Being a rockstar is glamorous from afar–the fame, the money, the ability to live your passion 24/7. It seems like a dream come true. Of course, we all know behind the scenes isn’t quite so dazzling–substance abuse and loneliness, for instance, are common struggles when dealing with the pressures of fame. Look at Amy Winehouse.
But here’s a new angle from which to consider the rock’n’roll lifestyle: what about the moms of rockstars? How do they actually feel about their children becoming famous? Was it hard for them to accept?
Well, now you don’t have to look too hard for answers, thanks to Virginia Grohl, mother of Nirvana/Foo Fighters rocker Dave Grohl, who just wrote a book called “From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars.”
In the book Grohl interviewed 18 mom of famous musicians, giving voice to the many women behind their famous children–women who often don’t have a light shine on their own voices. The stories, as detailed in a New York Post feature, are hilarious, funny, and illuminating.
For instance, Jewish mom Hester Diamond spoke about what it was like to watch her son Michael Diamond (Mike D of the Beastie Boys) rise to fame–it all started when he planed drums for his sixth grade production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Apparently, Diamond first saw her the Beastie Boys perform in Alphabet City, New York City–and Michael apparently told her to sit upstairs, because it was safer, explaining:
“When the music started, the floor below became a mosh pit, a tornadic mass of young, fearless lovers of chaos. From her safe perch, Hester was astonished to see the body-surfing and immediately realized ‘how crazy it was going to be.’ ”
Meanwhile, not all moms had an easy path to their kid’s success. For instance, Rush bassist/singer Geddy Lee’s mom Mary Weinrib, struggled with her son’s choice to pursue music. Why?
Weinrib was a Holocaust survivor. Because of that, she wanted her son to become a nice, stable doctor, which is not surprising for an immigrant who suffered an unthinkable tragedy–and only wanted her son to have a better life. This is why Weinrib tried to cut her teenage son’s long hair off in his sleep one night. Grohl wrote:
“But as she approached, scissors in hand, he woke up and she backed off. A bit ashamed and completely helpless, she declared, ‘OK, that’s it. I don’t care if he has hair to his knees.’”
Eventually, Weinrib not only accepted her son’s choices, but became a big support in his life. When Lee entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, he ironically mentioned his mother in his acceptance speech, stating: “Finally! My mother’s dream comes true. She has a doctor for a son.” Gotta love that humor.
You can find more anecdotes about the rock moms in the New York Post and in Grohl’s forthcoming book.