‘Balloon boy’ Falcon Heene now fronting ‘world’s youngest metal band’
Three years after being exploited by his father in a hoax involving a homemade flying saucer that floated across Colorado, captivating millions of live television viewers who thought he might be inside, Falcon Heene is once again part of a questionable family-driven project: fronting a metal band.
The 9-year-old Falcon and his brothers Ryo, 12, and Bradford, 13, are collectively known as the Heene Boyz, or "the world's youngest heavy metal band," as their notorious father, Richard Heene, calls them.
According to the Broward-Palm Beach (Fla.) New Times, which published a 4,000-word profile on the Heenes, the "Boyz" practice and perform near their home in Spring Hill, Fla., where the family moved in 2010.
The homeschooled Heenes learned to play their instruments from lessons on YouTube: Falcon on bass, Ryo on drums and Bradford on guitar. And Falcon—who accidentally revealed the balloon saga was a reality-show-baiting stunt in an interview with Wolf Blitzer and then threw up during one with the "Today" show—serves as the lead singer.
More from the New Times profile:
All three are dressed in black T-shirts and jean shorts. They have long, luxurious black hair that falls to their waists and would make a Kardashian look bald by comparison. These manes whip around like windmills as the boys thrash.
Falcon wails, "What do we do? Hang out in the park/Joey's out playing in the dark/Oh my God—bored out of my mind/Adults don't treat kids so effin' kind."
When it's time for the guitar solo, Bradford nails it one-handed, Eddie Van Halen style. Falcon plucks bass strings with his teeth. When finished, they grin, make devil horns, and do handstands.
The walls are covered with faded family photos, kids' paintings, chore charts, to-do lists, printouts of scientific data, and schedules ("Get up, read books, work out, do schoolwork, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse"). Then there are the typed affirmations on plain white office paper. A couple of these say, in all caps: "HEENE BOYZ WANT RECORD DEAL!" and "HEENE BOYZ WILL TOUR WITH METALLICA."
The band's website includes a link to buy its debut album, "Chasing Tornadoes," a list of influences (including Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Dio) and press photos of the boys with scantily clad women who apparently starred in their music videos ("Candy Cane" and "Latte Vampiress").
But Richard Heene, who was sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and fined $47,000 for the balloon hoax, claims to be unaware of criticism that he's once again exploiting his children for a chance for fame. (Heene's wife, Mayumi, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for her involvement in the stunt.)
"Exploitation?" Heene, who works as a handyman in addition to his role as their manager, told the paper. "Nobody has said anything about that."
Almost as astonishing: The Heene Boyz say they don't know who Justin Bieber or the Jonas Brothers are:
Bradford: Who's Justin Bieber?
New Times: Seriously, you don't know who Justin Bieber is?
All three boys [dead serious]: No.
New Times: Have you ever heard of the Jonas Brothers?
Boys [blankly]: No, uh-uh.