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POP MUSIC | POP EYE

These Students' 3 Rs Include Record Deals

March 16, 1997

Looking for the next wave of rock 'n' roll? Forget the Hollywood clubs and the funky streets of Silver Lake and head over the hill. A few private schools in the San Fernando Valley are turning out some of the new entries on the local circuit.

And it's probably no coincidence that these are schools where a lot of show-business people send their kids.

In fact, two of the bands feature sons of pop stars: The Feds, whose guitarist and primary singer is Adrian Perry, son of Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, consists mostly of students attending Harvard/Westlake in Studio City, while the Optics, with two sons of former Three Dog Night singer Danny Hutton, hail from Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks.

And though they're fairly new acts, they're starting to generate some music-business buzz. Label representatives are starting to contact the Optics about possible record deals, and the Feds, who have been playing in local clubs, are getting ready to record a demo tape with help from former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash.

It's not that these schools are teaching classes in record deal-making or rock history. In fact, they have earned reputations as no-nonsense centers of academia. But with most kids there having parents who are high achievers--some in show-biz, some in other fields--it's natural that the environment would breed ambition.

"It gives them more of an awareness of success," says Adrian's mom, Elissa Perry, who divorced the Boston-based rocker in 1985 and now lives in Sherman Oaks. "And everybody's mom or dad is something there, so being Joe Perry's son isn't weird."

What is weird, says Adrian--who just turned 16 and hopes to attend an Ivy League school to study law if music doesn't turn into a full-time career--is that many people expect his music to be like his father's.

"It makes it harder to prove myself," says the young Perry of his heritage. "Some people think we're going to sound like Aerosmith, and we don't. My main influences are Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden and Weezer--and the Beatles, of course. I listened to them for two years before even playing anything myself. And the other guys are into Metallica and Helmet, and we're all really big fans of Beck."

But it also can make it easier to get a start.

"It may help him get in the door," says Kim Buie, vice president of artists and repertoire (A&R) at Capitol Records. "But at the end of the day, whose kid you are has nothing to do with whether you're a hit or not."

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