JOY ROSEis one of a kind. I knew I had a unique connection with her before we even met because my middle name is “Joy” and my Grandmother’s name was Rose!
After meeting at a MaMaPaLooZa gig on the waterfront on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, I knew I was hooked. It was my first time joining this festival, I felt so honored to be counted as a mom that rocked! I found my new religion with Joy at the helm… she has continued to inspire, celebrate and give Moms all the glitter, respect and pizazz they deserve.
I recently caught up with this mom of four — where Zena (26), Brody (31) and Blaze (29), are gathering in Florida to support their brother, Ali Marpet (27), Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive lineman, who is heading to the Super Bowl.
Rockmommy: What have you been doing these days?
Joy Rose:I am greatly looking forward to a better and brighter 2021! I spent the summer farming a remote plot of land during the summer season, and then trying to survive the ‘vid’ as I circled back to New York, all while mentoring interns at the Museum of Motherhood, and cultivating personal creativity whenever possible.
Rockmommy: Meeting you for me was love at first sight with MAMAPALOOZA. How did you come up with this concept?
Joy Rose:The feeling is mutual. The concept for Mamapalooza was born out of multiple brainstorming sessions with friends about how to address the absent voices of women in the arts at the time. I write about this in my chapter in Motherhood and Music for Demeter Press (2018). One of the things that made Mamapalooza so amazing for me was that I was (and remain) an authentic fan of each of the women I promoted.
Their courage, fortitude, creativity, and ability wowed me again and again. We all came together at a very special time in the world when our generation of women, born and raised out of the feminist movement of the 1970s, emerged into motherhood in the 80s and 90s believing Helen Reddy’s anthem “we are women, hear us roar.”
We were all hungry to connect, poised to make noise, and ready for the challenges that came from both the personal and professional world.
Rockmommy: You have been a pioneer for moms in my eyes for Museum of Motherhood, can you elaborate on this endeavor?
Joy Rose:Women have a sad history of being “disappeared”. We make advances, get written out of the books, and the patriarchy goes marching on. MOM is committed to putting Motherhood on the map by elucidating the art, science, and history of m/others. We’ve done a LOT to champion the art and the scholarship of motherhood in the last 20 years. By curating these knowledge(s), I aim to keep these advances and reflections available to those interested in the subject. It’s important for me to also state that I am as invested in championing the subject as I am in deconstructing persistent and damaging stereotypes. There is no one perfect mother. There is no perfect family. We are all on a journey of discovery.
Rockmommy: Are you making any new music?
Joy Rose:I’m writing songs for my new grandbaby, but that’s about it. I am still very interested in hearing other people’s music though, so send it to me!
Rockmommy: What about playing out? Do you see ever in the future?
Joy Rose:I am currently gestating on an art/music/performance project. It needs to be something visible and international and I’m starting to mentally gather people. However, let me also be honest that it is very difficult to do everything and the museum keeps me extremely busy.
Rockmommy: Tell us something we don’t know about you?
Joy Rose: I’m very shy. It takes everything in my soul to step out into the public arena as I am extremely insecure. I also went back to graduate school in 2014 earning my Master’s in Mother Studies from the Women and Gender Studies Dept. at CUNY The Graduate Center in NY (2015).
Rockmommy: What’s the greatest part about being a rockmommy?
Joy Rose: Making noise. Raising your voice and speaking your truth is the most important thing! It’s the equivalent of shining your soul light. Don’t die with the music still inside you. I dragged myself onto the stage, trembling, doubting, and ultimately victorious by standing with my two feet on the ground and lifting my throat to the stars and then sharing those victories with others.
Rew Starr is an actor and musician in who lives in New York.
The first time I met Alan Merrill was on my show ‘Rewbee’s World.’ My friend Jo Brat said she’d recently met him at a random party and I needed to get him on the show since he was the actual songwriter who wrote ‘I Love Rock N’ Roll.’ It’s incredible how everyone reacts in surprise when they hear that.
That first meeting was more than a decade ago, but it was LOVE at first sight, in a way. Alan immediately adopted me as his sister… he always told me my ‘Rew’ sticker was the only sticker he ever had on his guitar case… I miss him and think about him every day. He passed away in early Spring 2020 due to complications stemming from the coronavirus.
