BY DAY THIS MUSICIAN HELPS VETERANS AS A SOCIAL WORKER
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JD SWIGER
Thirty years after moving to Austin and playing in various bands while making ends meet at places like Casino El Camino and Waterloo Records, Sean Morales has settled into domestic bliss. By day he helps veterans as a social worker. His evenings are spent writing music on the front porch of the house he shares with his wife and occasional drummer, Erica Barton, 2-year-old son, and brand-new baby daughter. In January, he released his first solo album, Call It In, a mix of stream-of-conscious garage rock and acoustic ballads inspired by the pull of fatherhood.
What are your earliest concert memories?
My mother was a cop in Norfolk, Virginia. When I was 13, she would take me and my buddy to shows. She’d pull up in a cop car, drop us off, and we would go see the Ramones, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Church. This was like ’88 at the Boathouse. It was right on a dock. I never would see the water though. I’d see all these adults in this beer garden. We couldn’t see over anybody, we were kids. It was a different time. She could leave us there, and we would be all right. And we were all right.
Why did you get into social work?
I love it. I’ve been out of grad school, working with veterans, since January 2012. There are hard days, but it’s great. It’s my form of service. All the males on my mother’s side of the family and my father were in the military. There was no f***ing way I was going to join the military. This is the way I want to serve.
How do you feel about touring?
I want to be a father first and foremost right now. I have what I have, so I’m rich already. I don’t care about waiting in a bar to play at 1 o’clock in the morning, sleeping on somebody’s floor—granted, you meet some cool people sleeping on somebody’s floor—but I don’t care about that. I’m 42 years old. I’d rather have a hotel and my family. That’s my goal.