About rockmommyct

I am a mother, writer, rock and roll musician, and guitar teacher.

Ladies Rock Camp: A Badass, Three-Day Rockin’ Mommy Getaway

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

As you know, summers fill up fast! But if you’re aching for a couple of days to yourself to do something creative, rather than the usual mommy-spa-or-Vegas girlfriends getaway, consider Ladies Rock Camp.

Ladies Rock Camp is a three-day event, held at various locations throughout the country, which serves two purposes: 1.) to give women the chance to try a new instrument/form a band in a nurturing, non-intimidating, testosterone-laden environment, and 2.) support respective girls’ rock camps all over the country.

The New York-area LRC, which benefits the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls (also in NYC), will be held June 24-26, 2016, at The Blue School, located in Lower Manhattan at 241 Water Street, NY, NY. Enrollment is still open, but filling up fast, so grab your spot!

As a former teacher for LRC (I taught vocals at the grown-up camp, and guitar at the girls’ camp), I can attest to how awesome it is. Everyone who attended — whether they’d been in a band before and decided to try a new instrument or never played at all — had a fabulous time learning, jamming, and mingling with the other ladies. Some brought friends, but you don’t need a buddy to go — just an open mind and a positive attitude.

As noted, proceeds benefit the respective girls’ rock camps linked with each LRC.

If you’re not in the New York area, that’s OK, too. There are tons of other options for 2016 and 2017. Bookmark these links to the respective ladies rock camps in different cities so you can stay up to date on the camp nearest you:

Boston

Los Angeles

Seattle

Philadelphia 

Portland, Oregon

—- Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a writer, guitar teacher, mom, and the founder of Rockmommy.

Eight Cool Father’s Day Gifts for the Rockdaddy in Your Life

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Most days, we’re all about the rockmommy — like the mama who nurses/bottle-feeds her babe while playing the drums with her 5-year-old, or the one who spent the last weekend helping her grade-schooler master the G chord.

But in June, we’re all about the dudes for Father’s Day. If the papa in your life is a rock daddy — or wants to be one — here are six gifts he’ll love more than a Gap card.

Moby’s memoir

1. Bamboo Guitar cutting board, $23.99: What better way to chop up some fresh veggies than with this cool cutting board shaped like dad’s electric guitar?

2. Audioengine HD6 Premium Powered Speakers, $750: Whether Dad loves Led Zeppelin, Prince, or Pink, he’ll have a blast listening to his favorite tunes on this badass speaker set with built-in amplifiers.

Audioengine HD6 Premium Powered Speakers

3. Toca Freestyle ColorSound Djembe drum, $29.99. Get dada his own drum like this seven-inch, metallic red one, so he can play buy the fire, or jam with the kids (they’ll love it too!).

4. Rock and Roll Guitar Bottle Opener, $14.99: Dad will love having his favorite fizzy drink or beer with a vintage-looking bottle opener that celebrates his rock-and-roll style!

5. Moby’s Porcelain: A Memoir, $16.27: Give the father in your life a great beach read. DJ Moby’s newly released, highly rated memoir promises a “piercingly tender, funny, and harrowing account of the path from suburban poverty and alienation to a life of beauty, squalor and unlikely success out of the NYC club scene of the late ’80s and ’90s.”

Rock n’ Roll Guitar Bottle Opener

6. Drummer luggage tag, $11.15: If dad’s a “Travelin’ Man” — and one who happens to play drums — this is the perfect little gift to show him you’re thinking of him when he’s not behind the kit. Plus, it’s a cool way to ensure dad’s luggage stands out in an airport’s baggage claim area.

7. Bruce Springsteen Framed Photo Collage, $44.99: Remind pops of how much fun he had at the last Springsteen show he attended. Seeing this cool collage on the walls will lift his spirits during diaper duty.

8. Vans C&L Old Skool sneakers, $65: If daddy is nostalgic for the days he enjoyed the Vans Warped Tour, these cool kicks will help him feel at home again.
—- Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a writer, guitar teacher, mom, and the founder of Rockmommy.

This Weekend in Philly: Rocker Moms Get Their Music On for a Truly Empowering and Cool Event

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Philadelphia is overflowing with great music shows and one-of-a-kind arts events — so many, in fact, that it’s hard to pin down just one thing to do over the weekend. But if you’re a parent who wants to support other parents — or if you’re looking for something you’ve never seen before — we’ve got the “to do” for you, literally.

RABIES SHOT plays their debut show at this weekend’s First Time’s a Charm Showcase, which benefits Girls Rock Philly.

On Saturday, June 4, punk-rock-influenced band RABIES SHOT — a brand new, four-piece group headed by the mom-and-pop team of Eleni K. and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Howze, along with keys/sax/backup vocalist Yoni Kroll, and vocalist/keyboardist Charles Smith — is playing the First Time’s a Charm showcase, an event that is centered on the contributions of female-identified, trans* and queer folks and people of color in the DIY/punk community in Philadelphia.

