As a kid in New York, you spent weekdays with your parents on the posh Upper East Side, weekends were spent with your grandmother in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Did that form two different sides of you?
Absolutely. Having this nice Manhattan life, and then having this really raw, beautiful life in Bed-Stuy, made me who I am.
When the family moved to LA in 1975 and you got into rock, were your parents disapproving?
I don’t think they knew what I was doing because I was so secretive about it. Before I moved out at fifteen I was always in my room with the door closed. I had a drum set, guitar, amp and bass, and I would just be listening to records, and playing.
Were you quite an angry teenager?
More toward my dad. My dad was rough with me – at that time. He was an ex-Green Beret. So that’s why I left. I was determined to go out and make my own way.
Do you have a different perspective on that now, having raised a daughter yourself?
Our relationship was such that she didn’t have to go to that length. She went to a length that I think was healthy – every kid has to bust out and be themselves. And now Zoë’s acting, and making music as well. I just went to a gig of hers – she’s in this band called Lolawolf.
Are the lines in your song Always On The Run – such as ‘My Mama said leave those bad boys alone’ – the rules mum was really laying down for you?
Yeah. All the good knowledge. All the smart things that you should listen to but you don’t. That’s about perspective.
No one has perspective as a teenager. That’s why you rush out and do crazy things, and end up being a rock star.