book. It basically says that human beings have problems. Every human being will always have problems. I was going around for a few years previous thinking like I just need to get my life, so there's no problems. I don't want any problems. I just want smooth sailing. In fact, in the president said, was a song called Zero Friction, which was about that idea, and it was torturing me because,

like, you know, if I had e mails to answer about booking shows or, you know, the mechanics of running a record label on booking and playing shows and all that stuff got really annoying to me when I read this book and the book basically, uh, turned me on to the idea that if you find something you do give up, be about it will generate problems. And your job is to love those problems because they support what you give a beef about. A lot of people choose things that they don't give up, beat about and get annoyed at the problems that circle around those things are things they can't control or things that are out of their spirit, influence or things they don't really want to be doing. Those problems that circle those things become really annoying and can cripple you with anger and stuff. So you find what you love the problems that circle. It are good problems. Love your problems.

So I've learned to love my problems, and that's helped me. Uh, it's helped me feel like it's even more sustainable, and I felt like it was before refreshing. Yeah, it's great. That's a great book. I gave it to my kids for Christmas. Are they giving less? Be? No, they're teenagers. But there it's, Ah, no, again it's about it's about. It's like a little a little push, like figure out what you do care about kind of thing.


We'll get into how you're raising your kids very shortly. But one thing you cold cast for music. Fantastical life and folksy. Yeah, what do you think it teaches? Kids


teaches kids. I don't think it teaches them anything. Not one single thing. I am very proud of the fact that there's no educational value in my music. You'll never learn how to count to 10 or do the alphabet or tie your shoe or brush your teeth or any of that stuff. Nothing. It teaches absolutely nothing, because I am singing in a vocabulary. That kid's already have, like one of the main reasons I focus on 0250 to 6 year olds is because they are enlightened human beings. You know, there, when you're born, you experience the world as an energetic place, right? And then you learn names for things and things start to kind of settle and make sense, and there's organization.

But before that, it's just this crazy, surreal, energetic place and even after when you get language like they know the parts of the world. But they don't know how they go together, and that makes for surreal, weird juxtapositions that don't make sense. They're hilarious, and that's the language I used in songs. So I'm really learning from them how to exist in that space and trying to co exist with them in that space. So I'm not teaching them a darn thing.


Nothing. I love that. That was one of the things


that I figured out early on that may be super happy because I was like, Yeah, I just have to I just get to be around that energy and swim around in those waters, and it's great.


I don't know how to describe this, but when we came from your concert at the aquarium back home, well, first of all. My mom, who's, you know, here to take care of the kids for a while was super excited. She went and took a selfie with Usually is great, but at the same time my daughter, who's almost three now we were listening Thio Frozen Penguin. Yeah, for days on end and she made up her own lyrics on top of those on. And even though it's not educational, I think it's so embracing for the kids like it's so welcoming. Yeah, that is just the boost. Her energy.


Yeah. I mean, you might accidentally learn the words hat, scarf, jacket, sweater, You know, like, yeah, it's not like you can't learn anything, but I really feel like learning is for school. And that music is for fantastical, impossible. Magical, You know,


I'm thinking. Oh,


well, there's lots of people that want to teach Kids had a count to 10. I don't need to. I don't need to be one of them. I'm gonna have some water.


Please do. Just wants a K X speed bubble. Yeah, I see. Okay. Expense stickers all over your car. Other your biggest fans or what's the deal there? An


amazing radio station in Seattle that has a global reach. And one of the DJs. John Richards is a good friend of mine, and he's a parent. And he really supports the Casper thing. And I just eternally grateful because, you know, it's hard to get, uh, wide spread coverage for kids music on a riel radio station. I'm on Sirius X M radio and K e X p. And that really helps, like, get the music all over the world.


Do you get paid from that at all? Or that's just for promoting.


Think so? Yeah. There's a company called ah Sound exchange, and they collect royalties for radio now, So yeah.


