Rock’s Second Generation is Ready to Take On 2021
Being the child of a famous rock star comes with a distinct set of challenges that's made even more so when that second generation sets out to establish his or her own musical career.
There are drawbacks: Immediate comparisons will inevitably be drawn between the work of the offspring and the parent, making it difficult for a personal sound to be developed.
Take it from Alice Cooper's eldest daughter, Calico, who now leads her own band, Beasto Blanco, but was initially reluctant to get involved in the industry.
“I think part of me, psychologically, didn't want to acknowledge or even think about that as a career,” she told UCR last year, “because that would mean a whole other box of ... you know, Am I really gonna get compared for the rest of my life to my dad?”
Watch Beasto Blanco's 'Solitary Rave' Video
For many, the path to success usually includes a mix of personal perseverance and a little encouragement from home. But even the most assured members of rock's second generation couldn't have accounted for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Unable to tour for the better part of a year, many of them gravitated toward the studio to keep their creative juices flowing.
One of the most anticipated releases of the year is Wolfgang Van Halen's debut studio album, Mammoth WVH, which arrives on June 11. Its lead single, "Distance," was written with his late dad, Eddie, in mind. Van Halen said he "thought my father would be here to celebrate its release."
Watch Mammoth WVH's 'Distance' Video
Lukas Nelson, Willie Nelson's son, and his band Promise of the Real, are also planning to release an album, A Few Stars Apart, on June 11. For Lukas (and presumably his brother, Micah Nelson, who performs under the name Particle Kid), spending less time on the road has been a blessing in disguise.
"My dad would never have given himself the chance to rest, and we would have never had this time together if we had not been forced to," he told Rolling Stone last year. "And he’s getting up there. The years would be going by, and we would just be grinding on the road."
Jakob Dylan and his dad, Bob Dylan, have a somewhat different relationship. Though Jakob speaks about his father very little in public, he never meant for that to be a sign of contention between them. "He never missed a single Little League game I had. He's collected every home-run ball I ever hit. And he's still affectionate to me," Jakob told The New York Times in 2005. "Maybe he doesn't want people to know that. But I'll tell you, because it's my interview." Dylan will release Exit Wounds, his first new album with the Wallflowers in nine years, on July 9.
Other scheduled releases include records by Dave Davies' son, Daniel, whose next EP, Spies, will arrive May 28, and Bono's 21-year-old son, Elijah Hewson, who will release his first album, It Won't Always Be Like This, with his band Inhaler.
In the meantime, there's still plenty to listen to - like new music by John Fogerty's sons Shane and Tyler, who've made the most of their quarantine months recording as Hearty Har. Their debut album, Radio Astro, is out now. "We obviously love our dad’s music, on a level that most people probably don’t understand," Tyler told Rock Cellar earlier this year. "But he’s already been ripped off so much in his life. Besides, I want to keep going forward. We’re related already, so it’s like, “All right, that’s cool, but what do we want to do?”
Watch Hearty Har's 'Waves of Ecstasy' Video
Norah Jones, whose father was sitar legend Ravi Shankar, recently released her first live album, 'Til We Meet Again, a gentle reminder of the physical performances fans and musicians alike are itching to return to.
Lola Lennox released her fourth single, "Wherever You Go," which was produced by her mother, former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox, while Billy Joel's daughter, Alexa Ray, released her first single in 11 years, "Seven Years." "He called me right away," Alexa told People (The TV Show!). "He’s pretty low-key, but he was like, ‘Honey, this is great!’"
Oliver Wakeman, son of Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, also wanted to bring his dad into the mix for his most recent project with fellow prog keyboardist Clive Nolan. Tales by Gaslight, which came out last month, is a three-CD box set that includes remastered versions of songs from the pair's previous albums. Oliver's dad makes an appearance on one of them, but not as a keyboard player. "Clive and I felt we had that department covered," Oliver said. "So he was given the role of the narrator!"
Meanwhile, Suspect208 gathers the sons of rockers who made their names in the '80s and '90s. Originally consisting of drummer London Hudson (son of Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash) bassist Tye Trujillo (son of Metallica bass player Robert Trujillo), guitarist Niko Tsangaris and singer Noah Weiland (son of late Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland), the band released a handful of singles last year. But Weiland was booted earlier this year following a period of alleged drug use and was replaced by Cody Houston. A new single, "You Got It," came out last month.
Listen to Suspect208's 'You Got It'
After months of cancellations and postponements, it looks like touring is gradually beginning to creep back into many artists' lives. John Bonham's son, Jason, has plans to hit the road at the end of May with Sammy Hagar and the Circle, while 20-year-old Nic Collins, son of Phil Collins, will be joining his dad on drums later this year as Genesis set out for their fall reunion tour. The Allman Betts Band, which includes sons of three founding members of the Allman Brothers Band – Devon Allman (son of Gregg Allman) Duane Betts (son of Dickey Betts) and Berry Duane Oakley Jr. (son of Berry Oakley) - are also getting back into live shows. Their second album, Bless Your Heart, was released last summer.
“Me, Duane and Berry have a bond that goes back forever," Allman told Guitar World at the top of the year. "But the seven of us [in the band] are really a unit, and we’re totally focused on establishing ourselves, marching forward and continuing our own body of work – world tours, records – just like our fathers did it back then. We have to make our own mark.”