The showcase is just what the name suggests: A sonic experience featuring new musical projects by groups who meet at least two of the following criteria: 1. one or more members that identify as female, trans, queer, and/or a person of color; 2. one or more members of a band playing for the first time; and 3. one or more members of the band playing an instrument they have never played before. Proceeds of the $10 event, to be held at PhilaMOCA on Friday, June 3 & Saturday, June 4, will benefit Girls Rock Philly.

We’ve got our eye on RABIES SHOT — which Howze describes as a “heavy, electronic punk band” — because it’s the first time Eleni, who shares son Thomas, 2, and daughter Stella, 5, with him, will play an instrument at a show. It’s also total proof that becoming a mom doesn’t mean you have to quit your creative life!

“Eleni taught herself to play bass after the kids went to bed over the last 10 months or so, having never played an instrument,” Howze tells Rockmommy. “I own a recording and rehearsal studio so we started going to the studio once a week when we had a sitter instead of ‘date nights’ and she wrote a few songs with me on drums and guitar. That stuff is sitting on the shelf.”

Want to hear more?

Check out this stream of the RABIES SHOT demo. The band’s debut EP will be available for download/purchase this weekend!

— Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a writer, guitar teacher, mom, and the founder of Rockmommy.

How to Win a Signed Copy of Kim Gordon’s ‘Girl in a Band’

I love a good rock n’ roll biography, and Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, has put out so many of my favorite rocker mom tell-alls! And the most well-written and compelling memoir, by far, is Sonic Youth bassist-singer Kim Gordon’s “Girl in a Band.”

Gordon’s book tells the tale of an aspiring art student with an interesting family and cool friends who, by way of luck and talent, finds her way into the NYC’s 1980s punk- and indie-rock scene.

Kim Gordon’s “Girl in a Band”

The story unfolds as we are taken into her romance with bandmate Thurston Moore, her journey into motherhood and music, and the unravelling of her personal life years later. It’s a cathartic and beautiful story of a true art-rock visionary.

If you don’t have a copy of GIAB already, now you can win one signed by Ms. Gordon herself!

Dey Street Books will give away one signed copy of “Girl in a Band” to a Rockmommy reader! You can enter to win in one of two ways, throughout the entire month of June 2016:

  1. Like our Facebook page (Go to facebook.com/rockmommy1 and hit the “Like” button)
  1. Post a comment at the end of this blog — either on rock and roll, motherhood, music, Kim Gordon, or life in general — and make sure it includes your name and e-mail address.

We’ll get back to you in July with a winner!*

*Disclaimer (because we have to have these things): Contest is unlikely to change, but subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Winner will be selected based on a random drawing of names, and chosen by Rockmommy.

Quickie Workout Moves For Rocker Moms (by a Rocker Mom/Personal Trainer)

Every mom I know has insisted “I don’t have time” when it comes to a million different things — from writing thank-you notes to playing shows to exercising. And I can totally relate! So my trick is to try to squeeze in the extra stuff (like exercising, or practicing my guitar) into the nooks and crannies of my day. I figure it’s better to do something for 10 or 15 minutes than not do it at all — which is a trigger for slacking off completely.

For time-pressed moms like me — and who among the child-rearing set isn’t time-pressed? — my friend, personal trainer and mom Sharissa Reichert, who plays the washboard and sings in the band Milf & Dilf, put together some great “quickie” exercise videos for Rockmommy.

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Our first exclusive, 3-minute video takes you through back lunges, ab work tailored to a mama’s post-baby body, and arm toning moves that’ll keep yours strong and sexy.

 

Why Rockin’ Mama — and Team Christina protégée — Alisan Porter Should Win The Voice

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

I got hooked on “The Voice” in Season 2, many years back, and will never forget the anger I felt when rocker Juliet Simms was denied victory. She should have won — critics knew it, her coach CeeLo knew it — but somehow Team Blake’s Jermaine Paul snagged the big prize (of course, Jermaine is a talented singer in his own right, but many of us expected Juliet to win!).

Since then, I’ve gotten excited over a handful of candidates — the standouts in my head are Matt McAndrew (Season 7, Team Adam), Cassadee Pope (Season 3, Team Blake), Michelle Chamuel (Season 4, Team Usher), and, of course, Jordan Smith (Season 9, Team Adam). All were the kind of candidates you just knew, at first listen, would make it to the finals (and they all did!).

I wasn’t planning on watching “The Voice” past the blind auditions this year, but something — rather, someone — captivated me in a way that few other “Voice” contestants have since Juliet Simms. I’m talking about Alisan Porter. Her rich, passionate, vocals are breathtakingly piercing — and utterly inspiring.

As many music and entertainment writers have noted, Alisan’s jaw-dropping vocals on her audition cover of Linda Ronstandt’s “Blue Bayou” — as well as Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby” and Aerosmith’s “Cryin’”– made her a true standout. A one in a million girl — and certainly someone who deserves the title of “The Voice” for the show’s 10th Season.

