The Most Rock n’ Roll Pumpkins Ever

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

I don’t know about you, but I’m over the moon that it’s Halloween! While I normally don’t spend hours on social media (though my husband would probably disagree), Halloween is one of those days when I’m entrenched in it. I love seeing the pics of little kids’ costumes, decorations and festivities.

I’m especially tickled over some of the cool, Pinterest-worthy rockstar pumpkins I’m seeing.

Check out this Martha Stewart one:


Or this one, from the Firewire Blog:


And this one is another favorite (also from Firewire):


Enjoy the day — costumes, candy, pumpkins and everything else!

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

Finding Bandmates, Post Parenthood: Why it’s a Real Challenge

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

I’ve been in bands easily half my life. Much of the time, they’re formed out of friendships, work/school connections or circumstance, plus being in the right place at the right time.

That’s how Grandma’s Mini, my longest-running Washington, D.C., rock band with my bestie Ann, came together. I met her at a new job, we clicked, I had her over to “jam,” and before the night was over, we’d written five or six songs. The same thing happened when I formed Marisa Mini & The Underage Hotties with my friend Morgan. I started working at the New York City Guitar School, met Morgan, clicked with Morgan, and bam — she joined my namesake band. From there, we started other bands through the NYC Guitar School Connection.

IMG_1717A few other times, I’ve used personals — like when I met my friend Debbie, a drummer and singer, who wanted to launch her own musical project. Or, I’ve met musicians through open mics and the music “scene” — rock shows at bars, mainly. And I met one of my guitarists while he was working at Guitar Center in Brooklyn.

But as a parent, I don’t have time to work the scene, to make friends and connections by going to lots of shows or open-mic nights. I barely have time to go to Guitar Center, or any music stores. I’m lucky if I see one band a month. Much of this has to do with the reality that I live in a suburb, a beach town in Southeast Connecticut. Were I still living in New York City, I’d find musicians left and right.

[RELATED: The Ramoms Take on The Ramones, Mixing Motherhood and Punk Rock in Philly]

At the moment, I’m at the mercy of Craigslist — which weirds out some people — and whoever finds my Bandbox profile, in trying to find a bassist and drummer. Craigslist has given me a few good leads — a bassist who’s also a dad, and a drummer who lives 40 minutes away. But the drummer bowed out at the last minute after deciding my musical interests didn’t match hers, and I have yet to meet the bassist.

Another challenge is that SO many people in my neck of the woods want to start cover bands! Don’t get me wrong — I love playing a good cover or two, and at one point, started my own all-girl cover band. But I want to write, sing and play originals. I want to create, not recreate, a song.


From my band Grandma’s Mini’s DC gig at The Pinch in September 2017

So I’m hopeful, and I’m open to suggestions. Is there some untapped band-finder resource out there for suburban moms? An online directory of bored drummers who live in New England? Please share in the comments if you have any good tips.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.



Timing Yourself: A Helpful ‘Push’ to Practice When Life Gets Hectic

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

Music is all about timing. Quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and so on. But so is pretty much everything else. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about timing lately, as I always feel like I’m running out of time, between working, mothering, sleeping, breathing, and slipping in workouts and volunteer commitments. It’s impossible to do everything I’d like to do perfectly — or at least as well as I did pre-kids — because I have so many things competing for my time. 

However, I’ve found that lately, timing myself, as in literally setting a timer when I need to get something done, can be extraordinarily motivating. 

[RELATED: Finding Time to Practice in the Midst of a Busy Life]

Say I need to clean the kitchen. That’s boring. But when I set the timer on my microwave for 7 minutes, suddenly I’m moving faster than a Jimi Hendrix solo. If I didn’t time myself, I’d just drag condiments from the floor where my kids spilled them my kitchen counter to the refrigerator. 


