Do you need some parenting validation today? Let me help. What if I told you that a rockstar embarking on an exhausting international tour considers his high-octane rock ‘n roll lifestyle a quiet, relaxing break compared to parenting his kids full-time.
Blur bassist Alex James is a legendary musician and partier — this guy spent a huge chunk of his life drinking and partying hard around the world. But now, at 54 and as the father to five kids, he wants the world to know that life absolutely does not get crazier than caring for children.
James dropped in to the Parenting Hell podcast and let the hosts know that playing countless shows on the road and promoting his band’s new album has been a walk in the freaking park compared to raising kids.
“Playing the bass in a rock band is the easiest thing, compared to parenting,” he said. “It actually is relaxing going back into that Blur bubble.”
(And if you can’t remember which 90s band Blur is, let me help jog your memory in two minutes and two seconds with the music video below. Trigger warning for major nostalgia.)
James is dad to five teenagers “as of this month” whom he shares with his wife Claire, who’s a producer: Geronimo, 19, twins Artemas and Galileo, 17, Sable, 14, and Beatrix, almost 13. They all live on a cheese farm, of course, and put their time into raising their family, being cheesemongers, and hosting an annual kid-friendly music festival, Feastival. The couple married in 2022, and they seem to be living the dream, even if parenting a gaggle of teens is challenging.
“I got home and the driveway was filled with road traffic cones,” he said of his twins’ recent behavior on the podcast.
“Nobody was to cuddle anymore,” he said of having all teens. “I’m the only one who wants to go to Legoland this year.”
You still need even more validation as a parent? Here you go.
James goes on to say that staying up all night and partying on the road doesn’t even come close to the insanity of a teen kid’s birthday party, which he describes as “terrifying.”
“I think 16th birthdays are the worst of them all, all the years of rock ‘n’ roll, nothing can hold a candle to those parties when you’re like 16… rock ‘n’ roll had nothing on that, actually,” he said.
Anyone finally feeling seen?
“At 16, you’re in the speedboat and you want to know how fast it goes, and by the time you’re 18 you’ve kind of worked out where your limits are a little bit,” he said. “I always try and get them to have their 16th birthdays at Feastival so that the liabilities are not mine. Because it’s terrifying, it is really terrifying.”
And, he reminds everyone, his band has five people to worry about, while his family is seven — making road trips much harder with kids than with rockers. In fact, they no long travel together as a family after a fight broke out on one family outing. “I’m not sure which two it was,” he explains. Now, the girls usually fly to destinations while the boys road trip, just to keep things easier.
“By the time we got to four,” he said of the challenge of having kids, “we didn’t get invited to anyone’s house. And by the time we got to five, no one wanted to come round to our house.”
Relatable. Maybe we can all sleep a little better tonight knowing that we really are doing one of the hardest jobs on the planet.