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Dad Next Door: Andy Timmons

Andy Timmons has been busy. In the span of one week, the guitarist has hopped from the Midwest, touring with drummer and longtime pal Simon Phillips to promote their recent album release, to a recording studio in Dallas, and, lastly, the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas to perform with Olivia Newton-John—someone he’s been working with for the past 15 years.
How he manages such a tightly packed schedule can only come from experience, and, in his case, he’s had plenty. You may remember him during his days playing in pop-metal band Danger Danger in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Today, much of his time is still spent on the music front, working on an ample number of projects, including finishing his surf album and continuing with his various collaborations as a session guitarist. But the one job that supersedes all of the gigs and recordings is being super dad to 10-year-old son Alex.
Ask Andy if he saw this all coming almost 20 years ago, and his answer would likely be “no.” Back in 1995 — the year he met his wife, Monica — Andy wasn’t looking to meet anyone at that time, much less the one. A serious relationship and a rock-and-roll lifestyle — the one that Andy was rather immersed in during that period — didn’t usually go hand in hand. Though they certainly did for Andy and Monica, who married two years after their initial meeting. 
“I was always dedicated to the music; I wasn’t really concerned about that part of life, but when you meet the right person … it all made sense. So we married, we moved to McKinney shortly after and we’ve been living here for about 18 years,” he explains.
Now 50 years old, Andy feels fortunate that he can put his heart into his music and be there for his family at the same time. Being his own boss means a flexible schedule and choice of projects; for instance, the tours he does are always two weeks or less. It’s sometimes a challenge to work around that time frame, but it’s something Andy really tries to adhere to. “Now if Paul McCartney calls we might have a different story,” he jokes. Still, after seeing his colleagues miss out on their kids’ formative years, he counts himself lucky that he is able to be there for his own soon-to-be fifth grader. 
Making music, touring the world and still being able to meet his son for lunch at school on a regular basis, allows Andy to have his proverbial “cake and eat it, too.” But the musician gives all the credit to his family. 
“Alex and Monica really do support and understand what I do. But it doesn’t make it easier for them when I’m gone, obviously. When I’m gone, that means Monica’s workload [she’s a colorist at the Lisa Bennett Salon] increases and it’s harder for Alex because his dad’s not here,” shares Andy. “But he also sees that I do make decisions based on what’s best for the overall good of the family and be there as much as I can for them.”
But being a musician has its privileges, and sometimes the entire Timmons family gets to experience it firsthand. Andy recalls one particular trip: “Two years ago I did a weeklong camp in Italy not too far outside of Verona … and it was myself and two other well-known guitar players Tommy Emmanuel and John Jorgenson. It was a weeklong music festival so we were going to be in one city for a week. Both Monica and Alex got to come for that and it was really amazing. It was Alex’s first time to go to Europe. On the last day we took a train to go to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower.” 
There was also a time last year when Andy was touring around Texas and Oklahoma with Olivia Newton-John. The whole family got to go on the tour bus for a taste of life on the road — rock star style, natch. Suffice it to say, riding in a tricked-out tour bus and seeing all of its fancy amenities is more than enough to make any kid happy. 
For Andy, it’s important to quell any fears that his son might have when he’s not at home. “It’s nice that they can see what goes on when I’m away. There’s no mystery about where Dad is,” he adds. 
Growing up in a broken home — his parents divorced when he was around 4 or 5 years old — Andy has no memories of his dad. Now that Andy is a parent himself, he admits that he’s more sensitive to  not being an absentee father. Even before he had Alex, he was already questioning his future fathering skills. “With the insecurity of not having had a father around all the time, what do I base this on? I don’t have this experience,” says Andy.
In fact, there was a time when Alex was going through some anxiety issues a few years ago about his dad being gone. On occasion when Alex would call and couldn’t get a hold of dad, he’d get really upset. As a solution, Andy and Monica got him a phone, a hotline if you will, so that anytime day or night Andy will be on the other end to pick up. True, that may mean middle-of-the-night phone calls thanks to varied times zones, but it has tremendously helped Alex be more confident and less anxiety-filled. 
“It was a hurdle to get over; it just mortified me that my being away could cause that kind of anxiety. That’s a blessing and a curse — I’m very fortunate to do what I do for a living, but I don’t want it to be at the expense of my family’s happiness.”
Be that as it may, the Timmons seem to have grown accustomed to the swing of things, especially Andy. “Only in the last few years have I gotten more confidence in realizing that I am a good dad. I’m doing the best that I can. Alex gets more love than he can handle. Every step we get to — it just gets better and better.”

Published June 2014