Punk Parents

With the "No Future" generation deciding to breed, are we headed for anarchy in the pre-K?

Jordan Consorte-Moore was with her mom Rachel when they went shopping with Rachel's sister, who was buying a bed. Jordan is almost three and a half years old, with dark, sparkling eyes, and she asks "why?" a lot.

"Why are you buying a bed?" she wanted to know.
"Well, so I don't have to sleep on the floor," her aunt explained.
"My daddy sleeps on the floor."

Daddy is Brad Moore, 28, singer for the Keenlies, house sitter, couch surfer, Montrose man-about-town and himself the possessor of intense, sometimes wild eyes. Sartorially, Moore seems to favor whatever clothes he woke up wearing, and you wouldn't want to be his hairbrush. His resume doesn't look like a father's, but his demeanor when Jordan is around is unmistakably parental.

Moore was in Chicago, in the midst of one of his then-frequent national couch tours, when the news came over the phone that his girlfriend Rachel was pregnant with Jordan. They'd been together four years, and Moore freaked so hard that he spent the entire night cleaning his Chicago friend's apartment.

"It's scary, but once it starts rolling, it's really natural," he says now. "By the time she's born you're looking forward to it. You have a child now. And it's not because of the things you've read or the things people have told you, it's just there. It's innate."

Jordan lives with Rachel -- her parents married, then divorced -- where she has a new computer with an oversized child's mouse and a Lion King CD-ROM. Moore is the production manager at Amy's Ice Creams and Coffees, and when he's at Amy's, Rachel and Jordan visit. Rachel goes to school and works and has a stable home. Moore's freelance all the way. "I think it's good to have that separate thing, but connecting," he says. "Rachel's world and my world and our world."

So Jordan gets the best of both worlds?
"She's got it," Moore insists. "There's definitely something to be said for the stable family unit, but I think since we're both around, it might be even better the way it is."

During Jordan's infancy, the restaurant where Moore tended bar folded, and unemployment benefits let him live as a house-husband for a while. He started writing songs to keep himself from sitting in front of the TV all day. Having a child, he says, focused his energy, and what came out was the Keenlies, who take their adrenaline rush from early punk and funnel it through Moore's skewed slack-daddy lyric sensibilities for one of Houston's most danceable grit-pop confections. Jordan loves them, even if she has seen enough bands at her daddy's knee to choose another local, de Schmog, as her favorite. She dances like a whirlwind.

Moore is -- there's no gentle way to put this -- a scenester, and he and Jordan are an institution in certain social circles not generally associated with children. In this, Jordan is something of a pioneer. "Being one of the few, she's very special, and she gets treated very special by a lot of maniacs around town," says Moore. " 'Maniacs' being positive. Just ain't no normal people, no gaga-goo-goo pinch-the-cheek people. She's not scared of people that a lot of grownups are scared of."

But it's what Jordan absorbs from the interaction -- not the freaks playing with the baby -- that Moore thinks is his, and his lifestyle's, greatest contribution to fatherhood.

"Jordan," he says, "gets a lot from her 22- to 30-year-old rocker friends. I hate to use the term 'hanging out with creative people,' but she does. I was never able to get on a professional drum kit until two years ago, and Jordan has been playing a thousand-dollar Pearl kit since she was one and a half. Congas, blowing into a tuba, whatever's lying around. Going to Commerce Street and watching a bunch of her friends run around in papier-máche rhinoceros masks. She's just so part of it, and it shows. The light is on."

"I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed; I'm pretty normal." That's what Stinkerbell singer Christi Workman says, sitting on the floor in the Heights home she shares with her husband Dan, wrapping blood-red cellophane around decorative straw baskets filled with cosmetic products. Workman's been selling the cosmetics to friends and at markets for a few months now -- it's her new business.

She looks pretty normal, with nothing but a short shock of reddish hair plastered to her head to indicate an allegiance to a punk fashion somewhat at odds with the contents of her decorator gift baskets. Workman's 32, and she's also owned a clothing shop, worked at a bank, clerked at a record store and mothered her five-year-old daughter Joe Ann, who thinks the gift baskets look better with eight or nine or maybe ten expensive little bows arranged along their handle tops. When Workman tells Joe Ann that I'm going to ask some questions, Joe Ann fixes me with a sly grin and says, "We don't have any answers." The little punk.

Workman's divorced from Joe Ann's dad, who helps take care of her on weekends, gig nights and during Stinkerbell's brief tours. The tours have to be brief -- four out of the five members of Stinkerbell are parents -- parents who just released a CD containing the songs "Don't Fuck With Me," "Clit Power" and "976-SLUT." With a sheepish grin, Workman uses the term "slut-rock" to describe the Stinkerbell baby-doll-gone-bad stage show. The CD's called Hissy Fit, and the ironies rush fast and furious.

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