Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell is embarking on his most exciting adventure yet with the birth of his son. The Wonder Years’ frontman and his wife Alison have just had their first child (named Wyatt James Campbell because “the pentameter works nicely”), and for Dan, it seems that there is no job that would suit him better than fatherhood.
Add into the mix that a new Aaron West album is imminent, tour dates in support of that and more Wonder Years show too, it’s going to be a busy year for the Campbell household, but Dan couldn’t be more excited. We caught up with him just before it all took off.
How are you feeling with just a short time left until the baby arrives?
Nothing about it has gotten me shaken at all, but you never know until it actually happens. I always saw myself as a father, and I always wanted kids. With teaching elementary school for a while, and I was significantly older than all my cousins, so I always had these younger kids around me and babies everywhere, so I feel excited and prepared for it.
There were definitely songs from times where perhaps you weren’t as ready mentally for kids – ‘Passing Through The Screen Door’ in particular had a lot of references to you not be as ready as people your age at the time, are you glad you’ve gotten to place in your life where everything feels right?
That song is funny right now. In my head when I sing “all the kids names I ever liked are tied to tragedy” line, I think, “ahhh except Wyatt”. It’s funny to sing that song now, but it’s still an important song to me and a lot of people.
It’s interesting now because I wrote that song when I was 26, a good seven years ago. A lot of our fans were 18/19, and now they’re rolling into that age, and it’s affecting them in a certain way. I like it because it can stand as a bastion of you can follow your own path and still get to the destination you want to get to.
You don’t have to do things by the timeline markers that everyone else is following. I mean, my mum adopted a baby when she turned 50 so anything can happen at any time.
With that in mind, are you feeling mentally prepared for the baby?
When you’re dealing with the kind of things that people like myself – and a lot of our fans, it turns out – end up dealing with, it’s a constant reality. I’m anxious about everything. I don’t know when the last time I felt any sustained joy was. That’s just what I know my brain will always have to deal with. You just do the work to be effective and a caring, giving, member of society. I don’t think I’m in a better position at all, but maybe I’ve gotten better putting the effort into dealing with it.
Not hiding from feelings has to be essential for a child’s development?
Yeah, and I think I am generally happier around children. That’s why I loved teaching; I love the energy, so I’m excited for what it will do.
I’m looking forward to some semblance of normalcy. I like the idea the baby will need a schedule, and I will need to adhere to that schedule, and that will force me into more patterns.
Touring takes a toll because you cant develop habits or patterns; every day is different, then you go home, and there are these “activity deserts”. You’re like, well I finished the tour, and there is no writing to be done. You go on these long periods of malaise where you don’t have to wake up at any certain times, and you sleep in, and you don’t take care of yourself. I think even our dog helped take care of that for me because, “okay, the dog has to go out, so I have to go out.”
I’m looking forward to what he can do for me in that way. He’ll demand a schedule, and I will adhere to it.