But while her voice is compelling, so is her personal story.

Alisan Porter’s entertainment career began in 1991, when the now 34-year-old mom of two scored a starring role in the movie Curly Sue. But instead of seeing her acting career take off, years later, Alisan found herself in the midst of alcohol addiction. And while she’s been sober for eight years, most of her energy up to this point has been focused on motherhood and marriage.

Should Alisan nab the victory on Tuesday night, it’ll represent a true comeback for someone who seems to truly deserve a comeback.

Another reason you should vote for Alisan Porter — either by downloading her song on iTunes, or voting for her on The Voice’s home page/app before Tuesday 10 a.m. ET — is that no one else like her has won the show. Finalist Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell) is the 20-something gal who can sing anything (kind of like Cassadee Pope … and dozens of other contestants); and country singer Adam Wakefield, while talented, is  really just another version of Team Blake Season 7 winner Craig Wayne Boyd.

My second choice for winner, Iraqi-American bluesman Laith Al-Saadi, is also a true original — with his bellowing, big voice and out-of-this-world guitar soloing ability. But the show is called “The Voice” for a reason (no offense to guitarists!). A winner should bring something unique to the collective pop-rock vocal soundscape as well as a powerful contribution to the world of popular music.

Finally, it would be nice to see a female coach actually win this thing for once — especially someone as talented and nurturing as Christina Aguilera. The female coaches have the odds stacked against them on this show, since every season has only allowed for one female spot (and, as it looks, one minority spot), while bro-mancers Adam Levine and Blake Shelton remain the big mainstays. As a side note, wild gal Miley Cyrus and R&B piano mama Alicia Keys are sliding into the new judge slots for Season 11, replacing Pharrell and Christina Aguilera, so that should shake things up a bit!

Those of you who don’t follow the show should take a few minutes to listen to Alisan Porter for yourself (just do it before Tuesday!). I’d be shocked if any person, rockmommy or not, isn’t moved by her vocals and her presence.

The Voice Season 10 Final airs Monday, May 23, 2016, at 8 p.m. on NBC. For more on how to vote and download the official app of “The Voice,” check out the show’s home page.

— Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a writer, guitar teacher, mom, and the founder of Rockmommy.

I’m Not a Beyonce Fan, but Lemonade is Epic

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t a huge Beyonce fan back in the pre-2014 days, when the pop diva’s biggest hit was the cheesy bachelorette-party anthem “Single Ladies.” I like my music with a lot of edge, lyrically, musically, and vocally, and while Beyonce’s got the pipes, tracks like “Irreplaceable” didn’t deliver an earth-shattering sonic experience.

Beyonce’s “Lemonade” is one of the best records by a rockmommy — or anyone, really! 

My feelings about Bey started to shift when, in 2013, I watched her rock the stage at the Super Bowl Halftime Show: Here was this powerful mama, flanked by an all-girl rock band, doing her thing with those curves and that voice. Months later, I downloaded “Drunk in Love,” her salacious duet with hubby Jay Z. It’s still one of my favorites.

Fast forward to 2016, when I’m hitting my midlife stride in the thick of marriage and young children — an experience that Beyonce, wife of Jay Z and mama of Blue Ivy, totally gets. As such, “Lemonade,” Beyonce’s 12-track album and one-hour video experience, is as profound and transformative as reviewers like Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield have promised.

Until I heard “Lemonade,” I had no plans to ever download anything by Beyonce, ever. But so many of my friends and musician peers rhapsodized about its profound artistry, seething-wife lyrics, and creative collaborations that I couldn’t help myself.

Kicking off with the etherial, captivating Pray You Catch Me,” “Lemonade” takes the listener on a journey through anger and redemption (albeit, one that occasionally reminds me of lesser-known artist Imani Coppola). It’s hard to pick the best track, but I’m particularly drawn to “Hold Up,” with its hypnotic tempo and catchy pre-chorus (“Hold up, they don’t love you like I love you … slow down, they don’t love you like I love you…”). My other favorite, so far, is the rock-guitar-heavy Jack White collaboration Don’t Hurt Yourself, where she sings (presumably to Jay Z), Who the fuck do you think I am? You ain’t married to no average bitch, boy.”

Beyonce delivers the unexpected with these, as well as the country ditty “Daddy Lessons” and the eerie, trip-hoppy tune “6 Inches,” which features one of my favorite new artists The Weeknd.

While much of “Lemonade” flows with sultry vengeance and feminist undertones, Beyonce makes a powerful nod to racial inequality in “Formation” and the experience of African American women in “Freedom.” 

And still, the more I listen, the more I discover. I’ve only owned this record for a few days, and I’ve already listened to it something like six times, each time unearthing some new gem or insight. That’s the mark of great art — you always take away something fresh from every encounter.

So seriously, download “Lemonade” now. You’ll be rockin’ out and hailing this pop-turned-rock-but-still-pop mother for weeks to come.

—- Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a writer, guitar teacher, mom, and the founder of Rockmommy.