Let's celebrate Mother's Day with the coolest mums in Rock'n'Roll!
Mothers, eh? Yes, it's true that mums can be a pain in the backside sometimes - after all, they can be the ones telling you not to stay late when you're a teen going to gigs, or the ones telling you to get a "proper job" rather than being a musician!
But you know how it goes: can't live with them, but you wouldn't be alive in the first place without them! So let's celebrate our mothers, with a reminder that mums can be totally rock'n'roll, too, with our list of the coolest mums in rock!
1) Kim Gordon: The Cool Indie Mum
As 1/3 of Sonic Youth's creative core, Kim was as important to the band as (now ex-) hubby Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, promoting feminist "grrrl power" before it was fashionable, in the early Eighties, by singing lyrics such as "support the power of women" while playing her Gibson Thunderbird bass or Fender Jazzmaster guitar. Even after giving birth to daughter Coco, she carried on touring around the world, besides being a visual artist as well as fashion designer (with her super-hip label X-Girl). And she's still rockin' out today, with her Body Head band, and published a well-received memoir, Girl In A Band, in 2015. She's also acted in films and presented the last Turner Prize award on Channel 4.
When your mum is an indie rock icon who hangs out with the good and big of the art world, and who plays festivals such as Lollapalooza, you may risk feeling bitter, and worry you'll never be as cool as your parents! But her daughter Coco learned well, and was even invited to play bass for mum Kim on an episode of TV series Gilmore Girls. Now, that's one cool mother...
2) Yoko Ono: The Arty Mum
Just imagine : your mum was a conceptual artist, married to a Beatle, and released an experimental album with her and your dad naked on the cover, before you were born. There's no chance Sean Lennon would be anything other than an artist. In fact, you get the impression here's a mum who'd be deeply disappointed if her son had decided to become a successful lawyer or doctor!
And how many 80-year-old mums do you know who tour the world promoting peace, showcasing avant-garde artwork and even sharing the stage with Wu Tang Clan's RZA? If that's not cool, we don't know what is!
3) Patti Smith: the Punk Rock Poet Mum
Patti Smith made perhaps an unlikely, but great, mum! Few would have imagined, back in 1975, when she first emerged as a tomboy-ish, fiery New York City punk poet who loved nothing more than William Blake, Brian Jones and Fender Guitars, that one day she could become so... "mumsy"! But in 1980, after she married MC5's guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith, Patti decided to stop touring and raise a family in Detroit. She only released one album in the Eighties, 'Dream of Life', which included a song she wrote for her son, 'The Jackson Song'.
When her husband died in 1994, grieving Patti, in full-on "mother courage" mode, decided to move back to New York and become a full-time recording and touring artist again - among other reasons, to provide for her family. She's not stopped since, collaborating with everyone from R.E.M. to Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, supporting worthy causes, playing major music festivals, performing poetry and publishing her 'Just Kids' autobiography - which is set to become a Hollywood film. All the while, she kept close to her son Jackson who, once old enough, joined her band as guitarist!
Today, the older, wiser Patti Smith - who's still making records & playing gigs - gives truly motherly advice for aspiring young artists, and remains an inspirational figure:
4) Chrissy Hynde: the Rock'n'Roll Rebel Mum
The Pretenders' Chrissy Hynde is a cool, Telecaster-yielding mum! She used to hang out with the first wave of British punk rockers, such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash, before herself becoming an even bigger star with The Pretenders. Since then, she's been married to Ray Davies of The Kinks, then Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, had a string of hits, became an outspoken defender of animal rights, anti-fur campaigner and even opened a chain of vegan restaurants. Hynde also follows a branch of Hinduism and, lest we forget, appeared on an episode of Friends.
With a mother like this, it's no wonder daughter Natalie turned out a rebel, being arrested for protesting against the felling of trees to make way for a road, and for disrupting an exploratory fracking site. You get the impression Chrissy Hynde is a mum who would not only be proud of her daughter getting arrested for a good cause, but probably wishes she had been there too, to be arrested with her offspring!
5) Courtney Love: The Troublemaker Mum
Yes. Courtney Love. This might be a controversial decision... is she / was she a good mum? Well, the jury's still out! Her troubled relationship with daughter Frances Bean Cobain started, well, "in utero", with rumours that she was taking heroin while pregnant. Fortunately, Frances turned out to be a healthy girl, though in 2009, it was reported that a judge had issued a temporary restraining order, prohibiting Love from having any direct or indirect contact with her daughter.
It's fair to say that this mother-daughter relationship is fraught with trouble, but there's no denying that Courtney Love is one heck of a cool mother! Hole singer! Troublemaker! Hollywood actress! And there' also this simple, undeniable truth: when your mother is the hellraiser in the family, you pretty much know whatever you do will be OK in comparison... and how cool is THAT!?
Is YOUR mum a "Rock'n'Roll Mum", too? Add a comment to share your stories, and celebrate your mother!