A BIGSOUND panel 15 years ago looked at the good and bad things that come from siblings playing in a band.
You could have bitter rows and make up immediately, and you knew that you (most times) had each other’s backs.
But what happens when the spotlight falls on the good looking one, and the one that clearly takes ugly pills each morning is shoved to the background?
Or what happens if the youngest family member is the most musically accomplished and gives orders in the studio?
Of the Breeders twin sisters, Kelley Deal was eleven minutes older than Kim.
Yet it was Kim who first taught herself to play guitar on their father’s acoustic and went onstage.
Kelley said Kim always invited her to join her bands, “but she was always the leader.”
It didn’t rankle her too much. As the elder sister on tour, she’d make sure Kim would rest her voice (“she was so mouthy in the ‘90s”) that she’d gaffer-tape her mouth for an hour before the show.
Rick Brewster and John Brewster, sons and grandsons of Adelaide classical musicians, have been powering The Angels for over four decades.
Rick told Tone Deaf, “The best thing about the spooky blood connection happens when you both head in the same direction without thinking about it.
“A common example is dynamics and atmosphere, when we both feel that now is the spot to bring it down.
“The fights we had in the studio were always about song arrangements, tempos etc.
“They could get very ugly when they degenerated into stripping each others’ personalities – so ugly that the control room would empty out and the others would believe the band was over.
“They never lasted very long and we often forgot what the argument was about. But it was probably a vital part of the creative process.”
There were other issue to do with subbing music link ups too.
The guitarist with a multi-Platinum ‘90s Aussie band lamented that he found it impossible to chat up fans backstage – because they all looked and dressed like his singer sister.
The Jonas Brothers needed a psychiatrist intervention before they got back together after five years.
One of Australia’s biggest bands even needed a shrink at their table during an ARIAs Awards ceremony …and they weren’t even related.
Here are nine acts for whom things could get quite nasty… and sometimes become un-nasty.
(1) The Black Crowes
The Black Crowes top of this list only because five years ago they declared they would never be caught dead in the same room together.
But this month, Chris and Rich Robinson were in the same room announcing a world tour next year to mark the 30th anniversary of their album Shake Your Money Maker.
The “we’re back” proclamation was accompanied by a lot of nauseating cooing about “I missed my brudderr” and “I was in a bad place when I said those things.”
At their peak, the Hiss Family Robinson toured in separate tour buses, and their only conversations consisted of “fuck you!”
But for all that, they agreed on one thing – never to hit each other in the face.
Singer Ann and guitarist Nancy Wilson were midway through a Heart US tour in 2016 when a drama unfolded at their August 26 show in their hometown of Seattle. The Wilsons’ families were backstage celebrating.
Nancy’s 16-year-old twin sons asked Ann’s husband Dean Wetter if they could check out Ann’s new tour bus. He agreed on the condition they not let her dogs out of the bus.
When Wetter discovered one twin had left the door open, he went berserk, slapping the boy then punching him on the back of the head.
When the brother intervened, he tried to choke him.
According to Ann, Wetter wanted to apologise but was apparently frozen out by the Heart entourage.
For the remaining 20 dates, the sisters insisted on separate dressing rooms and communicated other only through aides.
Ann thought the issue could have been settled in a private family meeting. But Wetter was arrested and charged with assault.
The incident became so public that Ann and husband moved to Florida, and Heart’s split was announced.
Things were distinctly frozen until early 2019 when Heart reunited for a charity gig in New York, and extended to other plans.
Watch Ann & Nancy Wilson perform live in NYC
(3) Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s (CCR)‘s John Fogerty (guitar, vocals), Stu Cook (bass) and Doug Clifford (drums) got together at high school in California in the late ‘50s.
But it was Tom Fogerty, rhythm guitarist and older by four years, with the grand vision on hitting the big time and considered the leader.
Until John proved the greater songwriter, between 1967 and 1972, coming up with some global monsters like ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Bad Moon Rising’, ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’, ‘Fortunate Son’ and ‘Green River’.
They were concise, radio-friendly and seemed to suggest a simple southern swamp-rock although at that time he’d never been out of California.
Not only was Tom demoted but the other three later grumbled John’s ego had gone berserk and he was a control freak in all its music, business and legal affairs.
In late 1970, when CCR was at the pea of its popularity, Tom had enough of his il’ bro’ and quit.
He made a couple of solo albums which had their controls set to the heart of oblivion.
CCR limped on as a trio and finally collapsed in total acrimony in 1972
Lawsuits flew, between the four and with other business advisers.
In 1993 when CCR were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Fogerty performed with Bruce Springsteen and Robbie Robertson but not Cook and Clifford who were in the audience.
John and Tom did not speak for 20 years.
In the late 1980s, Tom was dying after contracting AIDS from a tainted blood transfusion during back surgery.
According to John in his memoirs, Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music, he had reached out to his brother, then living in Scottsdale, Arizona, that for the sake of their elderly mother they should patch up.
He suggested the two put down on paper the issues alienating them to sort them out. But they soon started squabbling over the difference in their recollections of what had happened, and the letters stopped.
Tom died in September 1990. John delivered the eulogy at his funeral:
“We wanted to grow up and be musicians. I guess we achieved half of that, becoming rock ‘n roll stars. We didn’t necessarily grow up.”
(4) The Andrews Sisters
The Andrews Sisters – LaVerne, Maxene and Patty – were the sweethearts of the 1940s.
They’d sing and dance to GIs during World War II and racked up hits as ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’, ‘I Can Dream, Can’t I’ and ‘I’ll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time’.