Jimi Hendrix, master of timing (and guitar solos)

Timing yourself comes in handy in the musical sense, too. Two days this week, I had only 15 minutes to spare before I had to pick up my kids from school. My first thought was “nah, I’ll just fold laundry.” But my second thought was, “wait, that’s 15 minutes to play guitar with no distractions.” And I set my timer and plugged my Gibson SG into my  50-watt amp and BAM! It was time for a mini set. I jammed away happily, feeling like I had all the time in the world. I didn’t worry, knowing that the little timer would go “beep beep beep” when it was time to put the guitar down. And sure enough, it did. But not before I got through three songs. 

Of course, music should be spontaneous and fun. Relaxed. There should be no time-induced pressure to write a song, jam on a Friday night with friends and a bottle of wine, or practice a drum solo. But when you just need to practice when life gets busy, a timer could be your secret weapon, a gamechanger in your hectic day.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy. 

These 5 Beautiful Orange Guitars are So Perfect for October

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

October is a gorgeous month in so many parts of the country, especially New England and the Mid-Atlantic, with tapestries of changing leaves and tree filled landscapes, as pumpkin mania takes hold. Guitars aren’t necessarily seasonal, but as parents of young children turn their attention toward Halloween prep mode, we’re seeing orange-and-black everything. 

Some of the most beautiful and sturdy rockin’ guitars, too, remind of us pumpkins, leaves and dark, scary nights. Here are five of my favorites:

This Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Single Cutaway Hollow Body (with Bigsby Orange Stain) simply screams “rockabilly band.” Reviewers rave about its cool vintage look and sound. 


Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Single Cutaway Hollow Body


The neon-orange Jackson X Series Soloist SL3X in Neon Orange is a Solidbody Electric Guitar with Basswood Body, Maple Neck, Rosewood Fingerboard, 3 Humbucking Pickups, and Floyd Rose Tremolo.


Jackson X Series Soloist SL3X

If you love Joe Satriani, check out the Ibanez JS2410 Joe Satriani Signature Electric Guitar Muscle Car Orange — a striking, bold beauty featuring a rosewood, 24-fret fingerboard with Joe’s favorite DiMarzio pickups wired to some advanced electronics.


Ibanez JS2410

If you like a good fade-out, check out the striking Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO Electric Guitar in Heritage Cherry Sunburst for that pop of color that goes from red to yellow. 

Cherry sunburst

Epiphany Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO

Blues cats, behold this Taylor T3/B Semi-Hollowbody with Bigsby Electric Guitar in Orange, featuring Taylor’s high-fidelity full-size Vintage Alnico humbuckers, blended with a unique coil-splitting application to give players killer humbucker and single-coil sounds in one guitar.


Taylor T3/B Semi-Hollowbody

I love all of these beauties! Happy Fall, everyone!

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy.

Rockmommy Laurie Berkner’s New Book will Make Your Little Monsters Boogie on Halloween and Beyond

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

Laurie Berkner is no fly-by-night children’s music artist. My sons, who have loved her since they were toddlers, still regularly sing along to her tunes, particularly “We Are Dinosaurs” and “Monster Boogie.” The latter may just be their favorite, as evidenced by their obsession with a.) watching the video over and over again, b.) making monster masks, per Laurie’s instructions at the end of said video, and c.) running around like monsters screaming “rawr!” after watching the video EVERY SINGLE TIME!! 

Recently, we caught up with busy rocker mom Laurie to chat about the new Monster Boogie book, music, and her new project! 


Laurie Berkner (photo credit: Jayme Thornton)

Rockmommy: We LOVE the new Monster Boogie book. How did the idea to make a book come along? 

Laurie Berkner: I was originally thinking that I would like to turn some of my lullabies into books. When I pitched the idea to Simon and Schuster they suggested doing a series of three books, only one of which turned out to be a lullaby. Monster Boogie was the third title they chose, and I thought it was a great idea!

Rockmommy: How did you write the original “Monster Boogie?” Do you remember how that idea came up?

Laurie Berkner: I wrote it for a class I was taking on how to teach kids music using the Dalcroze Eurythmics method. (It’s a method that teaches music through movement.) I don’t remember what inspired it exactly, but I thought it would be fun to write a song about monsters that was NOT scary, since so many kids are afraid of monsters.

