Friday, August 24, 2007


My first blog for GoGirls Elite:

“The rules of motherhood are being radically rewritten with a snarl, cymbal crash and power E-chord that would make the lads in AC/DC stand and salute.”—USA Today

Thanks Madalyn for inviting me to contribute. You pass on so much valuable information to all of us out here rockin’ our asses off. (We appreciate it. You have no idea.) While I imagine most of your followers are nubile girls, there are a few out here on the-wrong-side-of-forty who are trying to not to burn dinner (again) while we check out your blog. I’m one of them. Here’s my story:

On June 25, 2004, The Wall Street Journal introduced “a new wave of garage bands featuring Mom on guitar, Mom on drums and, on lead vocals.” In her article, Mommie Loudest, Nancy Keates described a nationwide phenomenon called “mom rock" --a wave of maternal minded rock bands. The article included: Frump (Dallas), Placenta (San Francisco), The Candy Band (Detroit), Housewives on Prozac (New York) and my own band The Mydols (also Detroit). While Suzie Riddle (Frump) got the idea to start a mom rock band right before her 40th birthday and Joy Rose (Housewives on Prozac) used music to energize herself while recovering from a kidney transplant, I cooked up the idea to start a band with some neighborhood mothers at a Memorial Day barbeque for no other reason than because I could. (After years of spoiling the kids, I decided it was time to spoil myself.) While each of the “mom” bands mentioned in the WSJ was acting alone, together we rated as a phenomenon. It wasn’t long before producers of the Today Show were calling and people were asking me “Who is your publicist?”

Our publicist was me.

I started The Mydols in 2002 (at age 42) with no musical background. The only word in the phrase “mom rocker” I knew anything about was the “mom” part. I saw Jack White (White Stripes) play his guitar at my sons’ elementary school (it was before he was really famous) and just like the kids in attendance, I decided right then and there that when I grew I up I wanted to be a rock star. I had a distinct advantage though—I already was grown up. I signed up for guitar lessons the next day and soon after carefully chose my band mates (I’m joking—my only requirement was a pulse and a purse full of dough. Hey, being in a band is expensive!) The Mydols were born and within a few months—we hadn’t even mastered our instruments—signs began popping up around Detroit at grocery stores, gas stations, day care centers, jails—you name it—announcing gigs. We had what one music reviewer called “Riding-the-learning-curve” charm. We took our home town by storm and before we knew it everyone was calling us for interviews including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune.

Why? Here’s my best guess.

--Talent is huge but so is "gimmick". We couldn’t even tune our guitars the first time we played BUT we sure were different than the average all male bands people were accustomed to seeing and hearing.

--And while we were different, we soon found out there WERE other bands out there in America like us. At first, I was bummed to find out there were other “mom” bands until a friend of mind told me that 3 bands doing the same thing becomes a “scene” and a scene is always bigger than one little band on its own. It turns out that he was right.

--And finally, we drew attention because I’m delusional. The Mydols even went on to appear in People magazine. When that happened I got a lot of “Did you ever dream you’d come this far?” and my answer was “OF COURSE I did!” If I didn’t dream it who was going to? I never finished a conversation with anyone without mentioning my great little band. The plumber, my boss, my Auntie, my mail lady—they all got an earful.

The Mydols—a band that should have lasted 5 minutes—has been around for five years. Next April, I’ll publish a memoir about my experiences in a book called Rock Star Mommy (Citadel Press) that chronicles my experiences as a music fan, a mother, and a musician. With a little courage and a lot of humor, women—even mothers—can do the unimaginable. My book urges women to take chances and follow their hearts, and to remember that it’s never too late. Bob Seger once sang, “You can come back baby. Rock ‘n roll never forgets.”