Andy Bizer—you (probably) know him, you (probably) love him. A longtime staple of the New Orleans music scene, Andy first cut his teeth as a WTUL DJ in the ‘90s before going on to manage the careers of such disparate talents as King Louie Bankston and Alynda Segarra (Hurray for the Riff Raff). When he’s not suing to enforce ADA compliance as part of the law firm Bizer & DeReus (an ANTIGRAVITY advertiser), you might find him singing in the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus or the Shitty Stones, a band that annually comes together to perform questionable covers of Rolling Stones material. Last but certainly not least, he is a dad raising two daughters, ages 8 and (almost) 12, in the Bywater with his wife, multimedia artist Jessica Bizer.
Right off the bat, let’s get Andy Bizer’s two rules of fatherhood, plus the bonus rule.
The first rule is: If you’re awake, you should be cleaning something. And rule #2 is: Shut the fuck up. Babies can’t talk, and because of that they do a lot of crying. And when the baby cries, you don’t know if the baby’s crying because the baby’s hungry, the baby is tired, the baby is overtired, the baby wants to play—you just don’t know what’s going on. And so there are a lot of theories amongst you and your partner as to why the baby is crying. And you should just shut the fuck up.
You mean “you” as the father-type person.
You should follow their lead on whatever they think is the reason. And if you are asked your opinion, then of course give your opinion. And if your opinion is summarily shot down for some other theory, your response should be, “OK.” Those are the two rules. And the rules come from the fact that a baby didn’t come out of your vagina, which is an incredible, mind-blowing thing to witness… It’s a deferential thing, it’s a distribution of labor thing (no pun intended). They did that? You can do the dishes 99% of the time. While the baby is still an infant, at least… And when there are these moments of doubt as to what’s going on, it’s good to have someone who takes the lead. That way you’re not arguing all the time about whether you think the baby is hungry or not. They know more than you. The baby was in them.
And your wife is aware of these rules?
Oh yeah. She knows about the rules and I tell people about the rules. And I have people come back and thank me for the rules.
They’re great rules. I wanted to get them on the record. And what’s the bonus rule?
The bonus rule is impossible to follow, which is: Don’t eat the chicken nuggets or the mac’n’cheese. Because what happens is, when the kids get older and they start eating real food, they love mac’n’cheese and chicken nuggets. It’s easy to prepare. And they never eat it all.
Never. And you look down at the plate, and there’s maybe five tablespoons of mac’n’cheese, two chicken nuggets, a nice dollop of ketchup—always delicious. And the more you eat that the more the dad bod shows up.
But you can’t throw them away, that’s the contradiction. You’re screwed.
You can’t throw them away, you can’t eat them. I’ve chosen to eat them and pay the consequences.
What’s been your experience raising two girls?
It’s magical. Because I had an older brother and I didn’t have any experience with girls and I didn’t have any female friends until I reached high school. I think that’s kind of normal for a kid growing up in the ‘80s… I don’t have anything to compare it against other than when I see my friends who have young boys who are completely insane. [laughs]
What’s one thing you know a lot about having raised girls that you wouldn’t otherwise know about?
So, when I was in college, a girlfriend of mine explained to me the difference between a dress and a skirt. I thought they were the same thing, like pants and trousers. So I think I understand more about women’s clothing now, and sizes and accessories and things that girls like to adorn themselves with. Which is something I had no idea about.
What is the difference?
I’m pretty sure a skirt is just the bottom bit, from the waist down. [laughs] And a dress is like the whole thing.
What about any intellectual property, franchise-type things?
In raising my daughters, my thought was, I’m going to show them stuff that I like. And if they latch on to it, cool. And if they don’t, that’s fine too. And both of my kids have really latched on to Star Wars stuff and Marvel stuff. So they’re super into both of that, which is exciting. My oldest is really into Wings of Fire and all that dragon stuff, so that’s kind of interesting. But whenever I watch kids’ movies that I’m not into, I just immediately fall asleep.
What’s something that you tried to show them that they were not interested in.
Sports. Just sports. They have no interest in watching sports, in playing sports. And I think that’s fine. It’s kind of funny how they like to make fun of me for watching sports a lot. It’s a game to them to block me when I’m watching sports on TV. It started off kind of adorable, [sings] “I’m blocking you…” And then it’s like, alright, enough. But then you don’t want to be the asshole dad that’s like, get out of the way, I’m watching the game, kid! They like to make jokes about the graphics during football games and the explosions and the aggressive robot stuff, so that’s kind of fun.
And you personally have some creative things, like the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus and the Shitty Stones, from time to time. Have they been exposed to any of that, or what’s their take on your personal creative projects?
My daughters are horrified that I wear a lavender unitard in the Shitty Stones. My friends Anne and Brad purchased a photograph of me crowd surfing. And they put it on their wall at their house. So my kids went over and saw a picture of me in a lavender unitard crowd surfing. They were not happy about that. So they will beg me to not do that because they think it’s wildly embarrassing—as I’m sure it is. I always joke with them that the Shitty Stones will play [their school’s] fundraiser. And they know that we won’t, but it’s kind of a fun thing to tease.
As a man in a house with three women, I’m sure you’re fine, but everybody needs an escape valve or a little decompression. How do you manage that?
Not only am I living in a house with three women but I’m living in a house that’s like 1200 square feet. So it’s like You’re Living All Over Me, right? Luckily I live a block from Bud Rip’s and two blocks from Markey’s Bar. So I have the ability to dip—not whenever I want, but I have a very loving and understanding wife who has no problem with me saying, “Hey, I’m going to go watch the Pelicans game” and I can just go watch a game over at Markey’s. Or I can go walk a block to Bud Rip’s and see someone I know over there. So it’s like having your own man cave without having to pay for it.
How do your daughters get along, and how do you manage the sibling thing?
My older daughter reads ANTIGRAVITY magazine so I have to be careful about what I say in this answer. My kids fill those typical roles of: The older one is more rule-oriented, and the younger one is more, how do I say…
[laughs] Free spirited, that’s right. So that kind of rubs up against itself and I just have to make sure that my older daughter is being rewarded for doing the right thing, which she does 99% of the time, and that she doesn’t feel the need to enforce the rules on her sister. And that’s something that’s not easy to do. And also the younger one is just younger and she doesn’t really get it as much.
But they get along, mostly?
Yeah, for sure. They do, they get along great. That’s the magic of having two kids. Recently we realized that it’s come a time when we can go out at night and have the older daughter watch the younger daughter and not have to spend a hundred dollars on babysitters for the night, which is really nice. So that’s really the test of if they get along.
I’ll say, it’s very cool of you to let your almost-12-year-old read ANTIGRAVITY.
Well it’s right there by the shitter!
That’s the best place for it! Last question: In a house full of women, are you good about putting the seat down?
I’ve learned the pleasures of sitting down.
New Orleans metro area parents! Want to share your experience with ANTIGRAVITY readers? We’re always looking for a wide variety of parenting voices and circumstances to explore each month. If you’re interested, please get in touch with Erin Hall or head to our About page to fill out a contributor form.