Huh? Still, speaking of getting paid right, you actually mentioned that Casper is pretty profitable. Yeah. I mean, a $1,000,000,000 business. But you know, why is the bills and life goes on? I have no


overhead. You know how much it cost me to make a record? How much it cost me, like 32 cents to burn a reference CD and played in my car once I bought the laptop in the You know, this couple things and a keyboard and some speakers. Mike. So it really the overhead is ridiculously low. It literally costs me, like $4 to make a rendered. So you're the ultimate small business. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Returns. Yeah, I love high margins. Yeah,

that's why I make the records with cardboard sleeves because they're cheaper to make. There's less garbage involved. Kids can chew on him. And the margin is nice and high, and I can live at live shows. I sell them for $10 including tax so there for 20 songs. And I've never raised that price since I started in 2010. So it's kind of a thank you to parents who make the effort to come to the show. You get a discounted CD, so yeah, well, it's still, though, you


might run in the tiny problem that you don't have a CD player for


stimulus. Yeah, it's starting to happen. Yeah, New cars don't have CD players. Yeah, And you know what? Your computers don't have C. I'm gonna be okay with that when that happens. That's totally fine. Because that wall of CDs also comes with its own set of problems that I love. Beautiful. You know, I've got a ship. Him. I've got to distribute him. I've got Thio Hall into shows and sell him and count them in and count him out.

But they're such a cute little things. I can't, you know, I'm not going to get rid of them prematurely. People still buy him my, I have a distributor in Portland and we're still selling tons


of CDs. And you actually selling records like old school?


Yeah, I just actually got it today in the mail. I just saw it before you came over. It's called fun favorites. So the idea with Finalised my albums are a little too long to put on vinyl as they are. So I'm not gonna release each album on vinyl, But I'm gonna release a series of sort of my most popular songs in collections on vinyl, so well, it's a collectible. Yes, it's a collectible. It's called fun favorites, and it's for people who have vinyl, and it's for people. Maybe you have vital who don't know me and want to hear all the best songs in one place. It's a little bit of a greatest hits, but not really,

because it's gonna be an ongoing Siri's. So there's gonna be fun favorites and happy hits and, you know, snappy songs or whatever. We'll have a different title for each collection. So probably put out one a year. Something like that for a while. All right? Uh, yeah. Frame it. Yeah, you wouldn't believe it. I mean, I got on Facebook and I said, I'm putting out vinyl in just Anabel.

Anche of people were like, I can't wait, you know? So I don't personally, I have a tiny little toy record player down there so I could technically play records, but not really my preferred format. But I got to say the record sounds really good. I did an A B tests at a friend's house who has a real stereo. Fun favorite Sounds really good. It's I can hear the difference. It's warmer for sure. I was a little bit of a skeptic, but


it's true speaking warm things. So yes is a dead what 20 year old and 17 year old? Once again, how does that work out? What do you do with your kids when they're 20? How do you keep


them motivated? But what's your parenting style? ATTN. This point my parenting style is I've done the best like I've done what I've had to do. Kind of. I want to be available and on deck for any issues and supportive of their projects and their dreams. I mean, they're not They have no shortage of ideas for what they want to do with their life. So I'm just trying to support that. Like, I've always imagined my whole life, like one of my kids, is probably gonna go into music. And because of that, I'm not gonna sell a bunch of this stuff that I haven't storage. I'm gonna keep it and then just give it back, kid.

So I've been giving my son Auggie like you, I really am in a position now where I just I'm supporting their desires like they're old enough and self directed enough that they have things they want to accomplish and achieve. And I'm just trying to be supportive of that. So I'm the heavy lifting of being a parent is kind of over, you know, they know how to walk and eat and talk. So that's kind of my main job was done. But my son is in the music, and I've always thought my whole life, like, you know, I'm not gonna get rid of that base I'm not using anymore. That keyboard I'm gonna give it to whichever kid is in the music. So I'm just I'm keeping instruments on him to help him. Kind of experiment without stress, of spending all his money on instruments.

