"My Son Is the Lizard King, and I'm an Admiral": Successful Rock-Star Parents
Late Thursday, word came across the ticker that legendary comedian and TV star Soupy Sales had passed away at age 83. After a stint in the military and on radio, Sales went on to be one of the major pioneers of televised sketch and children's comedy. In 1965, he pulled a stunt where he asked his young viewers to go into their parents' wallets and purses and send him those "funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. Presidents" in exchange for a postcard from Puerto Rico. The stunt didn't gain him many fans with parents, but became a storied Sales bit that is still revered to this day. Sales and his first wife Barbara were only married for 19 years, but they had two boys, Hunt and Tony. The Sales brothers became famous in their own right as noted musical associates (read: sidemen) of Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Todd Rundgren. Hunt and Tony played drums and bass, respectively, on Pop's Lust For Life album, which contains not only the manic title track, but also "The Passenger." In the late '80s they formed Tin Machine with Bowie and guitarist Reeves Gabrels, releasing two moderately received albums and a live set together before Bowie and Gabrels moved into a more electronica milieu.
The 55-year-old Hunt now lives in Austin and is said to be doing session work around town. His personal MySpace profile can be found here , along with a link to his newish punky band, The Hunt Sales Memorial . His brother Tony is a noted session bassist around Los Angeles.
The Sales Brothers aren't the only musicians with unusual parentage. Pop music is awash with musicians who are the offspring of successful folks in their own right. Some were in music, while others were inventors and military people.
Mike Nesmith: The former Monkees member and songwriter comes from Liquid Paper money - his mother, Bette Nesmith Graham, formulated the white stuff while working as an executive secretary near Dallas. Nesmith was also born just down the MetroRail line from the Press at St. Joseph's Hospital.
Tina Weymouth: The Tom Tom Club and Talking Heads bassist grew up all over the world, as her father was a decorated naval officer.
Jim Morrison:The lead singer of the Doors had a volatile relationship with his father, Navy Rear Admiral Steve Morrison. Early on in his career, the singer and his family had a falling out over Morrison's path in life. The elder Morrison passed away in 2008. Joe Strummer: The punk icon and leader of The Clash was born in John Mellor and his father Ronald was a British diplomat based in Turkey and India. This colored the entire life of Strummer and the multi-culturism played a huge part in all the music he created. Colin Newman: The lead singer of post-punk band Wire had electricity running in his family very early on. His father Roy Newman supported the family as an electrician. Julian Casablancas: The scruffy band the Strokes don't exactly all come from the gritty backstreets of Manhattan. Julian's father is John Casablancas, the man who founded the Elite modeling agency. Sid Vicious: Even though he was pissy and grizzled punk rocker, the former John Ritchie was the namesake of his father, who was employed as a Buckingham Palace guard. Norah Jones: Many people forget that the Dallas-bred platinum-selling pianist is actually the daughter of sitar legend Ravi Shankar. Her father plays regularly with her half-sister Anoushka Shankar. Neil Young: The Canadian roots-rocker had a sportswriter for a father. Scott Young was a popular writer for papers across Canada and even wrote a few novels. Dez Cadena: Cadena's father Ozzie was a noted producer with influential jazz label Savoy Records. The younger Cadena was the third lead singer in Black Flag and now does time in the Danzig-less Misfits with Jerry Only. Jeff Ament: George Ament served as the mayor of Big Sandy, Montana, for 15 years, where his son and future Pearl Jam bassist Jeff was raised.
And lastly, we couldn't forget one of Rocks Off's patron saints, the Butthole Surfers' Gibby Haynes. His father Jerry is better known around Dallas as "Mr. Peppermint," the host of two children's television shows. Initially only a local celebrity, his shows were subsequently syndicated across the country. He retired in 1996 after 35 years in his trademark red-and-white outfit.
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