I recently caught up with his daughter, Laura Merrill, a creative soul in her own right, to talk about Alan and his legacy.
Rew Starr: I want to say how sorry I am for your loss. Alan your dad was very special to me and zillions of others. How are you doing?
Laura Merrill: Thank you Rew. I’ve been OK and slowly adjusting to the new normal. Life without my father is very strange.
He was and has always been someone I could turn to for advice and guidance… especially during a worldwide pandemic. Everyone knew him as a rockstar and to me he was always Daddy.
Rew Starr: How old were you when you realized your Dad was a Rockstar?
Laura Merrill: Well it must’ve been when I started school because he was always the one to drop us off and pick us up. I didn’t realize how different he was from the other parents until he was in the crowd of them at the end of the day waiting to pick us up. He stayed true to himself and wore his leopard spandex, bullet belt, ripped T-shirt and pink headband in the school yard to greet us.
We grew up with music being played and recorded around us since we were born so that wasn’t abnormal. It was the reaction of the other students and especially the moms drooling over him that I started to realize he was… special and a Rockstar.
Rew Starr: When did you understand the impact of his work?
Laura Merrill: It was when I’d hear ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ everywhere. In the grocery store, gym, doctor’s waiting room, everywhere and of course on TV.
Rew Starr: Your Dad was a groundbreaker in so many ways — TV, music, being a Dad spreading love. Did you inherit some of this passion? Is there any favorite thing about him you have?
Laura Merrill: Yes he definitely was a groundbreaker and marched to his own beat. I inherited a lot from him. My love for music, art and fashion. Our humor is exactly the same. Our love and understanding of social media. But mostly his heart, we are very much alike in matters of love and our view on life. That was my favorite thing about my father, his loving nature and the way he made everyone feel like they were family. I’d admire his kindness from afar and I hope to carry that on and share it in my life.
Rew Starr: What do you think he wants to see you accomplish?
Laura Merrill: I think he just wants to see me be happy and successful. Make a mark with my artistry. He was always my biggest cheerleader. I’m sure he’d like me to keep his legacy going. I work hard every day to stay true to my artistry as did he.
Rew Starr: ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ is an anthem for the entire world. How did that make him feel? How did that make you feel?
Laura Merrill: It made him feel amazing. He knew what he had accomplished and wanted the world to know he was the man behind the music. Unfortunately, he accomplished that more in his death than his life but *sigh*…isn’t that the life of a true artist? For me, it makes me so eternally proud of him.
Rew Starr: Are you making any new music?
Laura Merrill: I do write here and there but have turned my creativity towards photography and art. It’s helped me cope with the loss of my father. Songwriting is so personal and perhaps when things settle down I’ll return to it. He would’ve wanted that as he was my biggest supporter.
My father really instilled such a love for music in my soul. I can’t breathe without it. It has the ability to shape my mood.
Rew Starr: Tell me about your photography? Your ART….
Laura Merrill: My photography and art at the moment celebrate femininity and the female body. I’ve always thought the shapes — dark and light of female nudity — to be so beautiful. I photograph it along with many self portraits, and paint it as well. I think a lot of my art is my mother’s influence. She was a model in a time where people were free to express themselves. I want to embrace that freedom.
Rew Starr: Tell us something we don’t know about you?
Laura Merrill: I am ambidextrous. I hate anything to do with math and still count on my fingers.
Rew Starr: What’s the greatest part about being a rockdaughter?
Laura Merrill: The best thing — and I didn’t realize this until after my father passed — is that with his success and now that he’s gone…he is still all around. People and fans posting videos, songs and photos I’ve never seen online. It’s like he’s visiting and still here. I’m lucky in that way I guess.
Every time I hear “I Love Rock and Roll” in a bar or on the radio it’s like him saying “I love you” from heaven.
Here’s a photo I took of him for his album just a few weeks before he died. It still feels like yesterday that he came over for the session. He brought several guitars and a ton of clothes. My brother was there as well and we just had such a great time. We were busting on my dad for some of his poses as kids usually do. He had a gig downtown just after the session and I went not knowing it would be the last time I’d see him play. He sounded amazing as always.