[RELATED: Superhero Mom Laurie Berkner: 20 Years of Making Cool Tunes in the Ever-Evolving Kids Music Soundscape]

Rockmommy: How old is your daughter now? Is she a music person, or does she help you out in any way with Laurie Berkner Band stuff?

Laurie Berkner: She is 14 now and sings, plays the drums, and writes songs on the ukulele. She is always happy to give me feedback on a song or anything else I’m working on, and she also sometimes works in my office. Right now she is officially in charge of taking pictures and video for my Instagram story!

Rockmommy: You have really great staying power — my kids always come back to you and your music. Why do you think they relate to your songs so well?

Laurie Berkner: That is a great question … I’m not really sure, other than that I really try to write a lot of my songs from a kids’ perspective. I think that creates a feeling of ownership, of the music really being theirs. I also try to make sure there is always at least one thing in each song that kids can really connect to, like a movement or an image or a rhythm.

Rockmommy: What other news is going on? What kind of shows are you playing?

Laurie Berkner: My big news is that I just created a new audio series for! It’s called Laurie Berkner’s Song and Story Kitchen, and it’s ten different stories with music that I wrote and narrated, featuring characters from my songs like Oscar Beebee the Bumblebee and Victor Vito and Freddie Vasco who are ferret cousins. Each story starts and ends in my song and story kitchen where I make something yummy with my friend, Thelonius Pig (acted by Josiah Gaffney).


Laurie Berkner’s Song and Story Kitchen

I also have a bunch of special themed shows coming up. Halloween shows in New York and California in October, and winter holiday shows with the whole band in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in December.

Rockmommy: Also, let’s say guitar-playing moms want to write songs for/with their own kids. Any suggestions on how to start that process?

Laurie Berkner: I think the best way to write a song for kids is to listen to what they are saying, watch what they’re doing, and think about what they enjoy. Then use those things as inspiration to develop songs that are relevant and interesting to them. And try singing the songs with them while you’re writing them!  You’ll see right away what works and what doesn’t.

For more on Laurie’s show dates, visit

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy.

Collette McLafferty Finds Her Most Powerful Voice in The Wake of $10 Million Pink Cover Band Lawsuit

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

With her eye-catching red hair and spectacular, soaring vocals, New York City siren Collette McLafferty was one of the most sought-after Big Apple singers in the early 2000s, when she transplanted to the city and founded her indie band edibleRed.

And while her story never ended in sold-out arena tours on the level of Lady Gaga, she got a lot further than me and most of my peers. At the band’s peak, around 2004, edibleRed was a staple of Lower Manhattan nightclubs and a favorite of the MTV Buzzworthy crowd.

But shortly thereafter, the music industry started to favor teen pop singers over gals strumming guitars. After shedding tears over the end of an era (and her band), Collette decided to pursue session work, and was invited to join several lucrative cover bands. It wasn’t original music, but for a singer in her mid-30s in a super-competitive marketplace, it was a pretty sweet life that paid the rent. 


Collette McLafferty’s new memoir “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” is out now.

In 2014, when Collette was asked to sing for a P!NK cover band on a temporary basis by a seemingly nice guy named Rik who’d auditioned for edibleRed years before, it seemed like a no brainer. A short-term freelance project with no strings attached. But then the guy’s lawyer buddy (Charles Bonfante) got wind of the project and filed a lawsuit to the tune of $10 million, claiming Collette co-conspired to steal his idea for a Long Island P!NK tribute band. [You can read the actual lawsuit by clicking here]. 

The 112-page lawsuit caught the attention of media outlets like the New York Post — but that only seemed to make things worse. Although the lawsuit was riddled with insults against Collette for her voice and appearance, it never mentioned Collette’s age (she was over 30, which was ancient for pop stars). Still, click-bait headlines like “Singer Sued for Being Too Old and Ugly” dominated the search engines. 

