From the screaming to the sleepless nights to the endless parade of bodily fluids, having a newborn is similar to the experience of touring in a punk rock band. It’s that realization that’s led to one of the more interesting musical projects in recent memory, Dad Brains.
It all started, oddly enough, at a time when the brains behind Dad Brains, Pat Pedraza, found out he was going to be a father to a baby girl at the age of 40.
The musician and actor, who admittedly thought he would never have kids, was shocked, excited and, like all first-time fathers-to-be, a little scared.
When the 7-pound, 11-ounce bundle of joy was born, however, he was overwhelmed with unconditional love as well as something that artists aren’t as free to discuss: the feeling that your career is on hold, if not completely over.
Pedraza was in several successful projects over the years, including No Motiv, which was arguably the biggest band ever to come out of Oxnard. No Motiv was one of the first bands on the legendary indie label Vagrant Records, toured nationally opening for a who’s who of big bands, and released a series of sorely overlooked, ahead-of-their time records.
Unfortunately, cult status doesn’t necessarily lay the financial foundation for a 40-year-old first-time father to support a family over a decade later, never mind an acting career that requires a vow of poverty and endless days spent auditioning in L.A. Bottom line: It looked as if Pedraza’s two professional ambitions were about to take a permanent back seat.
But sometimes inspiration and opportunity strike when you least expect it.
One night on the way to the store for yet another diaper mission, Pedraza had his Eureka moment.
It hit him that all these new experiences as a parent, both the joyous and the stressful, were ripe for songwriting material. Literally shouting out lyric ideas as he drove, he was hit with a vision, creating a hardcore punk band with songs for and about parenting.
Immediately contacting fellow dad and guitarist Matt “Matty” Kash (also a Ventura County punk stalwart), in just one session the two began banging out songs that would make their first EP. Then Kash came up with the perfect name. It was not only an homage to their punk roots, but also a clever explanation of the new project: Dad Brains.
Pedraza and Kash recruited fellow dads John Crerar and Craig Kasamis, both with Ventura County punk rock pedigrees, to round out the rhythm section, and in no time the band had enough material for an EP.
Recording with Roger Camero, one of Pedraza’s old partners in No Motiv and now one of the most sought-after producers and engineers in the punk and hardcore scenes, Dad Brains busted out a five-song EP that clocked in under 10 minutes and which was released on Father’s Day weekend, naturally.
Just like parenthood, Dad Brains’ self-titled debut release is fast, furious and awesome. One listen to tracks like “Baby Jail” and “I’m Old” and it’s clear that the band is just having a great time. One departure: Dad Brains keeps it clean. As Pedraza points out, “We’ve got to set a good example.”
With members who have extensive backgrounds in the hardcore punk community and the help of the Internet, Dad Brains is legitimately getting out there — despite not playing any shows. EP and T-shirt sales are coming in from foreign countries, the band’s first video is racking up solid views on YouTube, and its members are working with a label to release the EP on vinyl.
What’s really exciting, though, is that Dad Brains isn’t just a one-time, one-off side project. Pedraza, who has always been the type of guy to run with a good idea and make big things happen, is bustling with plans for the future.
“I’d love to release an EP or at least a single every Father’s Day . . . forever,” laughs Pedraza. “I could definitely see a Christmas EP, too. The material is just endless. Every day there’s a new scenario with my daughter and I’m like, ‘Well, there’s a new Dad Brains.’ If it catches on in any way, that’s great. But if not, we’re having a great time. I love my daughter and my family and I love how it’s brought all this unexpected inspiration and a brand-new band.”
And last but not least, the question that’s on everyone’s mind: With a band comprising four of the scene’s most popular members, who have spent half their lives on the road, will there ever be a Dad Brains live show?
Pedraza is blunt with the answer.
“Yes . . . but we may have to do it acoustic because we’re expecting a big turnout from the local toddler community.”
For music and more information, visit www.facebook.com/DadBrainsMusic.