The home life of rock stars, then and now

The Times magazine has a piece this week by Clay Tarver about his life as a dad after his years playing guitar in two obscure bands, Bullet LaVolta and Chavez, that reminds me of the remarkable series of photos John Olson took for Life magazine in the 1970s of rock stars and their parents.  It is a revelation to see an impossibly young Eric Clapton with his grandmother in a flat that practically suffocates with its banal, frilly decoration.  Or an intense-looking Frank Zappa with his gentler than to be expected parents.  Or a campy, laughing Elton John as his bemused mum and stepfather look on.  Or the Cream/Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker basking in a mother’s love, poor dental hygiene notwithstanding.  As The Sopranos showed in another context, everyone is someone’s child and there’s just no way to make diaper changing glamorous.

Click here to see John Olson’s full series on the Life website.

Or click here to see my visit to the legendary New York rock residence Chelsea Hotel just days before it closed its doors.  Or here for my front row photographs from LCD Soundystem’s last-ever show, at Madison Square Garden in April.


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