Remember Balloon Boy? That six-year-old kid from Colorado whose parents orchestrated the huge “OMG WE FILLED A HELIUM BALLOON AND LET IT FLOAT AWAY WITH OUR SON INSIDE IT!” hoax in 2009? Well, he’s back—and now he’s launching a heavy metal career.
To be fair, the kid’s name is Falcon. Something like this was just waiting to happen.
Gawker currently has a feature running that delves into the lives of the Heene family since the incident, specifically focusing on the father who built the balloon and perpetrated the hoax, Richard Heene… and believe you me, it’s a real doozy. The Heenes have moved to Florida, and the family’s three sons are off on a mission to become the heavy metal version of Hanson. The Heene Boyz, as they’re called, are unsigned; of course they’re managed by Richard, whose mode of attack has essentially been to book shows as they go and keep going until they run out of money. For the curious, Falcon is now 10 and the band’s singer, bassist, and front man; his brothers, Ryo and Bradford, are 12 and 13 respectively, and the Heene Boyz’ drummer and guitarist. They’ve got an EP available now called American Chili, with the plan being for it to become a full album if they get picked up by a record company.
Richard insists that he’s not trying to profit off of his family’s infamy; indeed, court orders prevent him from doing just that. As such, you won’t find any mention of Balloon Boy or flying saucers anywhere near the Heene Boyz: Not on their albums, not on their press materials, not on their t-shirts—nothin’. Furthermore, “I can talk about anything I want as long as I don’t get paid for it. But I don’t want people thinking the only thing on my mind is that,” Richard says. He adds that he’s really trying to get rid of the residual ickiness of the whole scandal; “Look, if you step on dog crap and you don’t clean it off, you smell like dog crap. You clean it off, you keep on walking,” he notes.
…But I don’t know, Bettys. Prior to the Balloon Boy incident, the family had appeared not once, but twice on the reality show Wife Swap; Richard also pitched a couple of reality shows centered around the Heenes, including one to TLC, without success. If Balloon Boy hadn’t been revealed to be a hoax, it’s my bet that the Heene family would have been Honey Boo Boo’s greatest rivals.
In any event, my point is that yeah, Richard may not be able to profit DIRECTLY off of Balloon Boy—but in spite of his whole dog doo philosophy, it’s still the notoriety he gained from Balloon Boy that’s making most of this possible. And I will freely admit to contributing to the problem, because let’s face it: “Balloon Boy Launches Heavy Metal Career” is one of the most clickable headlines I’ve ever typed.
Richard also drives home the following sentiments: “I don’t push anything on my kids,” and “Here’s something that every mom and dad across the whole globe can relate to: If you’re not spending time with your kids, someone else is. Who do you want your kids spending time with? I love my kids, I enjoy spending time with them,” and “That’s why I dropped all of my projects for this. They want me to manage them? I will support them. They want this.” Methinks the daddy doth protest too much, but maybe that’s just me.
At any rate, if you want to check them out, the Heene Boyz are playing a couple of shows in Rochester and Elmhurst, NY and one in Delaware this week and next week; visit their website here. Oh, and do check out the whole Gawker piece—it’s an interesting (if somewhat bizarre) read.
Tell us: Balloon Boy’s band: Good idea/bad idea?
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.