Randy Spelling and Sean Stewart talk about their famous fathers, their new show, and their careers
In the new reality show Sons of Hollywood on A&E, Randy Spelling (son of the late Aaron Spelling), Sean Stewart (son of singer Rod Stewart), and their friend, talent manager David Weintraub, move in together. Viewers get to see how these second generation wannabes act in real life. With reality shows taking over the airwaves, this time the public gets to see some famous people - or offsprings of famous people - living their lives trying to break into show business. If these young men have their way, they will soon be as famous as their fathers.
Randy's sister Tori has her own reality show on the Oxygen network. Reality - unscripted - shows are popular these days because they give viewers a peek inside the lives of other people while providing entertainment to the masses. Although not everyone enjoys watching reality shows, they are, at least this season, a reality of television
Randy Spelling and Sean Stewart recently spoke about their famous fathers, their new show, and their careers.
Randy, what is it about the Spellings - you and Tori - that makes you want to live your lives out on television?
Randy Spelling: I don't know. I guess it's the genes. We were born with the same. You mean in terms of reality shows?
Randy Spelling: I don't know. We haven't really discussed that together, but for me I know that it was something that I wanted to do to give people an insight into who I am, because there's so many misconceptions and speculations about, because of our last name, who we are and what we're like, and, you know, our personalities. And I think I, at least, wanted to get across who I was and all the struggles of having a famous last name and coming from a famous family, how hard it really is. It's not just getting silver spoons everywhere and having everything given to you.
What is it about that last name that you think sparks such interest, and how much have you and Tori contributed to that?
Randy Spelling: What is it about the last name? I won a spelling bee in second grade. So I figured I was really good. I don't know. What is it about the last name? My dad -- you know, it's really interesting. His parents came to Ellis Island, when they were coming back, their name was totally different, and they gave them the last name Spelling. Ever since, my dad grew up as a poor kid in Texas and was a dreamer and wanted to make a name for himself. And he did that. And, you know, I'm blessed to be the son of. But along with that comes a lot of things that I've had to deal with and overcome my whole life.
Do you think your mom would ever do a reality series?
Randy Spelling: No. I don't think so. Definitely not. She does appear on mine. That's the closest I think she'll get.
Mr. Spelling, your father did want to make a name for himself, but he also had a deep love for scripted programming. He devoted his career to that, and toward the end of that career, it was harder and harder to get shows on the air, partly because of reality shows like this.
Randy Spelling: Correct.
Unscripted programming, reality, whatever you want to call it --how did he feel about you guys doing this sort of thing?
Randy Spelling: That's interesting, because he was so in to scripted television for basically a generation, he didn't really understand the concept of reality. He knew that it was definitely taking over and getting larger and larger, but when I told him I was doing a reality show, he said, "Well, that's great. That's good. When do you shoot? Do you have to go out of town?" And I said, "No. We are shooting it here." And he asked all these questions that had nothing to do with reality, and it was hard to explain to him exactly what I was doing.
Sean - You're walking down the same road that Sean and Julian Lennon did and Ben Taylor and so many second-generation people. How hard has it been for you to be able to find your authentic voice, a voice that is you and not your father?
Sean Stewart: I mean, my dad's an amazing singer. But like with music, it's something I want to do. And, you know, I'm going to give it 100 percent. If I don't make it, I don't make it. But as long as I give it a chance and I tried my best -- my dad's got an amazing voice. He's very successful, and he loves what he does. And, you know, there's a lot of fear walking into the music industry knowing that is my dad and knowing that there's going to be a lot of expectations on me. And, you know, there's a lot of fear involved. But I'm going to get through it [because it's] something I really want to do.
But finding your authentic voice, how hard has it been for you?
Sean Stewart: Me as a singer? It's been difficult, you know?
Randy Spelling: (joking) It's been really hard for me, actually, because I had to live with him for three months, and when he sings and yells in the shower, it's torture.
Sean Stewart: It was not torture.
Randy, when you lose someone you love, grief can be overwhelming. I can't imagine having a camera in your face when that happens. Why would you want to go through that on camera, because that very tender moment on the phone with your dad, telling him he has to eat and to keep up his strength? I would think would be preserved a private moment between you.
Randy Spelling: That's a good question, actually. I didn't want to do this on camera at all. My producers, JT Taylor and Brent Wilson, they were great. Before actually shooting, that was a concern, because his health was declining, but he was not at all at that point where I thought he was going to pass away. And I said to them -- it was definitely a concern -- I said, "God forbid this happens." They said, "Well, we're all keeping our fingers crossed it's not going to happen." And, you know, sure enough, about three, four weeks into the show, I did get a phone call saying that (he was) rapidly declining and they were possibly maybe giving him a couple months. At that point we were already in the middle of production, and because it is reality T.V., I decided, you know, I didn't give it too much. I didn't go into gory details about everything, but it is real life. And unfortunately, we were shooting at that time, and that was what I was going through. But it was not a planned thing to do the show knowing that that was going to happen at all.
Show business is tough. People have hit records and TV shows can be a hit at any time tomorrow. Don't you think really, from the people you met growing up and the people that you know, that you came into this with advantages that say someone in Alabama or Indiana or Maine would not have trying to get into the business?
Randy Spelling: Yeah. Of course. I mean, I'm not going to lie. Doors will open because of privilege and because of your last name. The thing that I've encountered personally -- and, again, I can only speak for myself, but I know Sean's situation as well -- is once that door opens, it's like you almost have to prove yourself to be as good if not better than the competition, because you are scrutinized for nepotism, for being the son of a famous T.V. producer, the brother of Tori Spelling and this and that. So it definitely comes with advantages and also disadvantages.
Sean Stewart: For me, I may have myself in the door, but, like, I push myself even harder once I get in that door. If I'm going to go in and see some label tomorrow, and they're gonna be like, "Oh. We're going to sign you just because you're Rod Stewart's kid?" I have to perform and have to have a good voice and hit those notes that they want me to hit.
Sean, obviously familial ties are going to influence you when you're growing up and you're looking for a musical touchstone - your Dad, obviously (with) his voice and his musical styles. Who else were the people that you looked to for musical touchstones? Who moved you, raised the hair on the back of your neck, and that kind of thing.
Sean Stewart: Definitely Mötley Crüe. Definitely Mötley Crüe.
You lean towards hard rock/heavy metal?
Sean Stewart: Yes.
What is it about that kind of music, and is it demonstrated in the music that you make today?
Sean Stewart: Well, the music that I do today, it's rock but it's got a little pop -- you know, that pop sound of it. That pop sound. And you know, Mötley Crüe is one of my favorite bands because they write real music. And I like to write real stuff. Because the best writers, if you're going to be a song writer you've got to write from your heart.
Sons of Hollywood airs at 10pm/9c on Sunday nights on A&E.
Dont't forget to also check out: Sons of Hollywood