Friday, my father’s birthday bash features both acoustic and electric sets with his band, the Fighting Cocks, in what he calls “a full quorum of cocks” – Michael Hardwick, Andrew Duplantis, and Joey Shuffield. He leaves the next day for a tour that will keep him on the road until South by Southwest, then heads to Japan for a month in May. On turning “double nickels,” he just laughs.
“It beats the alternative. Surprisingly, the truth is that each decade that goes by is better and better than the next one. At 55 years old, I’m looking forward to 60. The nasty secret about getting older that no one tells you is that it’s more fun, more satisfying, and more exciting than the previous years.
“I enjoy my life now immeasurably more than when I was younger. I’m just now getting good at living.”
He’s been a paid performer since the age of 13 and has been inducted into the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame for two separate acts. The last few months have seen him reunited with both: True Believers at ACL Fest and the Skunks at the Moody Theater as part of Alejandro Escovedo‘s United Sounds of Austin.
“Looking back [on my career], I had ‘big ideas, fancy plans,’” he says, quoting his song “Big Sweet Life.” “When I look back at what actually happened, I would have to say that I am pretty well satisfied. I am not saying I’m done. I still have a lot of big ideas and fancy plans left, but I’ve cut a pretty wide swath. No one can say that I was never ‘all in.’”
Graham’s a performer who moves easily between loud, ear-bleeding rock shows and intimate, acoustic balladry, each moving his audience to sing, dance, rock out.
“Life gets better and better with each passing year,” he pledges. “I swear it’s true.”– William Harries Graham