How the Misfits (and Rock and Roll) Became a Father/Son Business

In most industries, joining mom or dad in the family business is expected. Doing so is a rite of passage and a well-worn tradition. But when the family business is rock & roll expectations go out the window. A lot of artists may go into their parents' trade — think Jakob Dylan or Jeff Buckley – but historically, few have actually joined the family band.

That's starting to change, as a recent trend finds the sons and daughters of rock stars joining the same band as their famous parents. Take The Misfits, for example, who play West Palm Beach this week. The long-running horror punk act has included bassist and singer Jerry Only since 1977, but now also features his son Jerry Only II on guitar. That's right, the band features two guys called Jerry Only. And this isn't the only family connection in the band. Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, the younger brother of the elder Only, was the band's guitarist on and off for a decade.

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and his drummer son Spencer, released Sukierae in 2014, which was recorded while Spencer was still in high school.

“Some people just find it hard to believe that I can have fun on tour with people that are older than me," Spencer told Interview magazine, “but I've always related to adults. And I think kids are stupid.”

Wolfgang Van Halen joined his dad and uncle's band on bass in 2007 when Michael Anthony was, um, disinvited from the band. He did his first world tour at age 16. But Eddie's offspring said joining the family band just made sense since he'd grown up hanging around at Van Halen rehearsals.

“I would just sit on the floor and watch the band play,” he told Guitar World in 2012. “Whenever I had the chance I would always try to sit on my uncle Al's drum kit and bang away.”

Jason Bonham, son of John, filled in for dad on the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion. Daxx Neilsen, son of Rick, has been the drummer for Cheap Trick for the past few years. Casey Waits plays with his dad Tom. And Zyon Cavelera plays drums with dad Max in the metal band Soulfly.

But perhaps Lukas Nelson, who grew up on the road with his dad Willie and joined his band as a teenager, sums up why this trend has become more commonplace. "I started playing in order to get closer to (my father),” he told Esquire. “I wanted something that I could relate to him with because he was gone all the time.”

There are worse ways to get close to your old man than picking up a guitar.

The Misfits. 8 p.m. Saturday, August 29. Respectable Street Block Party, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Free. Call 561-832-9999 or visit
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Dave Lake