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Rock WILK: Blog

Fathers and sons...

Posted on December 3, 2012
So my father and I disconnected pretty hard for a few years, I had quit school after getting my body pretty beat up in a pretty unsuccessful college football career, mostly returning punts, (yes, I can FLY) and after my eligibility ran out
and I was faced with having to now actually BE in school for CLASS, and now that it was going to cost money because my scholarship was over, and faced with the reality that I had wasted this great opportunity to get a free education, I felt like I had to make a decision, and so since I was interested in NOTHING that college had to offer, and actually KNOWING that all of my life was actually leading up to this exact moment, I had always known I was an artist at the cellular level of my mind, body and spirit, considering everything, standing at this crossroads of my life, I left school right before finals of my last year, and my life started over that day. My father thought my life ended that day. He was a blue collar, real New York "get a fucking job" kind of guy, a lifetime garment worker, and he rejected this artist side of me. I looked at this as a complete rejection of ME, and always identifying myself as his "adopted" son, which I was, this was a pretty profound moment in our relationship, and add to that the fact that he and I were both pretty stubborn mothafuckers, this was some "dug heels to the center of the earth" shit, and we walked away from one another. Didn't speak for years, even when we were together, it was this stuck silence, and it just grew... Except for one thing. I had a band back then, I had flown head first into the music business at the time and I was playing at clubs all over the city, and for about 8 years, I don't think my father EVER missed even one gig. Even one night at a club called Mikells, this legendary old jazz club on 97th and Columbus, one night I had a show there and there happened to be a blizzard that night, one of those crazy, crippling storms, but me and my fellow bandmates showed up and were ready to jam, regardless of the fact that we didn't expect any crowd that night. Well, to our surprise, it was a full house, we had a huge following back then, but the most memorable thing for me that night was just before we hit, my friend Lisa nudged me on stage and said, "Rock.... Look by the front door.." and I looked up and saw this silhouette of a tall man in a long coat with a fedora on, just standing there looking at me, and Lisa said, "that's your father!!! He showed up". It was a Monday night, it was 11pm, we started late in that club, my father had to be at work at 7am the next day, just like everyday, and so we caught eye contact with one another, and he gave me the thumbs up sign, stayed for about 2 songs, and left. The next morning I had a message on my answering machine with his APOLOGY for leaving early and saying he had to get home in the snow. I realized that for that entire cold war that my father and I staged with one another, we were actually speaking to each other all along. Just the way fathers and sons do sometimes. Silently, loyally, proudly, with difficulty, loudly inside of this confused, silent pride, but in our case, always in love.
That was the last day I identified myself as his adopted son. I think about that story sometimes before I walk on stage to perform BROKE WIDE OPEN