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Musical offspring compete for recording deal in new MTV series 'Rock the Cradle'

Rafer Guzmán
Newsday (MCT)

What do Jesse Blaze Snider, Lucy Walsh and Landon Brown have in common?

Check those surnames - they're all the children of famous musical talents.

Snider, son of Twisted Sister singer Dee, will face off against Walsh (daughter of Eagles guitarist Joe), Brown (son of Bobby) and six others in a new television series called "Rock the Cradle," premiering Thursday at 10 p.m. EDT on MTV.

For now, Long Island rocker Snider, 25, is living in Los Angeles - where the show is being filmed - right next door to castmate A'keiba Burrell-Hammer (daughter of MC, of course). The rock and rap scions hit it off after hanging out at the L.A. comic convention ("She got to watch me geek out," said Snider, an avid comic collector) and discovering they had several things in common: Both are eldest children, both are close with their families and neither drinks nor uses drugs, Snider said.

Things might get a little less friendly as the competition heats up. Among the other musical heirs vying for the prize of a record deal are Lara Johnston (daughter of Doobie Brother Tom), Chloe Rose Lattanzi (daughter of Olivia Newton-John), Jesse Money (daughter of Eddie), Crosby Loggins (son of Kenny) and Lil Al B. Sure, whose heritage you can probably guess (though he's disavowed his father's exclamation point).

The show, which originated with the British company FremantleMedia (producers of "Pop Idol," which eventually begat "American Idol"), was based on the simple question, "Is musical talent genetic?" said Tony DiSanto, executive vice president of series development and programming at MTV and MTV2. The show also pays tribute to MTV's history: Many of the contestants' parents rose to fame during the height of the video era in the 1980s, such as Bobby Brown, Al B. Sure! and to some extent Newton-John and Kenny Loggins.

And then there's Dee Snider, whose band Twisted Sister will forever be known for its singer's distinctive Bozo-in-drag appearance and the raucous 1984 video "We're Not Gonna Take It." Jesse comes to the show with what might be called baggage.

"It's like: Wow, man, you want to go into a genre that your dad helped pioneer?" said DiSanto. "And you have his last name? That's a lot to live up to. If you wanted to be a rapper, you'd probably have an easier road to follow."

The younger Snider doesn't sound worried. He already has a band, Baptized by Fire, plus a successful voice-over career (he's done commercials for Cheetos and Burger King, among others) and a new sideline as a comic-book writer (he recently wrote an issue of "The Hulk"). The main point of the show, he says, is the exposure.

"I try to make the most commercial, accessible rock `n' roll that I can, because I want everyone to understand and enjoy it," Snider said. "What's the point of making music if people aren't going to hear it?"



Which other kids of musical parents have joined the family business? Here are five:

Sean Lennon: The son of the late Beatle and half-brother to Julian has released three solo albums but is better known as an all-around scenester. He's worked with Rufus Wainwright, Moby, Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse's producer) and even his own mom, Yoko Ono.

Inara George: The daughter of Lowell - leader of `70s rockers Little Feat - follows her own muse with the Bird and the Bee, a duo (with keyboardist Greg Kurstin) that released a self-titled collection of haunting, ethereal pop tunes last year.

Alexa Ray Joel: The apple didn't fall far from the tree with Billy Joel's (and Christie Brinkley's) daughter, who sings and plays piano on her debut EP, "Sketches."

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Born to rakish French singer Serge Gainsbourg and British actress Jane Birkin, Charlotte first gained fame at age 12 by duetting with dad on the song "Lemon Incest." She's since recovered: Her acclaimed 2006 album, "5:55," featured contributions from Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, the French duo Air and Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy.

Joe Sumner: If you were Sting's son, what would you do? How about pick up the bass, front a rock trio (Fiction Plane) and open for the Police's recent reunion tour?

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