Today an old friend of the family posted these photos of my father and his band, The Morticians, on Facebook. They were taken in the mid to late 60’s. I’ve heard a lot about the band my father played in when he was a teenager, how popular they became and all the fun they had (well, I’m sure he left some of it out, he WAS a teenager in the 60’s!), but this is the first time I’ve seen photos of it. He used to tell me all the time about how they had their photo taken in the ruins of Moxham’s Castle after it burned to the ground in 1966. I’ve never seen either of these photos until today. I find it so cool! Apparently they used to arrive at their gigs in a hearse, which I’m sure must have added just the right amount of drama to their performances.
My father (left) with his teenage band, The Morticians. Canadians might know the man next to him (James Flynn) as the Canadian entertainer Jimmy Flynn.
If you are anything like me, you find it very cool when you see photos of your parents when they were young. Especially if it’s one like this, that you’ve always heard of but have never seen.
My father is a musician, so growing up I always heard a lot of stories about the different bands he’s been in. I would hear all about how my Nana used to drive him and his band mates to their gigs, all the crazy things that would happen with the people in the crowds and all the antics he and his band would get up to. It wasn’t just family telling the tales either! More than once I’ve met someone’s parents for the first time and listened to them tell me about how they saw my father play at some time or another. I once even had to sit through a friend’s mother gushing about how much she loved The Morticians and how cute my father was.
When I was growing up my father was in a band called ‘57 Chevy. I always felt so cool when we’d go to some event that my father was playing at. I loved to listen to him sing, and I still do. There were bands before ‘57 Chevy though, and I didn’t get to witness any of those. They were just like family folk tales to me, I knew the stories by heart but sometimes it seemed so hard to imagine my dad as ever being a teenager, it was hard to believe it was all real.
My father is passionate about music and I love that about him. I could sit all night and listen to him play the guitar and sing. I love that he has something in his life that he feels so strongly about and that he is so good at, and I wish like hell I’d taken advantage of it when I was young and learned to play the guitar. He tried to teach me when I was a teenager but when he told me I had to cut my nails, it was game over.
Anyway, I love my dad. I loved getting a glimpse into his past and seeing him at a time that I know everything was exciting and new… before mom, before me… when he was just a teenage boy in a band. I especially love getting to see the Moxham’s Castle photo shoot that I’d heard so much about.
It’s been over 40 years since those photos were taken and he’s still as dedicated to his music as he was back then. I’m so proud of him and even though most of the songs he’s written make me cry, I can’t wait to get home in October and have him play for me again.