Famous Musician’s Ancestors – An Origin Anthology Series

© Harumi Hosono, 1975

By Angus C. Rolland

Celebrate the graft of artists, we most certainly do. Cite their works and unique tendencies, tis commonplace an occurrence. Admiration that strays too much into idolatry, a sensation worrisome. Yet… yet, what of their forefathers? For without them, they would cease to exist as tangible entities. Envision HBO having cash to burn and artistic autonomy to boot:

Episode 1 – Haruomi Hosono’s Grandfather

Remember that ship that hit some ice a while ago? Well, the above titled musician’s dad’s dad just so happened to be on it, and survived… The implication? ‘Woman-and-Children First’ cascading into that whole Bushido Code of Honour thing prevalent in Japan at the time sadly washed the relief of survival into a bitter aftertaste you could call a societal shunning… for ol’ Hosono. Think of the dramatic possibilities artistic license could bring to the screenplay, along with potential diary entries and/or other note-worthies helpful for cinematic research?  The final frame/promotional artwork you say? Tropical Dandy’s album cover…

Episode 2 – Roger Waters’ Father

Most of us familiar with the Post-Barrett era of Pink Floyd are likely aware of the dead daddy lamenting; be it the Final Cut, Corporal Clegg or that Alan Parker movie. Yet, how many big budget motion pictures (HBO Series’ in this case) have bothered to cover the pivotal Anzio Bridgehead, crucial in forcing the Germans to retreat to yet another defensive line in that elongated country known to most as Italy, back in 44? Not sure, but I blame Mark Clark.

Episode 3 – Hans-Joachim Roedelius’ Youth

Well, the subject’s childhood/adolescence/early adulthood (etc) isn’t actually an ancestor like the other examples, but in a way… since it was so long before his music career started you could interpret it that way, like that Manchurian notion of considering one’s time in the womb also being a part of your lifespan or something. I dunno know. Just think about what quantity of people you (*yourself)have actually met who’ve had a spell in child-acting, (forced) membership in the Hitlerjugend, perilous back-and-forth(ing) the Iron Curtain with the odd stint in a Stasi jail, cooked up cuisine for a Corsican nudist camp, formed a pioneering electronic outfit (duo*) and then topped it off with a collaborative album or 2 with that Brian Eno?

Episode 4 – Kevin Ayers’ Father

Just imagine, you’re a BBC Controller that commissioned one of Britain’s most definitive examples of music television (emphasis on live), far outstripping rival formats content in their measly lip-syncing. Yes, I’m referring to the Old Grey Whistle Test. Envision the concern one would feel seeing your own son appearing on it, using a (faux) duck quack as percussion? Would the whispers of nepotism ring the halls? Or would one simply ease into the fact that stated son (see title) was immensely talented and deserved all the airtime he could get his hands on. Maybe a few brief flashes to his Stepfather too, and the dealings entailing that of a colonial official in what would have been known then as (and still is) Malaya.

Episode 5 – Jim Morrison’s Father

The high seas… the high seas near that perennial scourge known as Communism, specifically off the coast of Indochina… You’re in command of your ship and the Gulf of Tonking Incident occurs… all hell breaks loose when the draft comes in and young Americans by the many hundreds of thousands descend upon a country tainted utterly by Capitalism, and one that is in no way a democracy (*cough* South Vietnam *cough*)… Then you see your son wearing leather trousers on Ed Sullivan, and you ponder what was it all for?

Episode 6 – Stewart Copeland’s Father

Aye, another father (sighs)… In addition to drumming with a band sharing a name with the third word of an esteemed NWA song, project an image (*in your head) of a son (above*) finding out his dad is not only a CIA agent, but also an authority on the political intrigue engulfing Egypt in the aftermath of Gamal Nasser’s abrupt demise. Pretty cool, huh? What developments and upheavals he would have witnessed as General Sadat deviated from Nasser’s Socialist tenets and moved to further antagonise the very Muslim Brotherhood that later riddled him with bullets just about a decade after, courtesy of a peace deal with the Israelites that in turn facilitated their withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. Could Copeland Senior have foreseen Anwar’s murder? Does a life in espionage make one’s offspring partake in the music industry? Either way, it would probably suffice as a good chorological closer for this (yet still) hypothetical television series.

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