When papa is a Rolling Stone

Jagger and the Stones performing here Tuesday.
Jagger and the Stones performing here Tuesday. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff)
Posted: June 21, 2013

By Marilou Regan

When the Rolling Stones celebrated Father's Day in Philadelphia last weekend, some of their children were in town for their two shows at the Wells Fargo Center, the second of which is tonight. Over the past 50 years, the original bad boys of rock have trashed many a hotel room and had plenty of wild parties. But along the debauched path that was many a musician's destruction, parenthood changed them.

Keith Richards sired the first baby Stone, Marlon, who was on the scene as a toddler in the south of France for the recording of Exile on Main St. In a 2010 interview, Mick admitted that during the recording, "of course there was sex and drugs and rock-and-roll, but there was also this good family atmosphere," with lots of little kids running around. "I love looking out for children," said Mick, who has seven by four women.

Although Marlon's first words were, infamously, "room service," and though he grew up mostly without his mother, today he is a noted art director, married, and a father of three. Keith has said Marlon is "bringing up his own kids in a very secure way, hands-on all the time, because he never got that."

Keith's fatherhood was marked by tragedy. His second son, Tara, died in infancy in 1976. Recalling that time for his autobiography, Life, "was the hardest bit," he told an interviewer. Keith treasures his close-knit family, and when one of his daughters was busted for graffiti and drugs, they rallied behind her and addressed the issue. His three girls, Angela, Alexandra, and Theodora, are often in front of the stage with flowers at his concerts.

Drummer Charlie Watts' daughter, Seraphina, got in minor trouble, too: She was expelled from her boarding school in England for smoking pot. But her stable home life eventually helped keep her from partying like a rock star.

Ronnie Wood's four kids were all at their father's recent wedding to his much younger wife. His sons, Tyrone and Jamie, flew from England to San Francisco last month to see their dad for one show because, they told me, they missed him. All the band's children have come out on this (and every) tour - except for Mick's youngest two, who are still in school.

The 16 Stones children have grown up remarkably unspoiled. Mick's eldest daughter, Karis, graduated from Yale, and her half-sister, the noted jewelry designer Jade Jagger, said in an interview, "I was never a trust-fund child. Dad's got a healthy attitude toward work. You have to look after yourself." Mick was recently in the news for refusing to buy houses for three of his other children, as their mother demanded.

The Stones' children are artists, entrepreneurs, and, of course, models and musicians. Lizzy Jagger posed for Playboy, which was reportedly fine with dad, especially since it was tastefully done; Jesse Wood and James Jagger are in bands; and Ty and Jamie Wood work in their father's art business.

If papa is a Rolling Stone, how to keep his kids from becoming chips off the old rock - especially if he isn't strict? "My dad's not a very intimidating father figure," Georgia May Jagger once said. When the children do argue for the partying point of view, Mick said he tells them, "I can tell you by experience ... the bad things about it."

With the focus on raising rock royalty not by example, but with good guidance and love, the Stones have raised children who must bring them satisfaction.

Marilou Regan writes about the Rolling Stones and their fans at LoveYouLive-

RollingStones.com and in the book "Love You Live, Rolling Stones: Fanfare From the Common Fan."

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