Toody passes the bottle around again, filling our glasses. “We never really even got into this,” she says, nodding at the near-empty handle of Yukon, “until later in life. But at this point, you get old and cynical and haggard enough that you need something to mellow you out. We were just too busy with the kids to get into dope.”
In the 2004 documentary Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story, Shane, at 38 their youngest son, describes his childhood. “Growing up, my parents were quite the opposite of the normal mother and father that you would see,” he says. “They always stood out, and at times that would be somewhat embarrassing as you got older. But when we were a lot younger, it was always really cool because they were so different than everybody else.”
As wild as their upbringing must have been, each of Fred and Toody’s children—Amanda (41), Weeden (40), and Shane—have fallen as far as possible from the family tree. Weeden is studying to get his degree in drug and alcohol counseling (he’s living with his parents while he finishes school), Amanda is married to a lawyer for Nike, and Shane works for the Internal Revenue Service. He busts mom-and-pop businesses. Businesses just like his parents’.
But there is hope that the Coles’ musical heritage will live on. Weeden’s 9-year-old son, Christopher, wanders out of the house. He’s holding a digital tape recorder in one hand and a Zippo lighter in the other, practicing the ceaselessly cool one-flip-ignition trick. He hits Play on the recorder to show off his latest creation, a ditty about a girl in school whom he has a crush on, which he delivers in great gravelly burps. Wailing on the guitar in the background is his grandfather, Cappy.