Embarrassed and angry, Collette was determined to fight this off, clear her name and rise above the naysayers — ultimately to prove that a woman doesn’t have to stop singing the minute she turns 30 (or 40, or even 50).

Four years later, Collette’s determination has exceeded her own expectations. In addition to becoming one of the most vocal advocates against frivolous lawsuits, Collette’s penned a memoir about her experience, and racked up tons of new EDM singing gigs. Oh, and she’s working on a new album out, too, called “42.” 

I recently caught up with Collette in Manhattan to chat about the insanity of what she now calls “P!NK Tributegate,” and some of the lessons she hopes to pass on from that crazy experience. Her memoir, Confessions of a Bad Ugly Singer (New Haven Publishing) is out now, and it’s incredible. [Rockmommy reached out to Mr. Bonfante on Friday morning at 11:30 a.m. regarding this memoir. He said he had “no comment” for this article].

I read the book in two sittings, and identify with everything Collete talks about— the ageism and the sexism that’s inherent in the music industry as well as the beautiful opportunities that lie ahead if you open your mind to what’s possible. 

Here, Collette herself tells it better than anyone else: 

Rockmommy: When you first came to New York and started performing, what were your biggest fears and about making it as a musician?

Collette McLafferty: To be honest, I was pretty fearless when I first started. I was a rock star in my head; it was only a matter of time until everyone knew it. My biggest fear was that I would get signed and shelved or critically panned (the latter became true). Other then that, I was convinced I would be a rock star. Oddly, I’m glad that didn’t happen because I had so many life lessons I needed to learn. To be fair, a lot of musicians in the New York music scene had that mindset. We all thought we were on the verge of blowing up. You kind of had to think that way, as the scene could be cutthroat sometimes. This was back in the day when record labels had more power and we actually needed them. There was no YouTube, no Spotify. You couldn’t make a music video on your cell phone. As I started getting into the industry on a larger level, I noticed the values I was asked to embody didn’t line up with the real me. I was told to never have a female-fronted band open for us or make sure to cleverly disguise my real age in interviews.

Rockmommy: You talk in your book about how your music was a big hit in the early 2000s when every label in the country wanted to sign alt-rock girls with guitars. When did you realize the tides were turning, with the resurgence of teenage pop music?

Collette McLafferty: The Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys paved the way during the Lilith Fair era, but Britney [Spears] changed the game. Her sales went through the roof in a way the industry had never experienced before. During the wave of angsty female pop, edibleRed was just getting started. Labels were looking for bands like us to ride the wave of Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Tracy Bonham, Garbage, and No Doubt. By the time we were ready to go pro, the industry changed overnight. I remember watching Melissa Etheridge, Paula Cole and Shawn Colvin give an award to Christina Aguilera. You could see the changing of the guard right there on TV. It happened in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, the same executives who told me I was young and promising at 26 were now informing me my time had passed. The women who dominated commercial radio in the late ’90s completely vanished. Rock bands were dropped by their labels en masse. It felt like an apocalypse of sorts. As new female artists got younger, women my age started to get shamed for existing. This wasn’t a thing when I was growing up. I was used to seeing rock stars on their thirties, forties and beyond.


New York City singer Collette McLafferty’s memoir, “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” chronicles her journey from gawky adolescent to MTV and the lawsuit that almost destroyed her.

Rockommy: Can you talk about your feelings in transitioning from edibleRed to gigging in cover bands? You describe some pretty powerful emotions when one of your bandmates got married, as the end of an era.

