What is the meaning behind ‘Raging Dads’ and where does it originate?
It’s more of a lifestyle choice, derived from me and a few other dads who worked in hospitality. We were working at night, drinking a lot but still in the day we would be really hands on with our kids – the juxtaposition of that was difficult, however because we all had each other we got through a lot of it.
Even the words Raging and Dads are quite opposing words but come together really neatly.
I’ve always been excited by Post WW2 subcultures, motorcycle club culture, 70’s New York street gangs. I looked at the way they put two words together e.g. Hells Angels – it was like raging dads…for dads who rage. The 1 percent of dad culture.
Can you spot another raging dad? And I guess it’s describing a subculture of a subculture because there are not many young dads, let alone young raging dads.
It’s not just necessarily about youth. People need a release and being a dad is a weird thing. You didn’t have a baby, you never gave birth, what’s your connection to this thing that you’re biologically connected to. You’re in this really weird zone of where do you fit in this relationship between you, partner and child. It’s a lot to deal with and as a young dad there’s really no support groups at all…So it was something that I joked about, having this club for ‘dads’ and creating it as the same kind of concept as the ‘Elks’ club or the ‘Masons’ – those kind of men’s clubs.
You wear sleeveless arms, you have tats, you rock a certain groove. Do people come up to you and say ‘good on you dude!’ when you push a pram in Woollhara?
It’s mainly junkies that love me! They are like ‘oh mate wish I had a dad like you, you look like a legend!’ People around the east hate me. They are like ‘did that guy steal that kid? Is he drinking a long neck in the park? – That’s not a real situation but generally they really dislike the look of me, and I really like that because I’ve always been against the mainstream of society and I’d prefer to be looking really weird than really normal.
I guess a lot of the initial recruit dads have that kind of look – these are all dudes getting tattooed by the same people, drinking at the same bars, eating with each other, started going out together, then we had kids, kids started playing together, so its sort of been this thing that has grown and grown…and as a club in Sydney alone there’s probably about 16 members, all from various walks of life. There are guys who work in design firms, advertising agencies, artists, musicians, bars, chefs but generally the binding thing is, the common interest of being a father and liking to get pretty messed up.
How do you become a member? Is there a process involved or an association?
Well, it’s both. It’s definitely a 9 month gestational period and then once you got your baby, you’re in! And if you’ve already got a baby then it’s like you can become a prospect member. Generally the people who have been involved are people I have known for years.
You talked about the gestational period. Ok, you got a rager but then the rager becomes the dad does the dad slow down the raging, is it an endless battle?
It’s up to them. Then it’s this constant flux and flow of fatherhood comes in, work comes in and you’ve got to have the release of your party time.
Some people make the choice to fully stop boozing – that’s fine good for them. But for me and my mates we need those times. It’s not like its everyday or anything like that but it still needs to happen.
So I guess you can start with something that’s a microcosm subculture in Sydney, but now there’s Instagram, social media and stuff.
Well it’s already blown up
How do they find you?
Mainly through Instagram, we’ve posted things like ‘support your local raging dad.’ I mean that’s the big thing…there’s not a lot of support out there for dads. People have to get behind it.
Do you try and stay in touch with them?
Yeh there’s one LA member definitely. One Australian member went over and gave him a shirt. One guy who has been the most active with me in the club is moving to North Hollywood and is going to start another chapter over there. We started a chapter in Melbourne that has 8 members, in Byron Bay has a few members, and another one in the Gold Coast. They are all young dudes who have similar interests…I guess not all the same musical taste but we all like rock n roll on the whole and like drinking beers. I guess for a lot of fathers they feel like they can’t have a voice to go to there wife ‘alright love I need to go have a beer with the boys’ cause they get shut down but if they have ‘dad business’ to attend to that’s a completely different kettle of fish.
It’s stuff you can’t talk to your regular mates about, they talk about shagging birds and stuff. Whereas if you say my kid hit his head the other day and he’s got a brain tumor, they’re like ‘that’s pretty heavy I can’t even comprehend that…the emotion of that must be terrifying’. But then if you’re talking to another dad the emotion is completely different, ‘Jesus Christ mate, what are we going to do? lets try and help you out’.
That’s an actual situation that happened in the Melbourne raging dad’s club. This dude was like this is the problem I have as a father and they were all there to support this guy whereas he never felt he could talk about that to anyone else.
So what about the t-shirts? Tell me about those?
T-shirts and patches are for club members only. So they’re not for the general public. It’s club members that wear their shirts just like motorcycle clubs wear their coulours. We got patches made and we all wear them when we go out. What we are going to market is the ‘support your local raging dad’ t-shirts and its not a mass-market thing. It’s just for those who like the idea and we have an image for that and we are just going to get them printed in the next few months and start selling them through our website and Instagram.
How does the chapter recruit a member?
Sometimes its like people have a perspective member. Few dudes in Bondi who want to become perspective members. I have to hold a club day where we go have a BBQ or play pool, drink beers or just hang out. Some people aren’t right for it and some people are, and you can feel that stright away – people just click.
So it’s somewhat organised
Yeh it’s definitely organised. We’ve just based it off 60s Biker clubs.
Sergeant of Arms
Prospects – ideally buy you beers