Being that Bill is my father, this is a strange post for me to publish. When we sat in my RV in Portland, OR, I didn't know how to go about starting the conversation... But I suppose the RV did its job, allowing us both to put our egos aside and open up. Both of us within our own work; me in my RV project, him outside of his recording session at Flora Recording and Playback. We spoke about the challenges he faced while being home for a long period of time, where his music comes from, and his work ethic. Being his daughter, I have always had a mixed relationship with his dedication to his work and his music, but as I have gotten older and more invested in my own work and my own passion, I have realized he has taught me some of the most important lessons in my life: Follow the work. Follow what you love. Keep going.
I suppose this post is sort of a thank you to him. A grateful salute to the music he has raised me with, and to the person he has always been when being my good ol' Dad.
Speaking about his last 6 months off the road and on "vacation":
"I was looking forward to it. I thought it was going to be a break. But I realized that it wasn’t in any way, shape or form a break. It took me awhile to figure out that what I was looking for was space. I think I was expecting it to just be there because I decided I was gonna come home and not get on an airplane. I thought I was gonna suddenly have more space. Like I had imagined I would go for walks. I was thinking of all these things that I hadn't done... I have never read Moby Dick... I haven't memorized every song that Sonny Rollins wrote. I was imagining doing all these things. And I got home. and it didn't happen that way. Because life was going on.
There were things with my family that I had to deal with. And at first, I was resisting it, really strong. It was really really difficult... Because I had wanted to have some of my own space. But it just kept coming at me in waves, just knocking me down. I could hardly stand up. And then I sort of came to terms with that... And the idea of just surrendering to it. Just let it come. Rather than pushing against something that you cant stop. Give it to me, I will take it."
Speaking about how life effects his music:
"I think my music is independent from all this other stuff. Sometimes it feels like I am just trying to find the time and the strength to just [make music]. The music just goes on its own. And I guess what's frustrating is there is so much stuff that gets in the way of just doing it. But that is what's so amazing about [music]. Because I go into it and it takes over... And I am just in it. I think thats why I have done it for as long as I can remember. And I think it just keeps getting stronger and stronger. And then sometimes I get distracted, and I'm tired and it is a horrible feeling. Where it feels like I am losing touch with it or something.
It is easy to blame that on something else, like maybe I am just lazy or something. But sometimes at the moment, when I think I am too tired, and I do go grab my guitar, it will give me energy and I have to remember to do that... Rather than just giving into thinking I have to rest... or email... or some other bullshit."
The story about how he told his mom about wanting to play guitar:
"I was really into cars and engines. My friend and I... we sort of made our own little hot rod club. We were really into hot rods, and we would walk around the neighborhood looking at cool cars. And I remember this guy who lived around the corner had a corvette. We went up to him and asked him “Can we wash your car for you? We have a hot rod club." I mean, it was just the two of us. I think he let us wash his car. It was a 1962 corvette... But then, wanting to play guitar kind of took over. And I remember the exact moment when I saw my mom. She was taking the trash out in the alley behind our house. I said 'mom', or 'mommy' or whatever, 'I decided I don't want to be a race car driver, I want to play the guitar.' And she was so happy. I don't know if there was ever a moment like that with my father, but he was always into me playing music.
His fathers influence on him:
"I saw my dads report cards from when he was in school, in my grandfathers desk in Minnesota. All of it was A’s. Every single grade was an A... Totally A's... Nothing but A's. I mean everything he did was super neat and with incredible detail. Everything that I have done has felt nothing close to what he was. He sort of set an example of what someone could do if they were actually serious about what they did. But I haven't even come close to what he was doing... He just really worked hard. From when he was a little kid, he just did that. His father, my grandfather, came from Sweden on the boat. He worked on the railroad and then he worked in the grocery store. They were just hard working. They lived a way that you can't even do anymore I guess. Where you could have a job making a living and have a house." - Bill F.