Collette McLafferty: To this day, I am so embarrassed that I couldn’t stop crying at [my drummer] Tom’s wedding for all the WRONG reasons! Everyone in the band was growing up in a way that I wasn’t. They were moving on to bigger bands, 9-to-5 jobs, spouses and kids. I was obsessed with edibleRed and making a career out of the band. It never occurred to me that the band might not take over the world. I had put every egg in this basket for 10 years and didn’t have much of a life outside the band — edibleRed WAS my life. I worked on the band morning, noon, and night. I realized I had to let everyone move on to their new chapters even if I felt left behind. We had many milestones: we played for 10,000 people, had our 15 minutes on MTV Buzzworthy and got a record deal — but the industry was going through a shake up. We weren’t hitting the big time, and we couldn’t keep living the starving artist lifestyle. It was time to grow up and I didn’t want to. Dave Eggar (a former edibleRed cellist who now tours with Evanescence) gave me some pretty solid advice. Even though we flopped on a commercial level, just getting signed and having a record come out was a win. He convinced me to leverage the experience for a solo career or session career down the line. He was right. Once our cover of “Hey Ya” got its lightening-fast nod from MTV, booking singing work was a breeze. I sang on commercials, records at weddings and in cover bands. I was constantly booked. There was only one thing I loved more then singing. That was singing and getting paid.

Rockmommy: Your name was dragged into a lawsuit over a PINK cover band, and although you had never met Chuck [Bonfante, the guy who sued you], the fact that you were called a co-conspirator was shocking. As the case dragged on, were there moments you thought it would never end?

Collette McLafferty: During the two years of litigation I felt as if my life was on hold. My happiness was on hold. My sense of peace was on hold. My sanity was on hold. In the beginning, I thought I would go to court, the judge would laugh and it would be over. At first I thought every court date would be the last court date. The lawsuit was so stupid, I couldn’t imagine the court system allowing it to continue to take up space. I didn’t realize that a court case could take years. Because  I was sued by a lawyer representing himself, he had the power to keep me in the system indefinitely. I have spoken to people who have been in cases for ten years! It’s insane. The sense of not knowing when or how it would end drove me to some pretty dark places. I would start my day with a cup of coffee walking down the street and having an actual out-loud conversation cursing out Chuck! It wasn’t pretty. When I realized it could be a years-long battle, I started day drinking and telling every Lower East Side bartender about my troubles. Imagine the top 5 most stressful days of your life. Now imagine those 5 days elongated to 2 years. It felt like hell on earth.

Rockmommy: Do you regret your decision to reach out to the New York Post because of the way they interpreted your story and used an unflattering and inaccurate headline to drive “clicks”?

Collette McLafferty: I don’t regret calling the New York Post at all! Chuck painted me into a corner. He initially wouldn’t let me out of the case even though I had done nothing wrong. I missed my first filing deadline because I didn’t know what I was doing. By the time I got representation, my lawyer asked Chuck for an extension to answer. Chuck denied it and told Martin (Kera, my first lawyer) that it was because of Rik that I found myself in the “unenviable position of being in his cross hairs” and that if I thought getting sued once was inconvenient I would “certainly hate a second lawsuit for defamation of character” due to the fact that Rik was trashing him on Facebook. He basically admitted in writing that he was going after me because of someone else’s actions.

At this point there is no way out. Calling the press was an absolute necessity, it definitely wasn’t something I wanted to do. I was six weeks into litigation and my legal bills were over $3,200. I was also living in construction and Chuck’s case was delaying my move. I asked Martin if I should go to the press. Martin and I agreed that if we got the case a quick blurb in the paper, Chuck would drop it. We were right. A couple hours after the New York Post ran the bogus headline “Singer Sued for Being Too Old and Too Ugly For P!NK Cover Band”, Chuck called Martin to drop it. This was after 6 weeks of sheer torture from a man who made it clear he wanted to keep me in the system.

I was initially very grateful to the New York Post for this. Chuck had a stipulation: he wanted me to sign a nondisclosure and act as if nothing happened. When I insisted he pay my legal fees and damages, he offered half!! Out of self respect I had to decline and fight this to the end. I was actually shocked that they took the angle they did because the real story was more interesting.

Rockmommy: If you could swap another headline for that one, what would it be?