And then my daughter is a super adventurer. She wants to graduate college and then wants to go on a Knowles course National Outdoor Leadership school in Patagonia. So she's gonna be in Patagonia in the wilderness for 90 days, and then she's going to go to Sweden and be an au pair and then go to Colorado College. And she's going to the south this coming semester to study civil rights. And she's been the London to perform in plays and she Globetrotter. So really, it's just about supporting that stuff, you know, helping to pay for it and make time to get all the forms done and make sure she knows I'm happy that she's being adventurous.


And you tell me if you're amazing method to talk about subjects with kids. Oh, um, right, Yeah, in the car. You mean


sensitive? Yeah. Sex and drugs and stuff like that. Yeah, yeah, Yeah, yeah, the car. The car is great because you are. You have them captive, right? But you're not looking right at each other. You know, you get to kind of and you just have to come out in plain language and say what you have to say. You know, like all the food you know, kind of trying to dance around.

The subject is not good. It just makes it tortuous. Just say it. You know, like whatever your position is on them, those sensitive subjects and, um, it'll be over sooner if you just say it in plain language. You mentioned Roderick on the line. The bow? Yes, there's a podcast called Roderigo on the line. John, Rodrick and Merlin Man. And that podcast has really helped me raise my kids. We've been listening to it in the car to and from school for years and years,

and they are not shy about talking about those kinds of subjects sex, drugs and rock and roll. And and Hitler and World War Two and music and all kinds of stuff. Text talk. So a lot of times we will listen to them. I'll pause the playback of the podcast and say Now, kids, here's what do you think of that? What do you think of what he just said? Or here's what I think are you know, it'll start conversations about sensitive subjects, and it's really been helpful because John and Merlin are funny and there, but they're smart and they have a great perspective on the world. And they I think maybe a certain percentage of what they say is totally made up. But they do it with such confidence that that's kind of appealing, like they're compelling story tellers and great personalities.

And I think I know their voices are just good voices for teenagers to be exposed to their plain, simple, plain talking, you know, common sense kind of stuff. I love him.


So now that you've had 20 years of your kid's life to look back on, I have a couple questions about that, and you know, everyone is How does your life change when you become a dad?


Has a change. I think that the chemical reaction that happens when you fall in love, it's kind of similar, You know, I definitely noticed that some chemicals kicked in that allowed me to not sleep and be awake all night and then be awake all day for weeks and months at a time. So that was interesting. I guess. You know, you start. You have to kind of, um, be less selfish. You know, you have to, um at least for me, I had to spend less time in my studio making music and more time doing family really related activities and shores and stuff like that. That was kind of tough.

But again, the chemicals kickin man, the way they smell, the way they look, you just go into a do you go into a fugue state? I think


for a lot of dads, it's and Mom's too. But I guess your parents in general, it's really hard to choose between professional career and kids. Yeah, knowing what you know. Now, do you have any advice on that front?


I'd say if you have any second thoughts about having kids do not have kids, just don't do it because we have a lot of people in the world. We don't need a lot more people in the world I decided to make too. Because I thought You know what? I've struggled my whole life for self awareness and to be a better person. And I know that that I know that Mayor, the Maryland who was my wife at the time if they have the same impulse. And I just felt like we could make two really good people and so I felt like I should do it. You know, I wasn't 100% sure that I should do it, but I just dove in and did it, and now I'm really glad I did. But I think if you have strong feelings, but for your career or strong feelings that you're not paternal or maternal naturally or you don't j dream about having that, and yet you feel pressure from external forces to do it, I would not do it.


