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But it's not much of a leap to think that the kids were deeply influenced by their parents' entertainment industry examples. Willie was always about rock. But Tracy had a much broader range of artistic interests. She was about rock too, but also dance, R&B, acting and musicals.
"People ask me how I ended up with Willie," she says.
"I saw an amazing personality with a passion for art, and someone very, very intriguing in their passion. Derek and Evan needed to be born, and it had to be their daddy to baptize them. Because they were gonna be musicians no matter what. When most kids were watching sports or Disney videos with their daddies, my boys were looking through their daddy's record collection That's really cool, and that's what their daddy did for them. They would never have had that with me. Yeah, they would have had music, but it wouldn't have been the same. I think they got their hearts from their mom and their goals from their dad."
Like her sons, Tracy was something of a wunderkind. An attractive, fair-haired woman with piercing blue-green eyes, she was a champion baton twirler and equestrian as a child. At all of 16, she sold her prize-winning show horse to fund the opening of her own dance studio, which she ran while maintaining straight A's in high school. Ever since, she has worked as a dance teacher/ acting coach specializing in a young clientele.
Tracy says her parents indulged her dreams and talents, and everything worked out for the best. Who is she to stand in the way of her children wanting to do the same? "When I see that my kids have an ability for something and they enjoy it, my job as a parent is to notice it and maybe bring it to completion," she says.
Early in their lives, she signed the boys up for classes at the Houston Ballet Academy. Evan gave it up after showing his parents he could do it. "He did one performance, and when he came off the stage he was like, 'Okay, I can do this. I'm done,' " says Tracy. "He was really good at it. I thought I had a little tap dancer on my hands, and I think that rhythm shows in his drumming. But he wasn't interested." Derek, on the other hand, performed scores of Nutcrackers at the Wortham Center. Punk Daddy says it prepared him for his rock career. "By the time he jumped on stage with Pure Rubbish, he had forgotten how to freak out from stage fright."
Ballet, basketball and karate all went out the window one day in 1994, when the boys were ten and eight. Punk Daddy walked in the door of their Spring Branch home from another day's work at Rockin' Robin, and according to his telling of it, the boys greeted him by saying, "Daddy, we were born to rock." It sounds like that 1980s Twisted Sister video -- the one where the square father (played by the actor who was John Belushi's nemesis in Animal House) berates his son at length and closes his tirade by asking, "Just what are you gonna do with your life?" The kid says, "I wanna rock!" and blasts out a power chord that sends his father flying against the wall. Punk Daddy agrees. "Except I did the opposite of Niedermeyer. I was like, 'Great, let's do it.' "
He's concerned about the perception that he force-fed the boys the gospel of rock and discouraged them from developing other interests. "A lot of people are under the misconception that my kids are trained monkeys," he says. "I've been in this stuff for 25 years, and it's not nice. If my kids found something better to do, I would have been behind 'em." People who saw how fast the boys were progressing with their music assumed that Punk Daddy had been drilling it into them for a long time. "The truth of the matter is they had already listened to all this music and they had this giant foundation under them when they decided to learn how to play," he says. "A lot of the garage rock bands out there today are pretty good, and I'm not saying Pure Rubbish is better, but those other bands don't have the '70s base that the kids have," he says.
It was the boys' desire and burgeoning talent that won over his misgivings, he says. And once he was convinced, Punk Daddy had a lot to offer them. "You spend two decades in a business and fall on your face enough times and you learn what not to do," he says. "You may not still know what to do, but you know what not to do."
He's being too modest. The Dunivan brothers certainly had the talent, but Punk Daddy put them in the right place at the right time for some magic rock moments that most screenwriters would reject as clichéd.
we begin with the First Jam, where the boys sat in with punk demigod Cheetah Chrome of the seminal Cleveland band the Dead Boys. Punk Daddy was a friend of Chrome's, and when Chrome found himself drifting in Houston for a few months, the elder Dunivan would occasionally have him over for dinner. One night the boys jammed with Chrome on a cover of the Ramones classic "Blitzkrieg Bop."
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