Days after the shoot he was rushing me to get the photos finished because he was so excited to get his album out. This is the photo he put on the inside of the CD and I really tried pushing him to make it the cover. The photo he chose pointing at the camera was a goof and I almost deleted it. It just goes to show what a silly character he is… always marching to his own beat.
Rew Starr is an actor, musician and mother who lives in New York City.
Playing rock n’ roll requires a lot of stamina. So does motherhood. This month, Rockmommy correspondent Rew Starr talks to NYC rocker mom Val Kinzler — a self-described cross between “Janis Joplin & Karen O” — about life, music and finding balance in a crazy world.
Rew Starr: How’s it going? What have you been doing these days?
Val Kinzler: I’m still adjusting to the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown. Living on the Lower East Side in NYC with my son and two pugs. I’ve been teaching music virtually — which still feels kind of strange — and hosting songwriting webinars. I work with an LBGTQ non-profit record label.
I also participated in a successful livestream fundraising effort to help save The Bitter End venue on Bleecker Street, which was produced by Room Full Of Music and Off Stage Tunes, and another livestream benefit for the NAACP via Tune Hatch.
Beyond that, I’ve been cooking, cleaning, eating, taking 8- to 10-mile walks with my son to avoid public transportation and trying to squeeze back into my skinny jeans!
RS: How is this different than pre-pandemic life?
VK: Prior to the pandemic, I co-curated a week long NYC Women Who Rock Fest in conjunction with Mike McHugh and New Century Booking that featured some awesome,
power house women artists including you! I’m amazed that we were able to complete all of the fest dates just before the lockdown!
RS: What about the kids? What does going back to school look like?
VK: Jesse is thirteen and actually did great with Google Classroom, and is still participating in online distance learning. Recently he informed me that after taking a “mental age calculation test” he is actually 27! So, I kind of feel like I have a “QuaranTEEN” and an adult child rolled into one!
RS: So tell us about your life. So how many bands have you been in? Is it more than boys you have been with or less? (laughs)
VK: This is a loaded question. I dissected and re-assembled the trajectory of my varied band experiences and realized there’s got to be a book penned by me eventually called “Road Kill!”
My earliest girl band was The Sirens, which played classic rock and Grateful Dead covers at Long Island colleges and bars, with a born-gain Christian manager who desperately wanted to “get to know us better,” and I went from there to my excuse for dropping out of college: a punk-pop all girl band called The Technical Virgins (i just received newly rendered live and studio tracks and a pending script/screen play for the “TV’s” that the singer/songwriter/bassist/flute player Susan Neuffer wrote). The TV’s played in the 1980’s at A7, with Marilyn and The Movie Stars and The Bad Brains, at Maxwells in Hoboken, CBGB’s on Valentine’s Day (we opened for the Sick F*cks) and at Queens College (on the bill with ISM) and other rock n roll joints that are long gone.
We had interest from the Go Go’s producer and I met with Sid Bernstein several times. Sid wanted to change our name. The founding TV’s said no. I still miss him, though.
After playing piano exclusively for years, I picked up the guitar because, I was moving from squat to squat on the Lower East Side, sometimes sleeping under a friend’s kitchen table.
I had to sell my piano and started writing a lot more on the guitar which proved to be a blessing because, with my limited chops, I was forced to keep my writing simple and more intuitive rather than getting sidetracked by riffing on the keys.
I joined open blues jams at places like Dan Lynch on Second Avenue between 13th and 14th Street where the Holmes Brothers, Joan Osborne, Jon Paris, Grant Green Jr., Harry Holt and others packed the joint. I also backed up some groups as a keyboard player — most notably, The Jive Five, which was really cool because, we’d play the oldies shows with Little Anthony, The Dixie Cups, Ronnie Spector and these singers and their tunes still remain timeless!
Valkyrie and The Vikabillys was my first all original band. But, I was still doing back-up gigs, singer-songwriter open mics and blues jams.