What's the role of a dad in a marriage and in


parenting? Wow, that's like a book. Uh huh. What's the role of a dad and marriage and parenting? Well, you know, a lot of times the dad is, um, sort of typecast as the fun parent. Right? I was thinking about this last night. I was thinking, like and I don't know if this is true or not, but I'm imagining that the experience of giving birth creates a kind of unflinching intimacy between a mother and a child that a father can't experience and that makes the mom more protective or sort of cautious or, um, kind of,

you know, unflinchingly of kind of. I guess protective is the best word to the point where they're willing to be unpleasant to the child to keep the child in line or teach the child what they needed to teach them. A little unpleasantness for a mother is not a big deal because they've given birth. That's on idea. I don't know if that's exactly right, but I feel like the father. Ah, a lot of times who's, you know, not all the time. A lot of times the mother goes to work in the father's home. But the parent that has to go away and come back tends to be the fun one, and that sometimes tends to be the dad. And so a lot of dads struggle against the fun dad problem. Where there they come home from work.

The mother has a whole system going, you know, and Dad comes in and, like, wakes the kid up or feeds him candy or does something because it's time for fun. It's time for, you know, the circus to begin because Dad's home. And that creates crazy friction between the mom and the dad. Resentment, especially on the mom's part. You come in, mess up my system, so I say the role of a dad is, too. I would advise dads to be aware of that.

And Thio be respectful of the systems in place that the mother sets up because you know it's hard job. It's a hard job for the one that stays home, whether it's the mother or the father. And then, as far as a parent goes, um, I think it's important to for a father to show kids the emotional depth. Men are taught to be strong and sort of emotionally shallow and like, you know, machines in a way. I think sports and popular because it's a place where men can cry and be emotional and hug each other and touch each other in high five. And you know eso. I think showing emotional depth to a child as a man is very important because you can get yourself in a lot of kind of unpleasant situations later in life. If you don't have emotional depth or complexity or are aware of your own emotional depth and complexity, because then you're you don't have access to a whole menu of feelings that you might be feeling in a certain situation where you know if you're feeling vulnerable, is it as a grown up man and you don't have access to that vocabulary, then you're gonna do something bad. You're gonna make bad

What’s one takeaway that people should have about parenting?

Read the book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Elaine Mazlish and Adele Faber. It’s a parenting book about language and empathy.

choices. So that's great. And if there was one takeaway about parenting that listeners should have with them what we did, it would be to read the book talk


so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk By Elaine Muzzle ish and Adele Faber. It's the most remarkable parenting book about language and empathy that I've ever seen. People say that kids don't come with an instruction manual, but I think this book is the closest thing my wife and I used it when the kids were little like we kept it by the phone book and would use it as a like a reference book for how to talk to them how to be empathetic. Believe it or not. We have to kind of learn how to be empathetic. So I guess, Yeah, I just You know, I've done three book recommendations here in this podcast. So the dip, the subtle art of not giving a beep and how to talk to your kids will listen and listen to your kids will talk. I would say those three books are the takeaway.


And finally, if there was some, like people were to remember about you, what would you want it to be,


Uh, that I'm something that people want to remember about me. I guess that I'm, uh, happily engaged in the struggle to be a self aware as I possibly can and created a little friction in the world for people and as much joy as possible


gas for baby pence. That's who brings you joy on a silver platter. Thank you very much for being on the show. Thanks for having me. Super plane ride. It's been rad, Dad. Yeah. Thank you. All right. Goodbye. If you enjoy this episode with Casper baby pants, then please, please, please share this podcast with your friends. Put it on Facebook. Put on Twitter linked in wherever you are.

email it to people. Put it on slack. Honestly, every time you share this podcast helps me, keeps going and helped me to find new Amazing Guest to interview. If you have any questions or concerns or don't suggest the guest that I should bring on a show, please go to rad dad show dot com and send me message I'd love to hear from you and lastly, and this is a challenge that will earn you a gold star in my book. If you can figure out how to give this podcast and review in iTunes, I would really, really appreciate it. But fair warning. It's borderline impossible. Good luck, and I'll see you next time.

share this