Teaching your kid to drive is tough enough. But some musician dads pass on their talents (and advice) to their kids, encouraging them to play an instrument, get on the mic, and make music a career. Some take it a step further and perform and/or record with their offspring. As Father’s Day approaches, let’s celebrate some great musical collaborations between fathers and their kids.
Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen (Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Edward Van Halen/Wolfgang Van Halen:
The only son of guitar god Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli, Wolfgang seemed destined to follow in dad’s shoes early on. Named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, he also lends his name to his dad’s line of custom Peavey Guitars. On Van Halen’s 2004 tour, Wolfie would occasionally join his father onstage. And in 2006, Eddie announced that Michael Anthony was no longer in the band, and that his son was the new bass player. Although fans initially reacted with skepticism, the youngest Van Halen seems to have won over audiences. Van Halen’s first album with Wolfgang, A Different Kind Of Truth, entered the charts at #2 earlier this year.
James and Paul McCartney (Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Paul McCartney/James McCartney:
Paul McCartney’s son James made his music-making debut playing on dad’s 1997 Flaming Pie album. In 2001, he played on Sir Paul’s Driving Rain. He also played on his mom’s posthumously released Wide Prairie. These days, James is making records under his own name, with two EPs out: 2010’s Available Light and 2011’s Close At Hand. In a recent interview with the BBC, James floated the idea of forming a band with the children of the other Beatles, but later said on his Facebook page that he was simply thinking out loud.
Amy Helm, daughter of Levon (drummer/singer/mandolin player for The Band) is a member of roots rock group Ollabelle. But she also played with her dad at his many Midnight Rambles at his home in Woodstock, New York, and on his tours. The elder Helm passed away earlier this year, but his daughter will no doubt keep the family name alive in her music.
(Photo Credit: Def Jam)
Ghostface Killah/Sun God:
Even “killahs” love their kids. Wu-Tang Clan standout Ghostface Killah has his own collective on the side, called Theodore Unit, which includes his son (along with Trife da God and frequent Wu-Tang affiliate Cappadonna). Son God debuted on Ghostface & Trife’s 2005 collaboration Put It On The Line. In the years since, he has appeared on dad’s records Fishscale (2006), More Fish (2006), The Big Doe Rehab (2007) and 2010’s Wu-Massacre album (which featured Ghostface with Wu-Tang’s Method Man and Raekwon).
Like father, like son: both Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey are drummers, although Zak’s style is more akin to Ringo’s late friend Keith Moon’s. Zak and his dad first played together on the Little Steven-organized “Sun City” record in 1985. After playing with Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith, Zak returned to his dad’s side to play in his “All-Starr Bands” in 1992 and 1995. In ’95, the band included The Who’s John Entwistle, who was so impressed with Zak that he helped to get him the drum position in the reunited Who.