People

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Archive

Rock on

Posted on

By now rock fans are used to what might be called generational déjà vu. What with press-shy Dylan high on the charts, Lennon gigging with Yoko, and a Starkey guest-drumming for The Who, it almost seems as if rock’s golden era has returned. Of course that’s Jakob Dylan, not Bob, ruling MTV, Sean Lennon performing with Mother Ono (half brother Julian is wrapping up his first album in six years), and Ringo’s son Zak is the Starkey keeping the beat on “My Generation.” Dweezil Zappa, Carnie and Wendy Wilson, Ziggy Marley, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (Rick’s twin boys have gone country) and Donovan Leitch the younger have also made names for themselves. But there’s a whole flock of new rockers in the wings. PEOPLE previews some upcoming talents in rock and roll’s second generation.

Shana Morrison

Like other children of famous rockers, Shana Morrison is used to questions about her dad. Two fans approached her recently as she and her band Caledonia (after her middle name) took a break at a San Francisco club. “We love your father,” they told her. “We want to be able to tell people we met Jim Morrison’s daughter.” She didn’t have the heart to tell them that she was no relation to the late flashy front man for the Doors. Nope, her dad, says Shana, 27, has always been “a kind of normal guy who lived a down-to-earth, mellow existence”—balladeer Van Morrison. Though he and Shana’s mom, Janet Minto, split in 1973, Shana spent lots of quality time with Van while growing up in Marin County, Calif. “We would go for hikes or to a movie,” she says, “or just talk and play records.”

Shana has performed informally in public since the time she sang “Jingle Bells” in kindergarten. But instead of pursuing a music career, she earned a business degree from Pepperdine University in 1993. So she was pleased when Dad invited her to sing backup on tour that year. She liked the life and now, on her own, plays Bay Area gigs while shopping a demo to record labels. As for fans who say, “I really love your father’s music,” she has a ready reply: “So do I.”

Chris Stills

When Christopher Stills announced his intention to go into the family business, he got more fatherly advice than he bargained for. “I told him to grow eyes in the back of his head, put a chain-link fence over his wallet and watch out for all the sycophants,” Stephen Stills says with a grin. “I also told him to have fun.”

So far the fun has been mostly deferred. Chris, 23, singer and guitarist for his band Mescalito, spent seven weeks in a Hollywood studio recording his fall debut album, The 100 Year Thing (Atlantic). “By the end, I was a wreck,” he says. The son of Stills, 52, and French chanteuse Veronique Sanson, Chris spent many of his early years exploring stadiums during his father’s tours with Crosby, Stills & Nash. When his folks divorced in 1978, he lived in Paris with his mom, learning to play guitar, drums and piano. After graduating from the American School of Paris in 1993, he moved to L.A. and worked as a roadie for CS&N. While Chris has high hopes for The 100 Year Thing, his dad has yet to decipher the title. “But I’m not supposed to,” he points out. “I’m not the audience; I’m the dad.”

Adam Cohen

Adam Cohen was 18 in 1990 when a car accident in the West Indies left the then-aspiring musician clinging to life with nine broken ribs and a fractured spine. His father, folk icon Leonard Cohen, had his son flown to a hospital in Montreal, where he kept vigil by Adam’s bed throughout his yearlong convalescence. “My dad brought his own life to a halt,” says Adam, who had gone through long periods before the accident when he didn’t see his father. “I was so grateful.”

They have remained close. Leonard, 63, divides his time between a Buddhist monastery and an L.A. flat near his son and his daughter Lorca, 22. (Both were raised in Europe by Leonard’s onetime love, New York artist Suzanne Elrod.) Leonard sings high praise for Adam’s music. “It is not casually tossed,” the balladeer says of his son’s tentatively titled debut album, Cry Ophelia (Columbia). “This is a man doing serious work. That touches me.” And Adam sounds more and more existential, like his dad. “That youthful feeling of invincibility and immortality is gone,” he says of the accident’s aftermath. “I’m a twig in the universe.”

Tim & Dash Hutton

Teen rockers Tim and Dash Hutton can’t say they haven’t been warned. “I’ve given them the whole lecture,” says their dad, Danny Hutton, 54, a Three Dog Night alumnus. “It’s so hard to have a hit. The odds are incredible.” But the boys, whose band the Optics plays teen clubs in L.A., are resolved to make a life of music. With Tim, 14, writing songs and playing bass, and Dash, 12, on drums, the group has recorded eight demo tapes in hopes of wooing a label. “The lyrics are all by accident,” says Tim. “Like for ‘Trojan Man’: I had writer’s block, and I opened a copy of Rolling Stone and there was a condom ad.” “I’m sure that’s how [Bob] Dylan gets ideas, too,” jokes Danny, who, along with wife Laurie, makes sure that homework gets done between band practices, which take place in their Hollywood home. While half brother Ty Smith, 21, may sit in, practices are off-limits to Dad. “They’ll let me roadie for them,” says Danny, “but I’m not allowed in the room.”

Jason Bonham

When Jason Bonham first met Zak Starkey, the two boys, who were vacationing with their families in the South of France, knew little more than each other’s first names. But they quickly found a common bond. “I told him I was a drummer,” recalls Bonham, 31, the son of Led Zeppelin’s late John “Bonzo” Bonham. “He said, I’m a drummer, too.’ Then one of us said, ‘My dad’s a drummer.’ And the other said, ‘My dad’s a drummer, too.’ ”

Just 14 when his father died of complications from alcoholism in 1980, Bonham celebrates his dad’s legacy on his Jason Bonham Band’s album In the Name of My Father (MJJ), a collection of 10 Led Zeppelin covers. “Even though he toured a lot, I was very close to him,” says Jason, who now lives in England with his wife Jan, 32, a volunteer nurse, and their two children, Jaz, 4, and Jager, 9 months. Bonham recalls learning to play the drums at age “4 or 5, when my dad would wake me up at 2 in the morning to play for his friends—people like Paul McCartney.” Bonham especially misses his father “now that I have kids. He would have doted over his grandkids.”

Teddy Richards

When Teddy Richards saw his name in lights, it was a nightmare come true. “On the marquee in great big letters,” he recalls of a gig in Port Clinton, Ohio, “it said Tonight Aretha Franklin’s Son. And in little tiny letters it said Teddy Richards.” Proud as he is to be the son of the Queen of Soul, Richards, 34, finds it hard to win R-e-s-p-e-c-t on his own. “I came in with this loud alternative thing,” says Richards, who plays guitar in his mom’s band but leads his own rock outfit, “and it scared the hell out of people.” Richards, who recently opened a gig in Los Angeles for INXS, has fronted bands since his days at Michigan State University, from which he graduated in 1986. Born in Highland Park, Mich., he lived with his father, Theodore Richard White Sr., 65, Aretha’s former manager, after his parents split in the early ’70s. (He adopted his stage name in 1985.) Richards was 8 when Aretha gave him his first guitar. “He picked it right up and played it,” she says. “He has a natural gift.” He also has Mom’s support. “She’s proud of what I’m doing,” he says, “and proud that I’m not tugging on her skirt.”