Papa was a rolling stone
Rock stars' kids - they've got instant fame and cool credentials. Are they grateful? Not a bit of it, says Cayte Williams
Sunday 30 August 1998
These happy showbiz couples might be glowing at the prospect of issue, but what do their privileged little embryos have to look forward to? Going by the past antics of rock stars' children, not much. In spite of privileges and opportunities that most people would kill for, they've all turned into annoying moaning minnies.
Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards could have been dream parents. Drugs on tap, pocket money that would keep Monaco afloat, staying up all night to watch telly - they were the Sixties baby's dream mum and dad. At one time Anita was one of the most beautiful women in the world, even upstaging the Vadim-made Jane Fonda in Barbarella. Keith made fags and booze glamorous and was always the least cringe-inducing Stone.
So what did their children do? Pallenberg's boy, Marlon (named after Brando) is a graphic designer in New York, while Dandelion (who pathetically changed her name to Angela) was brought up by Keith's parents in a modest semi-detached in Kent - and didn't make a fuss! She later went to work in a stable and got married earlier this month to a carpenter called Dominic. Angela is said to be "practically teetotal", while Marlon, who had his first cigarette when he was 18, has been known to describe his mother's past antics as "embarrassing." How ungrateful can you get?
And it's not just quiet kids who could get all ungrateful. Jade Jagger, daughter of Mick and Bianca, no doubt blames the king of pout and the queen of Studio 54 for all her woes. Jade has rarely avoided the camera's eye throughout her eventful life of drugs, expulsion from an expensive school and teenage motherhood.
At 26, she's had enough unearned, inherited money to dabble in any career she likes, to take off wherever and with whomever she fancies. She recently deserted her pounds 500,000 Notting Hill home (bought by daddy) for a modest cottage in Ibiza, taking her two children, Assisi and Amba, with her. Her careers as a painter, model and jewellery-maker have been usurped by a possible future in porn and her love affairs with scruffy artists have culminated with a relationship with Dan Macmillan, Harold Macmillan's great-grandson. No doubt, dad, who had a penchant for posh tarts in his youth, would approve of the blue blood if not the blue movies.
After years of being vaguely controversial (she was spotted squatting scruffily in a W11 doorway last year, with a little old lady offering her small change), Jade's gone for it big time. Rumour has it that she's fallen in with hot-to-shock clubbers Manumission, posing for explicit posters wearing nothing but a mask. As one of the organisers said, "If she wants to take part in a porn movie or the live sex shows that's up to her. Her dad wouldn't give a toss. Who's he, anyway, to moralise?" Which really is the point of being a rock star's child. Even if you do the most shocking, rebellious, utterly jaw-dropping thing, the likelihood is that your parents did it better twenty years before you.
Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Jagger has a hard act to follow. No doubt her mother Jerry Hall is already versing her darling child in the dos and don'ts of getting her man. After all, the Texan model once hired a helicopter to chase Mick around the Amazon when he was filming Fitzcarraldo. Elizabeth recently appeared with her mother on the Paris catwalk wearing a Thierry Mugler/Big Bird thing, and is already modelling for Vivienne Westwood. Just by looking at her un-formed, 14-year-old face, you just know she won't be in the same league as her mum. Chances are she'll be married off to a toff before you can say "polo", and then blame Jerry.
If there is one thing rock children do well, it's self-pity. In the super league of moaning minnies, Julian Lennon rules supreme. The man complains so much about his parentage, he should work for Barnardo's. Julian's problem is he's got the ambition of his father, but sadly lacks the talent or the looks to do anything with it. Most people would have given up by now and gone into charity work. Not Julian. He complains about being left by his father at five, about having childhood meetings with his father constantly postponed, and that he was just getting to know his father when he was killed (okay, we'll let him off that one). He also complains about how being the son of a pop god has left him cynical and tired.
"Being John Lennon's son has come close to destroying me," he blubbers. "I've been manipulated a lot, there's been a lack of respect towards me as an artist in my own right. I've always been promoted as "the son of". But what about me?"
Emma Townshend, daughter of The Who's Pete, is less of the "poor me" rock child, more of the "poor dad" type. Rather than feeling sorry for herself she transfers it on to her father. "He's never done an ordinary job in an ordinary office and been treated as an ordinary person," whines Emma. "That's quite a loss. He can't just go into a shop and listen to other people's conversations, he's never had a private glimpse into other people's worlds because he's been a rock star since he was 18."
Meanwhile, Bob Dylon's son Jakob is following in his father's footsteps (how masochistic can these rock children be?) He's managing quite nicely, picking up Grammys for his band, The Wallflowers. But it still doesn't stop him whingeing about his father's fans coming to shows and bellowing requests for the old man's songs.
Then there's the sanctimonious rock child, in the lovely shape of Liv Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith's Steve and supergroupie Bebe Buell. It can't be nice knowing that your mum has hopped into bed with Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page or that your dad looks like an extra from The Night of the Living Dead. This is especially difficult when you thought until the age of 11 that your dad was the comparatively healthy Todd Rundgren. "It was exciting," says Liv of her parental discovery. "I made him try on my beautiful grey stretch Helmut Lang suit, and he looked so cute in it." Is he a parent or a performing monkey? Come to think of it, she's a smart girl.
Liv has avoided the excesses of her father, who in his youth had cocaine lined up on the amplifiers to keep the show rolling. She doesn't drink, smoke or do anything bad to excess, and at every PR opportunity grabs her poor crumple-faced dad as if to say, "Look at the poor old bastard. Aren't I pretty?"
Still, there are those rock children to whom the phrase chin-up means more than "give us your best side". Paul and Linda McCartney are noted in famous circles for bringing up uncomplicated, chirpy kids (apart from Heather, who's the wierd offspring of the uberveggie's first marriage). All the baby Maccas shared a bedroom when they were little and they all went to a local comprehensive school.
In fact, Stella McCartney was so undaunted by her starry parents that she brought the naff pair to her Central St Martin's degree fashion show. Can you imagine the self-pitying rock child doing that? They would spend the entire three years wishing their dad was Yves Saint Laurent.
Who knows what lies in wait for Lourdes, daughter of Madonna, or Heavenly, daughter of Paula? But if the mums want an easy life, they'd better fit anti-self-pitying classes in between the baby gym and the power-learning. Or they'll be sorry.
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