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Daddy is a Rock Star: Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir


Being the son or daughter of a cultural icon can certainly have its positive and negative effects growing up. But how much does the entertainment industry interfere with a parent’s role? In today’s world, rock stars find new outlets to bond with their sons and daughters. This week’s “Daddy is a Rock Star” features Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir.

By Todd McFliker

Bob WeirToo often, the sons and daughters of rock royalty pay the price for growing up with cultural icons.  Julian Lennon was raised without a dad around.  And one of Jerry Garcia’s four sensible daughters told the San Francisco Examiner that her atypical father wasn’t one to offer parenting advice.  Then there are the prodigal sons who embrace the spotlight of their fathers’ legacies, celebrities like Ziggy Marley, Jacob Dylan and Jason Bonham.  Superstar entertainers like Gene Simmons, Ozzy and Bono, who forgot his wife’s birthday one year, are just normal fathers experiencing the ups and downs of marriage and fatherhood.  There are lessons to be learned when Daddy is a Rock Star.

In the Sixties, kids went to rock concerts to rebel from parents and society.  Today, family members of all ages are regularly seen bonding as they share the concert experience together.  The eclectic Grateful Dead from San Francisco put on the best festivals.  Decades ago, their lengthy performances spoke to the younger generation with psychedelic jams at peace-loving festivals.

Bob Weir, one of the founding members of the Dead, lived the single life during his time with the band.  A long-time girlfriend, Frankie Hart, served as inspiration for his best-known number, “Sugar Magnolia.”  In 1999, Weir married Natascha Muenter and they had two daughters, Shala and Chloe.  Interestingly, Natascha’s younger sister Leilani Munter races cars in the NASCAR circuit.

Imagine if you could sign on to the web and instantly watch Jimi Hendrix writing “Voodoo Chile” or Jimmy Page penning “Ramble On.”  Dead Heads can certainly appreciate the 62-year-old Weir and his daughter’s new way to bond; writing a song together and posting it on YouTube for millions to view.

We can watch Weir working as he lounges out on the couch at home with his daughter.  The two and a half minute New Tune video, “Big Bad Blues” was posted August 21st on Weir’s Facebook page.  With his daughter working the camera, we get to watch the bearded dad perform the first couple verses of the new tune he’s working on.  He sings about the blues in his life and seeking a place where he feels he belongs.  As of today, the post has 990 comments from mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who love the song.  Music fans truly appreciate the father-daughter bonding online.

It’s no secret that much of what men learn about fatherhood comes from their own fathers.  That’s why it’s imperative for dads to communicate with their sons and teach them by example.  Men should connect with love and appreciation for their children, working creatively as a team to find new and exciting ways to bond through meaningful, shared experiences.

“Pop icons set examples for not only their millions of fans around the world, but for their children at home as well,” says Rachel Schindler at PAIRS Foundation, a South Florida nonprofit that provides relationship skills training to strengthen marriages and families.

Check back with next week to learn about Jason Bonham.  The son of the mighty Led Zeppelin drummer, John, fills his father’s shoes onstage with the other band members, and is currently touring the States with ‘The Music of Led Zeppelin.’  There are certainly perks when Daddy is a Rock Star.

A newlywed, Todd McFliker is an award-winning reporter, photographer, and the author of All You Need is Love to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. He earned his Masters in Communication from Lynn University.

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