DFW Music News

Q&A: Chevrolet Battle Of The Dad Bands Finalists The Marfalites On Fatherhood, Music and The Crazy Sounds Kids Listen To Today.

Just because the Austin City Limits Music Festival is over doesn't mean your chance to catch some live dad rock is gone.

The Chevrolet Texas Battle of the Dad Bands competition at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Chevrolet Truck Row Stage at the State Fair of Texas pits four "dad bands" (bands in which at least half the members are dads) against each other to be judged by Ryan Fox of KPLX-99.5 FM The Wolf, fair food service director Carey Risinger and Jerry's Chevrolet general manager Andrew Anderson.

Those four finalist bands competing for top honors, narrowed down from some 200 entries, are San Angelo's Bad Rodeo, Austin's Driver, Houston's qanda and Dallas' own The Marfalites.

The Marfalites are a classic example of a Texas alt-country cow-punk band, with songs that split the difference between rockabilly, classic country and Americana, and covers ranging from Waylon Jennings to Social Distortion. The band won the People's Choice award at last weekend's Indie Fest in Grand Prairie.

Its genesis was frontman Noah Caveny's poetry. While he grew up in a musical family and played a bit occasionally, it wasn't until his early 20s, when his first son was a toddler, that he came up with a poem he thought would make a good song and bought a guitar. He then learned to play, and formed a band called The Truckstop Junkies with drummer Dave Furies. That band eventually morphed into The Marfalites, who plan to release their first album, Two Penny No Soul, in the next month or two.

After the jump, Caveny and Furies, the two obligatory dads in the band, talk about fatherhood and how it affected their approach to music--and just how good a drummer Caveny's four-year-old is.

Is everyone in the band is a father? What are your kids' names and ages? And feel free to share/brag about anything you'd like as far as their interests, accomplishments, etc.

Dave Furies: No, not all of us are fathers. Noah and I are, but John Dawson (bass) and Brian Turton (lead guitar) are not. The rules were at least 50 percent of the band had to be dads, so we meet that. I have three offspring. Ken, 24, Christian, 18, and Shadoe, 17. Ken is quite a good writer and Shadoe is both a writer and musician. She actually plays a lead clarinet in the all-region band where she lives and I think she is second chair now. Christian lives in Louisiana and is attending college.

Noah Caveny: I have three kids, two sons and a daughter: Caleb, 14; Cadence, 12; and Asa (or "Ace"), 4.

What do your kids think of your band and music? Do they ever get to see you play? Any of them starting to express an interest in playing too?

Caveny: They're all big fans. Unfortunately, none of them can be there this weekend, which is kind of a bummer. But [Asa] got to see us last week at Indie Fest, which was cool. It's always great when they can come out and see a show. I want to raise them around music. They're all musically inclined... It is a lot of bar gigs, but whenever they do get to it's really great. My two oldest live with their mom in Virginia, so whenever they get to see a show, it's really special... My daughter is quite a piano player, and she likes to write songs and plays guitar. My oldest plays guitar as well, but isn't quite as disciplined as his sister. My youngest plays all kinds of stuff. He plays guitar, but he's small so he plays it like an upright bass. The Truckstop Junkies had an upright bass player for a long time, and he was quite taken with it, so he takes his little half-sized guitar and slaps it like an upright. And he has a drum kit that he likes to pound on. Until he was three, maybe, he really didn't have the rhythm down and he had us all worried. But then he got it. I think they all come by it naturally, but it doesn't hurt that they're around music a lot.

Furies: My kids think it's awesome. Ken is the oldest and likes the types of music that has influenced me most... '70s rock, punk rock, alt-country, jazz, stuff like that. My daughters are more interested in hip-hop and stuff. I like some of that, especially like old-school stuff, like Rick James, Fat Boys, etc. The newest stuff doesn't really turn me on much. My daughter plays but my other two never really expressed much of an interest in doing that.

How has fatherhood changed your approach to music? Does it keep you from touring or playing out as much as you'd like, or from partying as much as you'd like at gigs?

Caveny: It doesn't make it harder to play out. I have a pretty understanding family. They understand what I do. It does make it harder to write, to have the time alone. But on the other side of it, it gives you a whole new perspective on life, when you have somebody that you've created, that you're raising and chasing and you see their reactions, it's more of a blessing than anything.
Furies: It did for me. I spent many years gone from music because I was doing the marriage and raising small kids thing. I started getting back into music in 2005 when my kids were older. Once they were not totally dependent on my every move, that gave me some time to concentrate on getting back to doing what I wanted to do. My first crack back at music was actually a blues band I assembled in late 2005 called Joe Ray and the Fendertones, and we cut a six-song demo at Noisevault Studios in Dallas. My friend James Johnson engineered it and I produced. I also got a sax player named Melvin Wells (Cameo, Luther Vandross) to come to Dallas and play some sax parts. The demo turned out great. I am very proud of it. It has also gotten airplay on s few stations, like KNON in Dallas on Ginger Litton's blues show and Don O's blues show, as well as some other stations throughout the country. James Johnson from Nosievault also re-engineered of the first songs we (this band) ever recorded, called "Blink," when we recorded it in 2006, originally at the Ida Road band's studio in Tom Bean, Texas. That song has been getting play all over the country since then and in some foreign markets too, like in The UK and Canada. These days, I can play and party as much as I want to.

Are any of your songs about or inspired by your children or fatherhood?

Caveny: Yeah, especially a couple I had written while I was separated from my first wife and wasn't able to be around them as much. They're songs about those feelings, that separation. I don't play them often.

Are any of the bands/musicians you're friends with or share stages with also dads, or do you think that it's kind of unusual to keep at music after starting a family?
Caveny: Oh, yeah. There are a lot of musicians that are dads. Especially in bands that we tend to play with and associate with, that kind of alt-country genre, they're more family-oriented guys that are doing the music. Not so much in the punk-rock scene. They're dads and supporting families, and their kids are part of their musical venture
Furies: Yes, many of my music friends are fathers, and I would say that it is not unusual at all to do what we do while having families. One can't deny the God-given gifts that have been given to them-whether it's playing drums, writing, composing, cooking, whatever...everyone has been blessed with gifts of some kind and I think that it's a sin to not utilize them to the best of your ability. That's what I strive to do.

The Marfalites perform at the State Fair of Texas tomorrow as part of the Chevrolet Texas Battle of the Dad Bands Competition at the Chevrolet Truck Row Stage.

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Jesse Hughey
Contact: Jesse Hughey

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