Family Affairs: 10 Rock Bands That Feature Siblings
From brotherly love to sisterly squabbles and knock-down, drag-out fights, it’s not always an easy road for siblings who rock out together. For every Gallagher brother pissing contest, there’s a Peterson sister willing to lend a helping hand. Be it in the DNA or the unavoidable closeness of their upbringing, the bond between siblings can be strengthened or severed under the pressure. Either way, it’s led to some great music, even if there are plenty of battle scars along the way.
Of all the British bands to come out of the ’90s indie scene, none has encouraged the levels of devotion that Radiohead continually inspire. From its breakthrough 1992 single ‘Creep’ through the groundbreaking ‘OK Computer’ and ‘Kid A’ albums, the band has never stayed in one place for too long. Even though the focal point has long been singer Thom Yorke, the core behind him has always been brothers Jonny and Colin Greenwood (guitar and bass, respectively). For more than 20 years, they’ve kept Radiohead’s music flowing in various directions, and — with guitarist Ed O’ Brian and drummer Phillip Selway — they’ve continued to amaze and inspire.
Fueled by one of rock’s most volatile sibling relationships, Oasis became the biggest British band of the ’90s, and one of the biggest bands of all time in their native England. Taking their beloved Beatles as their prime influence, singer Liam and chief guitarist and songwriter Noel Gallagher mixed in elements of the Sex Pistols and the Jam to create their own distinct attack. While the brothers’ on- and off-stage antics often grabbed more headlines than their music, many of Oasis’ best songs still resonate.
For more than 30 years, brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald have been the core of Redd Kross. Drawing from a wide range of influences and inspirations, they were able to stake out a middle ground somewhere between the MC5 and the Bay City Rollers, and have been delivering their brand of candy-coated, kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll ever since. Their thrift-shop glam look and longer-than-long hair are one-upped by their full-on rock shows. After an extended hiatus, the brothers returned with a new album in 2012, picking up right where they had left off.
Formed in 1981 by sisters Vicki and Debbie Peterson, the Bangles owed much of their sound to the AM radio hits of the ’60s. Originally known as the Bangs, the Petersons — along with Susanna Hoffs and Annette Zilinskas — provided a welcome escape from much of the hardcore sounds coming out of Los Angeles at the time. A single and EP got their name out there, and after signing to a major label, they kept rising higher, eventually scoring big hits and even bigger hair. Even though they’re best known for pop hits like ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ and ‘Manic Monday,’ the heart and soul of the Bangles was, and still is, harmony pop meets garage rock, and no one capture that Mamas & Papas-meets-the-Seeds style better.
Arcade Fire continue to win over new fans with every album they release. Legends like David Bowie and Debbie Harry have not only sung their praises, they’ve actually sung with them. Win Butler and brother Will provide the template for the band’s sound: Win serves as its main singer and songwriter, Will adds various textures to its widescreen music. After four albums, the band continues to rise in popularity: 2013’s ‘Reflektor’ topped the charts in both the U.S. and in their native Canada.
Brothers Justin and Dan Hawkins make up half of one of the most exciting rock ‘n’ roll bands to emerge in the 21st century. The Darkness turned more than a few heads turn when they released their debut album, ‘Permission to Land,’ in 2003. The single ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ provided the band with a huge international hit, but that success was too much for the group to handle. Even with the usual fall-apart-break-up-reunite narrative to their story, the Hawkins’ brotherly love remains in tact. Even though Justin’s ear-piercing vocals can be a bit too much for some music fans, the overriding power of the Darkness’ music is hard to deny.
Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon are truly a band of brothers. They’ve been dishing out their own take on southern-fried rock ‘n’ roll since 1999, combining influences of bands like R.E.M. and the Black Crowes. Over the course of six albums, brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill (singer, bassist and drummer, respectively), along with guitar-playing cousin Matthew, have reeled in Americana’s boogie-fueled dusty shake without being overtaken by its constraints.
Tegan and Sara
Twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quinn, better known as simply Tegan and Sara, have been churning out their own brand of haunting and melodic pop songs for a decade now. From the edgier sounds of early work like ‘Walking With A Ghost’ to the slick pop of their hit album ‘Heartthrob,’ Tegan and Sara have covered everything from folk to pop to something more lush, growing their audience along the way.
Formed in the late ’90s, the National stockpiled some topnotch influences — ranging from Nick Cave and Tom Waits to the Smiths and Radiohead — and forged them into something uniquely their own. Over the course of six albums in a decade, their sound has ebbed and flowed as it hits elusive raw emotions without sounding at all contrived. Not bad for a bunch of kids from Cincinnati. The band’s two guitarists are the brothers in question here: Aaron and Bryce Dessner meld their brotherly love into an entangled guitar sound that at times can be a thing of haunting beauty.
Since 1969, brothers Ron and Russell Mael have been responsible for some of the most distinct and incredible music ever released. Formed in 1969 in Los Angeles as Halfnelson, the Maels eventually changed their name to Sparks and relocated to England. It was there that they found their first taste of success with the single ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us.’ They sound like no one else before or after, incorporating elements of the Kinks and the Beach Boys, as well as Broadway and classical musics, and wrapping it all up with a sharp sense of humor (the bow on top is Russell’s semi-operatic vocals). Sparks have never stopped making music and continue to create breathtaking records.