Jakob Dylan

Multi-platinum rockers the Wallflowers are currently in the studio recording the follow-up

to their smash 1996 album, Bringing Down the Horse. The success of the new

effort and the overall fate of the band rest on the shoulders of songwriter Jakob Dylan.

"Jake [Dylan] has lots of powerful, new shit," keyboardist Rami Jaffee said about the

material Dylan has written since the Wallflowers' nearly two-year-long tour in support of

Horse. That album featured the breakthrough hits "6th Avenue Heartache,"

HREF="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-

music/Wallflowers,_The/One_Headlight.ram">"One Headlight" (RealAudio

excerpt) and "The Difference."

Jakob Dylan was born 29 years ago today to the legendary Bob Dylan and his then-wife,

Sara Lowndes. Jakob was their youngest child, and after his parents divorced in 1977,

he didn't see much of his father. Raised by his mother in Los Angeles, Jakob Dylan

wanted to be a painter and studied art at New York's Parsons School of Design.

However, he soon changed his mind and returned to Los Angeles to play rock 'n' roll.

Dylan formed the Wallflowers, whose music sounds like a mix of Bruce Springsteen and

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and signed to Virgin Records. The band's eponymous

1992 debut failed to sell well and received some bad reviews.

After Virgin dropped the Wallflowers, Dylan shuffled the lineup and returned to the

studio. The band that recorded the Wallflowers' second LP comprised Dylan, Jaffee,

guitarist Michael Ward and bassist Greg Richling. Drummer Mario Calire soon joined for

touring. Produced by veteran T Bone Burnett, Horse was released by Interscope

Records.

Alternative and classic rock radio picked up on "6th Avenue Heartache." This airplay,

coupled with the publicity concerning Dylan's heritage, immediately raised the

Wallflowers' profile to unexpected heights. By the time "One Headlight" entered the top

10, Dylan was a star and the Wallflowers were one of rock's hottest bands.

In an interview last year, Dylan told Rolling Stone about his upbringing: "I get

asked all the time, 'What was your dad like as a parent?' And I say, 'I'm 27 years old, I'm

not a crackhead; I don't go on afternoon talk shows and spill.' I mean, you can probably

figure it out for yourself that he did a decent job."

Early this year, "One Headlight" won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song and Best Rock

Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. A few months later, the Wallflowers had a hit

with a cover of David Bowie's song "Heroes" (produced by Andrew Slater) from the

soundtrack to the summer film "Godzilla." Also during the summer, the band opened

Seattle charity shows for Pearl Jam and performed at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in

Washington, D.C.

Last month, the Wallflowers performed at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit, and

Dylan, Jaffee, and Richling contributed to the recording of country-rocker Joe Henry's

upcoming LP.

The Wallflowers' third album is expected in mid-1999.

Other birthdays: Sam Strain (Little Anthony and the Imperials/O'Jays), 57; Rick Danko

(the Band), 55; Kenny Vance (Jay and the Americans), 55; Walter Orange

(Commodores), 52; Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper), 50; Joan Armatrading, 48; Donny

Osmond, 41; Nick Seymour (Crowded House), 40; "Kat" Bjelland (Babes In Toyland), 35;

Sammy B (ex-Jungle Brothers), 31; Geoff Barrow (Portishead), 27; and Tré Cool

(Green Day), 26.