Rock 'n' roll rebels don't always have to rage against their parents. Sometimes they can embrace them. Take the story of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club singer/bassist Robert Levon Been for example.
On Thursday at Slim's in San Francisco and Friday at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Been will stand in for his late father, Michael Been, fronting The Call, the Santa Cruz, Calif. band known for the '80s hits "The Walls Came Down" and "Let the Day Begin."
On August 19, 2010, the elder Been died tragically of a heart attack at the age of 60 at the Pukkelpop festival in Hasselt, Belgium, while working as a soundman for BRMC. And now his son will pay his father the ultimate tribute by joining The Call's surviving members to play a few shows and record a live album/DVD.
This is a 180 for the younger Been. For the release of the BRMC's first two albums – 2001's self-titled effort and 2003's Take Them On, On Your Own – he used the pseudonym Robert Turner in an attempt to distance himself from his father. "One of the reasons I developed my own style in the beginning is because I was fighting against being my father," he recently told the SFGate. "No one has actually called me out on that. I was always fighting against his thing. You push as hard as you can against. I wouldn’t have thought I could do it at all. But I can do that if I have to."
Yet, Robert was able to put that aside, and Michael joined BRMC on tour in 2003 as the band's sound engineer. "There were so many great years we had that a lot of families don't get to spend together," Robert added. "I really value that now."
Aside from joining The Call for the live dates, Robert Been is also taking his father's music to a new generation. BRMC covers The Call's "Let The Day Begin" on their recently released album, Specter At The Feast.
Michael Been, wherever he is, would be proud.