Collette McLafferty: Disclaimer: I am not a headline writer, but I’ll give it a shot:

  1. “Two men in their 50s fight over a P!NK Tribute Band after Elder Fraud Investigation by Chase Bank” 
  2. “Rik and Chuck: the real life Steel Dragon.” 
  3. “Personal Injury Attorney Bludgeons Cover Band Singer with Legal Fees” (from my lawyer Martin) 
  4. “Grown-ass man and personal injury attorney refers to former best friend, bandmate and client as a ‘sleazy crony’ in 112-page legal document.”
  5. “Two Men Fight Like Tiny Toddlers”! (My favorite,  from an actress named Corbette Pasko).

Rockmommy: What is the biggest silver lining in this whole lawsuit? Is it Collette’s Law? A sense of empowerment in the #metoo era?

Collette McLafferty: I think the silver lining is that I’m not dead. Statistically, I was supposed to crumble. I was supposed to lose and get clobbered. I took on a lawyer, major media outlets and The Trial Lawyers’ Lobby. The upper echelons of the music industry turned its collective back on me by refusing to acknowledge any of this happened. While I could see many people supported me, it felt like the world was against me. I felt suicidal, but stayed alive because I had two senior rescue cats to feed. They needed me and that was enough. I had always hoped that P!NK Tributegate would have some epic ending …. Chuck would publicly apologize, P!NK would finally make a statement, Collette’s Law would pass…someone would make a Lifetime for Women made for TV movie… none of those things have happened yet. So the desire to live is my happy ending.  Beyond that, many people know a whole lot more about the legal system then they did before as a result of my case. I definitely feel empowered.

The “me too” movement goes way beyond sexual assault. Women have been “mind assaulted” by a certain sector of the mainstream media for decades now. Eating disorders wouldn’t exist without the endless berating, age-and-looks shaming we have experienced endlessly, day after day. The New York Post headline “Singer Sued for Being Too Old and Too Ugly for P!NK Cover Band”, represents an outdated view of women, one that we are not tolerating anymore.

Rockmmommy: Are you gigging again? What are your plans now that this whole ordeal is over?

Collette McLafferty: I started working on a pop/electronica album called “42” back in 2015. When I was about 90 percent done, I was hit with another round of legal fees. It completely derailed the project, so I am hoping to finish that soon. My passion right now is studio work, so that is where my focus will be. My dream is to move somewhere dirt cheap, build a studio and make music all day. Over the last few years I have been working as a vocalist in the EDM scene. I’ve worked with producers all over the world, most of them I have never met! I’m looking forward to taking that to the stage when the time is right.

I’m going to debut a couple songs at The Parkside Lounge on Oct 17th! I will be reading a couple chapters from “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” and playing some songs that are mentioned in the book. It will be me and a guitar and a couple of friends on stage with me. I have thought about potentially turning “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” into a musical. There has also been some very early interest in a potential movie, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. If there is anything I have learned, plans are fluid. Nothing ever turns out exactly as planned, so I am trying to keep an open mind as to what the next chapter entails!

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy. 

Rock Dad Zach Parkman on Juggling 2 Bands, Finding Inspiration and Becoming a New Dad

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

It’s not often that I’m surprisingly blown away by acoustic-guitar duos. I’ve seen so many bands, time and time again, and always enjoy live music. But it takes something special to get my attention. 


Singer-guitarist Zach Parkland with his baby daughter.

Zach Parkman is something, or rather someone, special, I discovered a couple of Saturdays ago, when my band Grandma’s Mini played an intimate set with his band The Darkest Timeline at the Silver Spring, Md.-based Record Exchange. The band, which he started with the equally brilliant D.C.-area local Juels Bland, brings him into the Nation’s Capital every so often, to play melodic, passionate sets at little clubs. 

Shortly after The Darkest Timeline’s 9/22 set at the Record Exchange, I learned that the talented Zach is also a new dad, and plays for second band, Bad Robot Jones, in Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife and baby. 

Here, Zach reflects on his musical projects and discusses how fatherhood’s changed his life. 

Rockmommy: Can you tell us about your musical evolution — how long have you been performing and playing? 

