Carole King's Daughter Turns Out to Be a Punk—Rocker, That Is—So Welcome Please, Louise Goffin
If that sounds a mite rebellious, then tune in to young Goffin's debut LP, Kid Blue, a "punk-edged" platter that's the philosophical flip side of her mother's mellow rock. "Good rock has anger in it, triumph," contends Goffin, whose title tune is dedicated not to Mom but to ex-Sex Pistol (and Punk exemplar) Johnny Rotten. "I want to have impact," she says with a confidence beyond her years or, alas, present level of virtuosity. Louise adds: "I don't see myself as just another new artist."
That, at least, is undeniable, considering her legacy and leg-up. Her father is Gerry Goffin, King's first husband and collaborator on classics like up on the Roof and Will You Love Me Tomorrow? Even Louise's babysitters were the likes of Little Eva, famous for The Locomotion, another Goffin-King hit. So when Louise came of age to follow her forebears, she said simply, "Mom, I'd like to make an album." "Well," said Mom, "if you think you're ready." Louise translated that to mean: "She wasn't going to call up any of her connections." (And except for an almost indistinguishable backup vocal on one cut, Mother, 38, has kept discreetly out of it.)
Louise's liner credits nonetheless read like a Who's Who of the L.A. toke-and-tequila circuit: Other vocalists include Eagle Don Henley and J. D. Souther; Linda Ronstadt's manager Pete Asher, no less, played percussion, and the keyboardists included Andrew Gold and Toto's David Paich. Her producer (and guitarist on the single Jimmy and the Tough Kids) was Danny Kortchmar, a session superstar who used to tour with her mom, yet. Says Louise matter-of-factly: "We got this cast of characters not by calculation—they just happened to be around.
"We always had good people at home," recalls Louise, admitting, "I was really spoiled." Brooklyn-born, she and sister Sherry, now 17, migrated to L.A. when her parents split in 1968. "My mother didn't really know how to handle me," she says, and by 6 Louise had started piano lessons and was jostling with Mom for practice time "like roommates." But the major hassle was over who was responsible for the dishes, and Mom, with the then best-selling record of her generation, usually wound up doing them alone.
When King finally bailed out of California in 1977 to live in Idaho with her late third husband, Rick Evers, Molly, 6, and Levi, 4 (both from her second marriage, to musician Charles Larkey), Louise elected to stay on in high school in L.A. Kid Goffin has remained close to her own dad, who is now a sometime songwriter at Screen Gems. Louise also constantly phones and visits her mother, and for the first time has come to appreciate "how great" Tapestry was. "She's made it," says Louise. "She's living in the wilderness and bringing up two beautiful children. She has no incentive to be a star anymore."
Not so Louise, who pursues her muse in a two-bedroom Hollywood Hills house she rents with her sister. She eschews "trendy" pastimes like jogging and roller-skating for voice lessons three times a week and electric guitar practice. She claims that there's been no "major love life" since she ended a four-year liaison with Billy Hipple (co-writer of two songs on the LP) in 1977. But she's been seen often with her producer, Kortchmar, 33. "I just like to go out with crazy people and be crazy," says Louise. She pops vitamins and jelly beans, listens to Elvis Costello and now to Mom. "She told me," says Goffin, "that the only way to survive is to be right for you. So I'm myself, and nobody else. I don't want to be imprisoned by music. I'd like to live a little." Then, adds Carole King's daughter: "I'd like to live a lot, actually."