Glamorous Youth

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

Later, Derek says the Stone writer didn't tell the half of what they got up to. "He could have just toasted us," he grins. "Thank God he left the really bad stuff out. My mind was just gone by that point of the tour." It's hard to know if he's just entertaining himself or not. One suspects not.

Punk Daddy's Montrose garage apartment, where he moved after his separation from Tracy last year, is a sacred shrine of the rock religion if ever there was one. The walls are covered in its icons: Led Zeppelin, Iggy Pop, AC/DC and Aerosmith posters clipped out of tattered copies of Circus magazine, piles of which litter the floor. Johnny Thunders's New York Times obit is tacked up near a picture of the enormously busty Samantha Fox in a Union Jack one-piece bathing suit. The apartment is crammed with the sacred texts of rock, with books about music spilling off the shelves. Then there's his bedroom, in which he keeps his holy of rock holies: approximately 5,000 immaculate LPs stacked neatly face-forward in record store-style bins.

And there on the couch are his rock masterpieces, his two sons. Evan, with his curly dark hair, looks a bit like Darlene's boyfriend David from the TV show Roseanne. Since the band's last publicity photo, Derek has let his bleach-blond short hair grow out and back into its natural color. The rest of the band is there, too: Mike McWilliams and Jarrett Gardner, whose beard, middle-parted long hair and bloodied forehead (he had been in a car wreck the night before)

Le monde at their feet: Pure Rubbish's Mike McWilliams at the Stade de France.
Courtesy Willie Dunivan
Le monde at their feet: Pure Rubbish's Mike McWilliams at the Stade de France.
The boys got their goals from their dad but their hearts from their mom, Tracy Dunivan.
Jeff Fitlow
The boys got their goals from their dad but their hearts from their mom, Tracy Dunivan.

make him look eerily like Jesus shortly after the crown of thorns was removed.

Soon our interview lapses into a rock theology debate: Beatles vs. Stones. "That was the only important band we've ever disagreed on," Punk Daddy says. "They had to grow up a little bit before they liked the Beatles. And I understand, because we're a Stones household, man."

And the Stones are fated to win this argument, which is put forth as a question of pure theory. The Beatles don't have a chance with the Dunivan brothers or their friends. As if to prove it, there's a pile of the just-released, newly remastered Stones records on the coffee table next to the stereo.

"Where would the Beatles have been if they didn't have George Martin?" Punk Daddy asks rhetorically. "If they had Andrew Loog Oldham producing them, they probably wouldn't have been as good as the Stones."

"And they were all scumbags, and we love scumbags," puts in Evan.

"Yeah, we love scumbags," smiles Derek.

"Think of all the scumbags we love," continues Punk Daddy. "Aerosmith, New York Dolls, GNR. Then there's the Beatles -- closet scumbags." He's right. It's a little-known fact that Paul McCartney turned Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on to pot, not the reverse.

In the grand scheme of rock, Pure Rubbish has always been a grind-it-out, keep-it-simple-n-sleazy, Stones-type band. "Trash rock," Punk Daddy used to call them.

But lately that's been changing. Derek is into texture now, and Evan is reading a coffee-table book about the Beatles.

The old three-chords-and-a-cloud-of-dust approach that charmed everybody from Lemmy to Sharon Osbourne is evolving, for better or worse.

Derek sees it as progress. Those who want to sell their records don't.

Today the boys' interests are all over the map. "When I come home I never know if I'm going to be hearing Bach or the Beatles," Tracy says. "Derek is very, very into piano right now. As a parent I can say this -- he won't tell you this -- but because of his age, Derek has mastered probably everything he can in his life on guitar. He hasn't yet experienced some of the emotional motivations that will make him go to a different place on the guitar. He is very challenged and intrigued by the piano now, and so is Evan. And now Evan is becoming an amazing guitarist. And they are both doing great things on piano. If being very, very good at your instrument makes you go to something else, then I'm all for it. It keeps music alive and not boring for them."

But what about everyone else? "A lot of people are scared that their music is changing in a negative way," she says. "But we just tell them it's a fact of life. It's a change and it's for the best. What's rock in it is gonna rock you even more. And you think if AC/DC comes on the car radio, they still don't turn it up full blast?"

Still, you get the impression Tracy wouldn't lose any sleep if the boys decided that being touring musicians wasn't the life for them after all. She's been on two too many Ozzfests to want that for her boys. "I could see Derek scoring films someday," she says. "And I could see Evan owning his own label and production company. He has a wonderful business head. I love hearing him talk to their management."

It's just the sort of dream you'd expect from a loving mother, but it's a Pure Rubbish producer's nightmare.

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