Remember back in October of 2009 when the world was captured by the so-called Balloon Boy who was believed to have flown away in a homemade weather balloon accident? As you may recall, it was later found out that the “accident” was actually a hoax and Balloon Boy’s father Richard Heene was sent to jail to pay for the crime. A year later we learned that Balloon Boy Falcon Heene and his brothers Bradford and Ryo were starting a band. Well, today we learn that the band now has a name — The Heene Boyz — and they play metal music. Oh and their father Richard is still doing everything he can to promote his children for financial gain so … yeah. The Balloon Boyz are growing up … and rockin’ out, apparently.
Inside a single-story house on a quiet street an hour north of Tampa, 9-year-old Falcon Heene plugs in his bass guitar and fires up his amp. The scrawny, barefoot kid, four and a half feet tall, launches into “Burnin’ to Play,” off his band’s first, home-recorded album, Heene Boyz Rock. Falcon’s brother Ryo, age 12, tears up the drums, and Bradford, 13, shreds a guitar. 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. This living room is basically a rehearsal space. Amid a clutter of cardboard boxes and mountain bikes are the instruments, a mixing board, speakers, and stacks of amplifiers. A homemade green screen, crafted from linoleum, takes up an entire wall and blocks the front window. 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.” Here the Heene Boyz, who are touted by their notorious dad as “the world’s youngest metal band,” dress up like medieval warriors and film themselves playing their song “World of Warcraft.” “Can’t stop playin’ World of Warcraft,” Falcon shrieks. “That’s what I’m sayin’.” This might be any kid band. But it’s not. Three years and a massive backlash ago, their mom and dad were branded as America’s most famous liars … Richard Heene was ultimately fined $47,000 and pleaded guilty to felony charges of attempting to influence a public servant. His wife, Mayumi, pleaded to a misdemeanor. Richard was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Mayumi was ordered to perform community service. The judge stipulated they could not profit from the incident during four years of probation. In 2010, the family moved to Spring Hill, about 50 miles north of Tampa, and little has been reported about them since. The kids, who are home-schooled, have turned their attention to music. Richard works as a handyman and develops odd inventions like a bear-sized back scratcher. The kids, with Dad as their manager, have played a dozen shows since May. As the Heene Boyz’ popularity grows and the kids continue to gig around the state, surely Richard, 51, will face criticism that he’s exploiting his kids — again. “Exploitation?” he asks incredulously. “Nobody has said anything about that.”
You can read the rest of this feature article HERE. It’s a long read but interesting, er, if you at all still care about Balloon Boy and his family. Honestly, this article would be really cute if not for the whole sordid past of the Heene family. It’s just a shame that these kids have been marred by their father’s criminal behavior. I never really understood why Daddy Heene tried to pull off this hoax, he couldn’t have seriously believed that he’d get away with it, right? He got “famous” but at what cost, he will never be trusted by anyone again. I can’t help but feel these kids are being exploited further but maybe that’s just the cynic in me screaming its head off. Unless The Heene Boyz actually do open up for Metallica one day, I doubt we’ll ever hear from them again. Tho, I never thought he’d hear from them after the Balloon Boy hoax was over so … never say never. Hmm.