Glamorous Youth

Sharon Osbourne put the local kids of Pure Rubbish in front of millions on MTV. Then things fell apart.

Welcome to the Big Leagues, kids.

Even for a mother as well prepared for the task as Tracy Dunivan, raising two young rock stars hasn't been without its special problems. After their touring schedule picked up in 2000, the Dunivans had to pull their boys out of Awty International School and start homeschooling them.

Also, whenever a scandal brewed up among Derek and Evan's Houston contemporaries, the guilty teens often found it convenient to blame the Rubbish kids, the rock stars in their midst. "I've gotten phone calls from angry mothers saying my kids were having a beer party," Tracy says. "And I tell them, 'That's funny, because they're sitting on the couch right next to me.' "

Willie Dunivan (center) and the boys in the rock shrine that is his Montrose apartment.
Willie Dunivan (center) and the boys in the rock shrine that is his Montrose apartment.
How much mischief Rolling Stone accurately reported (or left out) depends on which Dunivan you ask.
How much mischief Rolling Stone accurately reported (or left out) depends on which Dunivan you ask.

Tracy had to handle a certain battle of wills with Sharon Osbourne as well. Was Sharon really interested in Pure Rubbish, or were the Dunivan brothers just going to be playtoys for her daughter Kelly? "When Kelly started singing, [Sharon] enjoyed the idea of the boys being right there to help Kelly out," says Tracy. "I'm not saying she was being selfish by any means, because she was getting the best band to help get Kelly off the ground…But they have to do what she signed them to do. And that's make records and get out there and tour."

Of course, Tracy and Sharon weren't always on different sides of the fence. After all, they have a lot in common: They're both unorthodox rock-and-roll moms who come in for lots of criticism about how they raise their kids. So far, much of Pure Rubbish's media attention has focused unfairly on Tracy. What kind of mother would let her boys tour with a band called Nashville Pussy, or on Ozzfest or -- heaven forbid -- with Motörhead? What kind of mother would allow her kids to be around all that bad behavior?

First, Tracy thinks it's unfair that the mother has to take those raps. "I don't know why the mom is always criticized," she says.

Second, she's a big believer in learning by experience, if not necessarily direct experience, then at a very close remove. "The best way to teach my children is to let them see it firsthand," she says. "You can preach and preach and preach, or you can make them learn by example. And there were always a lot of outside influences around them that were not setting good examples. The best I could do as a parent was let them see. 'See your hero over here. Look what happened to him.' Even local musicians -- you'd see them in the daytime and then you see them at night acting like idiots. Let them know what does it. When you witness something like that, when you feel that great disappointment, it teaches you everything."

According to the Rolling Stone article, Pure Rubbish had plenty of chances to be disappointed by sordidness on the last of their two Ozzfest tours. While the Stone scribe did make note of the fact that Pure Rubbish won over many metal fans with their pure, raw rock, music wasn't really the focus of the story. The writer was more interested in mischief. Pure Rubbish was the youngest band on the tour, and they were hanging out with some of rock and metal's most unsavory scumbags and the groupies who love them. In the story, Evan boasts about autographing a pair of nude breasts. Later, the band peruses a porno mag, and the article concludes with Evan getting busted by his mother in a mildly compromising position with a groupie.

"I thought it was pretty comedic," Punk Daddy says, laughing. "Evan getting shot down in flames by his mom…"

Still, like the rest of the family, Punk Daddy was miffed by the story's focus. "That guy followed the band around for three days and then wrote, like, a paragraph about the music. The rest of it was about their mother and her dealing with teenage kids doing what they would naturally do on a tour like that. And they didn't get in a bunch of trouble like they could have. It wasn't like they were hanging out on Hatebreed's bus or something," he says, referring to the menacing, party-hearty metalcore band from Connecticut. "It's not like they were doing a bunch of blow; they may have cadged a smoke or a beer or something, but nothing too bad."

Tracy is even more defensive about the boys. "I sent Rolling Stone an e-mail, because they requested my response," she says. "They didn't print it. I said we were under the impression that the article was going to be about a young band living out a dream through a great experience. And they did a little of that. The stuff about the music was wonderful. But a lot of it was just fabricated. The guy just assumed when Evan was going to catering with Mike that they were going out looking for girls. They may have told him that, playing and joking. But he wasn't with them long enough to know their personalities. Half of what they say they just do to entertain themselves."

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