They were known for their harmonies and sold enough records to make them most successful female recording group in pop history. But their personal relationships were anything but harmonious.
They fell out over how their parents’ inheritance was divided.
In 1951 when Patty sneaked off to start a new act without telling the sisters, the other two wouldn’t talk for two years.
They reunited and split up over the years, and not even Laverne’s death in 1967 from cancer or Maxene’s heart attack in 1982 healed things.
Patty who died a few years ago, said in 1985 on TV, “The Andrews Sisters only had one big fight. Really. It started in 1937 and it’s still going!”
“If I wasn’t related to him, I’d have sacked him fucking four years ago!” That was Noel Gallagher on Liam in 2000.
This was nine years before a backstage punch-up at Rock en Seine festival outside Paris saw Oasis officially call it quits.
It wasn’t the cocaine or the fame or the pressure or … well, whatever.
It was sibling rivalry and, according to Liam in the 2016 Supersonic documentary, had begun in the 70s. long before Oasis formed.
“One night I come in pissed and I couldn’t find the light switch so I pissed all over [Noel’s] new stereo. I think it basically boils down to that.”
There were punch-ups backstage, onstage (Liam hit Noel on the head with a tambourine and walked off during a disastrous set at LA’s Whisky A Go Go), during recording sessions, at interviews, with everything ranging from guitars to cruel words (that Noel’s daughter was not his) and practical jokes (Noel playing up on Liam’s fear of ghosts by moving his furniture around and blaming gremlins).
What’s more the caterwauling still gloriously continues to the chuckles of fans.
“I’d rather eat my own shit than be in a band with him again,” Liam yelped in 2011.
This year Noel sabotaged a Liam documentary by refusing permission to use his Oasis songs.
This week there were squabbles that Liam’s constant tweeting was ensuring Oasis would never reform.
Robbie Williams got the last laugh.
He declared that if Oasis did get back together, “They wouldn’t sell as many tickets as Take That.”
(6) Sister Sledge
The Sledge sisters began singing at their church in Philadelphia before forming themselves into a group in 1971. Not a lot happened in terms of success.
Until 1979 when they sauntered into the recording studio to find two strangers, Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards (who played under the name Chic), finished off a song called ‘We Are Family’.
“This is how you sing it,” the two told the sisters.
Joni Sledge would be quoted in Billboard as saying of the session, “(It) was like a one-take party – we were just dancing and playing around and hanging out in the studio when we did it.”
Kathy, the youngest, was 19 and the prettiest. She soon became known as the “voice of Sister Sledge.”
In March 2017 she told American TV show The Insider that in 1989 she was asked to do a solo project . The siblings told her to leave.
“They did a photo session and they didn’t invite me, and that hurt.”
In 2013 they hit her with a trademark lawsuit to prevent her from saying she was a past member of Sister Sledge.
“80,000 later we settled,” Kathy revealed.
In the interview, Kathy admitted she no longer saw her siblings and doubted she’d step on stage with them again.
However they did have an emotional reunion in January 2017, two months before Joni Sledge, the second eldest, died aged 60.
In April, all the sisters performed at the We Are Family Foundation concert in New York.
(7) The Kinks
In the mid ’60s, British band The Kinks’ Ray Davies (singer and songwriter) and Dave Davies (lead guitarist) perfected the fine art of beating each other up to a fine art.
As the elder Ray wrote the hits (‘Waterloo Sunset’, ‘All Day And All of The Night’, ‘Lola’) he took more control of the music.
They fought backstage, onstage, in the back of taxis, threw a curry at each other to make a point, and at Dave’s 50th Ray even grabbed the cake and stomped it into the ground.
Other Kinks members and Ray’s one time wife, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, would learn how to duck or leap behind the sofa when the altercations began to erupt like Vesuvius.
Dave said of their feud: “You’ve heard of vampires. Well, Ray sucks me dry of ideas, emotions and creativity. He’s a control freak”.
The 20-year-old split thawed after Dave had a stroke.
In 2015, Ray joined Dave at a London show to perform ‘You Really Got Me’.
This year Dave was seen moving into the house next door to Ray’s in Highgate in North London.
It led to speculation that the two are working on new music.
(9) Bee Gees
The Bee Gees formed on the Gold Coast – Barry the eldest, and Maurice and Robin the younger twins – and high-tailed it back to London in the swinging ‘60s.
The hits came tumbling out, and Robin began positioning himself as the lead singer of the toothy trio.
Alas, as far as fans were concerned, Barry was the better singer and the best looking by a mile.
So Robin lost that argument and stomped off to a solo career.
Barry said, “I remember lots of intense arguments, not speaking to each other for weeks and then coming back together again.
“It doesn’t stop you being brothers. We broke up in 1969, and yet my brothers came to my wedding in 1970 and we started talking again – and suddenly we were back in the studio.”
Just as well: the disco boom was bubbling over in the US, and the Gibbs were set to ride the wave in to multi-million sales with ditties as ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and ‘Night Fever’.
The Bee Gees would go on to sell 220 million records worldwide, with nine No. 1 hits in the US.
Barry and Robin started to get close again after Robin’s twin Maurice died in 2003 aged 53 after a bungled operation.
Robin died in 2012 aged 62, after battling cancer and pneumonia and suffering from a serious bowel condition.
At his funeral Barry hinted the sibling tensions had been there until the end: “We were laughing all the way. Sometimes crying. God knows how much we argued.
“Even right up to the end we found conflict with each other, which now means nothing. It just means nothing.
“If there’s conflict in your lives – get rid of it.”