Middle-Aged Indie Rockers We Wish Had Been Our Parents


Many kids dream of growing up as someone else — in a royal family, on a distant planet, or as a movie star. But such aspirations don’t sound quite as fun in the long run as having amazing musicians for parents. By the time most rockers hit 40, they’ve calmed down enough to make a family and have years of experience to draw on for wisdom and guidance. And it’s not just any experience — the music industry often throws curve balls at its participants, and any parent who has had to contend with predatory label reps or getting their gear stolen on tour knows a thing or two more about overcoming obstacles than the average mom or dad does. Living in one of these seven artists’ households means a great record collection and a creative atmosphere to keep you company — even when you’re grounded.

James Murphy – LCD Soundsystem

Imagine if your dad told you that he got famous by bumming around for most of his life and then hitting it big at 35 writing songs about wasting his youth. LCD Soundsystem lyrics are full of candid observations about life’s unglamorous nature, so you’d be way ahead of your friends on being disillusioned early on. And Murphy probably wouldn’t care much if you threw a rager at your house over the weekend — just let him DJ and you can party as hard as you want.

John Darnielle- The Mountain Goats

If good parenting is being able to turn any situation into an opportunity for life lessons, then John Darnielle would be the best dad of all time. Go to a Mountain Goats show and you’ll hear at least five hilarious but instructive stories about things he’s learned over the years, from buying Ace Of Base cassette tapes on a road trip to talking himself out of suicide at seventeen. Plus he’s incredibly intelligent, well-read, and loves grindcore and boxing. He’d be the older dad you pretend embarrasses you but is really your best friend.

John Stanier – Battles/Helmet

Anyone who can switch between 7/4 and 11/8 time signatures while hitting a crash cymbal two feet above their head can probably hold it down as a kick-ass dad, too. Long arm reach and multitasking are both very important parenting skills, and that intensity will come in handy when he needs to give your high school boyfriend a serious talking-to. Just don’t come home with a bad grade in math — Stanier might think you’re not really his child.

Kathleen Hanna – Bikini Kill/Le Tigre

Your birthday presents would be musical instruments and awesome zines, and Hanna would have you devouring books and fighting the good fight from day one. This would probably be the kind of family that’s hard to rebel against — with one of riot grrrl’s luminaries for your mom and Ad-Rock from the Beastie Boys for your dad (the two married in 2006), you’d be outside the mainstream from day one. And no matter the hour, you’d definitely be allowed — and probably encouraged — to play your drum kit loud enough to wake the neighbors.

Kim Deal – Pixies/Breeders

She’s never put up with crap from anyone (remember why Pixies broke up in ’93?) so she might have a tough-love attitude as a mom. But from all available evidence she’s also one of the most exuberant and smart rock veterans out there, so the house would probably be just the right combination of nurturing and wacky. For some reason we suspect Deal would also make amazing cookies, so your friends would be over all the time. Having her as your mom means instantly being the coolest kid in school.

Neko Case – The New Pornographers

You’d be a lucky kid to have a mom who’s so thorough a bad ass. She’d teach you the important things, like how to take care of yourself and make unbelievably amazing music, and let you slide on stuff like swearing all the time. As a passionate animal rights activist she would definitely let you have a puppy, so long as you pick it from a shelter. But the coolest part? Imagine growing up with her singing your bedtime lullabies. Best childhood ever.

Wayne Coyne – The Flaming Lips

This upbringing certainly wouldn’t be for the faint of heart, but it would make for one unique life story. Coyne’s childlike excitement about everything would mean a lively household; and speaking of the house, you’d basically be living in a spaceship. He’d be one of those really involved parents that volunteers in the classroom and would teach all your schoolmates how to get in touch with their inner psych-rocker. You probably would get a late start on doing drugs, though — with such a bizarre family, who needs to get high?