JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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• Happy Father’s Day, finally!

I was late for my birth (two weeks) and I’ve been late for stuff ever since, so it’s no surprise that this Father’s Day post is past due. But I have the best excuse ever: I’m now a father!

I also confess, I’ve been struggling a little with what to write, there’s just so much to say. But a post I did recently for my Mom’s birthday gave me an idea. In the post for my Mom, I wrote about how she influenced my songwriting. Well, my Dad has been an influence, too, and a big one.

First and foremost, my Dad taught me to be honest and I strive to do this in all my lyrics. Even though I mostly ask other people to sing my stuff, I always want to feel that no matter who’s belting out my sound bites, I’m not cringing and thinking, “thank god he (or she) is singing that instead of me, I would never say that.” I also try my very best to be true to myself and only pour my efforts into songs I believe in.

Second, my Dad inspired me to be a bit of a geek, so I have always been interested in and up on (mostly) the latest recording gear. Back in the 70s I had a Fostex 4-track, in the 80s a Tascam reel-to-reel and in the 90s an ADAT, as well as some of the first Digidesign products. This geekiness has been great because rather than shy away from technical change, I’ve embraced it and wanted more, more, more of it.

Last, but by no means least, my Dad made me an atheist and a pretty strident one at that. He never forced my down this path, but by teaching me to be honest with others and myself, and by sparking an interest in science beyond X-Ray Vision Glasses, he made me a critical thinker who values facts and considers the true stuff to be provable -- but also subject to change without notice. In songwriting, this means no “lord, save me” lyrics, which is nice because I feel that religion has become a cliche in songwriting, so I’m better off not having it available to me (unless I want to poke a little fun at it or challenge it in some way!).

All of these lessons from my Dad have been through conversation, many over wine or on walks, some while grilling, a few in foreign countries. In fact, my most valuable lessons have come from these talks and if I have any wisdom at all it is, in large part, thanks to my Dad.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I look forward to many, many more.