Zach Parkman: I started playing guitar in high school, around age 13 or 14. It was the early 1990s, so grunge was king and I was a skateboarder and was really into bands like Operation Ivy, Fugazi and NOFX. At the same time I was listening to my parents LPs from the 60s and 70s, so really being influenced by The Beatles, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, etc. These to competing dichotomies have followed me throughout the my musical evolution right up to today.

Rockmommy: We recently met when your band The Darkest Timeline played in Silver Spring. How did you and Juels meet? How did that band come to be? 

Zach Parkman: So, I’m in a couple of projects. The Darkest Timeline is an acoustic duo (sometimes electrified foursome) with DC area songwriter Juels Bland. While living in Takoma Park, Md., a suburb of Washington D.C., I found myself at one of Rob Hinkal’s many open mics and saw this dapper and dour songwriter get up and just blow everybody away. We briefly introduced ourselves to one another and nothing else was said, but we both kept running into each other at songwriter showcases and open mics and bonded over our shared taste in music and geeky pop culture. Fast forward a year, Juels was starting a band and I asked if he needed a guitar player and the rest is history. Needless to say our sound has evolved over the years from more of a blues-based electric band to a more brooding, melancholy acoustic sound with harmonies and themes about space and murder. My other project is a band called Bad Robot Jones, which is a sci-fi rock/indie-prog trio with bassist Doogie Whittaker and drummer Joey Jenkins (who was the original drummer for The Darkest Timeline and also drummer for ilyAIMY). This is a much heavier band, drawing influences from punk, prog and metal. 

Rockmommy: Is it hard to play when you both live in different cities in different states? 

Zach Parkman: Juels and I have been playing together so long that we can jump into a set without much practice. It is difficult adding new material to the set and of course traveling to gigs can be time consuming (and an added crunch to an already full schedule with a new baby). We usually try to book an equal number of shows in the NYC and DC areas to keep things egalitarian and fair. With Bad Robot Jones things are a little more complex. First off, it is an electric band, so equipment comes into play. Secondly, Doogie and I are both fathers so schedules can be tough to sink up. Third, Joey is a full-time musician in several bands, so that can be a challenging hurdle. I usually schedule as much into my weekend travels down to DC as I can (i.e., if I have a gig with The Darkest Timeline on Saturday, I will try to schedule a rehearsal with Bad Robot Jones for Sunday). All in all we make it work. I love making different kinds of music with different kinds of people.

Rockmommy: You recently became a dad. What’s that been like? 

Zach Parkman: I can’t even begin to describe the amount of joy or daughter has brought into our lives. The dividing line between life without children and life with is pretty drastic and severe. I think I was frightened for the longest time of having children (lack of sleep, no more “me” time, causing them irreparable harm), but at some point the desire to share in the upbringing of another human being with my wife outweighed that fear. I’m so glad that it did. When I saw my daughter for the first time I felt molecularly changed. Everything about my perspective shifted. I’m still the same jack-ass that I was before, but I’m an elevated jack-ass. I’ve leveled up. 

Rockmommy: How do you find time to practice? Any tips? 

Zach Parkman: Every other year, starting in 2013, I write a song a week (so 2013, 2015, 2017 and next year 2019). This has really helped me to break out of the “only writing when I felt inspired” habit. It’s forced me to sit down and focus on being creative, which was alien to me. Now, regardless of how I am feeling, I can sit down and start the writing process and get myself into that creative space without having to wait for it to appear magically. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised. That has really helped with my musical and creative discipline. I find it very easy to write or practice in the small increments of time that a busy life in NYC allows or the small increments of time that a baby allows. I highly recommend finding some kind or ritual or regimen like that. It may seem daunting at first, but stick with it and after time it becomes second nature.

For more information on Zach’s upcoming gigs, visit The Darkest Timeline’s web page (or go here for info about Bad Robot Jones if prog-rock with sci-fi themes is your thing). To hear more of Zach’s solo stuff, visit his personal bandcamp page.