I played The Lone Star, Bitter End, Village Gate, Kenny’s Castaways, and after recording two projects, one with Popa Chubby (I still love those tracks!) and my debut East Third Street record produced by Genya Raven who also sang backgrounds with me.
Hilly Crystal (CBGB’s) came in to the studio to lay down the voiceover of the sanitation worker in “Alleyways Of Love,” a song I wrote about a hooker and a garbage man who fall in love when he spots her as he’s picking up the trash. That record landed me some cool gigs, I opened solo in California for Marty Balin and Chuck Negron at a show where Joe Walsh and Clapton were also booked.
After joining a heavy metal band called ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for a brief time, I then joined Blue Lagoon, a hard-hitting blues rock band, as their lead singer.
Eventually, my music evolved when I met Joe Vasta, who also became my romantic partner. Joe and I originally connected through Thommy Price, who I’d worked with in the 1990s.
My main band now is the Val Kinzler Band. David White whom I met and played with in King Bee and The Stingers, Joe Vasta, and Jon Ihle. We recorded our debut record “Nothing Sacred About Hatred” in Oklahoma for a Christian label. The label’s owner was busted for embezzlement but, we got a great record and two videos out of the deal! I refer to VKB as my grown-up band because we’ve all been there, and are done with “THAT!” I’ve also joined several other all-female groups.
RS: We met in the Dirty Mothers. You had a newborn. How were you so able to try anything even at that vulnerable state?
VK: Yes! I also remember Joey Zero years earlier when I was playing at Sun Mountain in the West Village insisting that I must meet his friend REW!
Joey booked us both at The Continental and after seeing you perform for the very first time, I totally understood why Joey wanted us to coordinate! I was totally psyched to learn that Kelly Britton and you had teamed up! Jesse was under a year old. I was not yet healed after having a cesarean section. But, it sure was a blast and I loved playing all of our original songs. We each had a slightly different style but the vibe was in sync. I had no immediate family to help me with Jesse when he was an infant. Also, took me two years to get back into shape physically because I gave birth at 46!
I used to take Jesse to rehearsals and wherever I needed to be. But, there were times when I had to pull out of gigs because I didn’t have a sitter or money to pay for child care and it became really strenuous carrying my guitar on my back and the diaper bag while having the baby harnessed to my chest using public transportation.
There were also rehearsals when Jesse was sleeping in the harness on my back and we’d turn down low to keep rehearsing. I literally couldn’t put him down at times or he’d fuss. I think he wanted to be close to the music! Luckily, certain musicians (like you and Kelly) were also parents and were cool with me having to bring my baby!
RS: I love your twist words. When did this start? Ever think of making a Val dictionary?
VK: I think my “oops” with words comes from a learning disability known as dyscalculia and perhaps a touch of dyslexia. I used to write everything backwards in elementary school out of boredom I thought but, as the years progressed, I began to reverse how I saw numerical equations and it’s become such a part of me that I simply create new words automatically.
I read signs in reverse and it can really screw me up at times if I’m not concentrating.
Like, if the teacher gave an exercise with two rows of words, and instructed me to take one word from each column to fuse together sensibly, I’d write “road rail” and incorporate it into a sentence rather than “rail road.”
Songwriting for me is challenging because it’s like inventing and solving a crossword puzzle simultaneously.
RS: Are you making any new music?
VK: My most recent single “Some Bitch” is on Spotify and desperately needs a video!
It’s a quirky tune about cyber cheating. “Some Bitch is dancing topless on your lap top, I can smell her perfume from out here… etc.” I also wrote a quartan-tune inspired song called “In the Rain” and am still catching up on half completed songs my band was working on for our forthcoming record.
RS: What about playing out? have there been opportunities?
The only live show I did recently was in Tompkins Square Park for the anniversary of the riots.
It held meaning to me due to the history of The Lower East Side, the squatters, the musicians and artists and Monika Beerle, who became my muse in “Broken Ballerina.” Also, it is so important to join other musicians and artists right now as these are uncertain times and music is the universal language of healing and inspiration!
I am scheduled to play at Porch Stomp, 2020 as part of Kat Minogue’s Stage on Governor’s Island on October 10th. Violizzy, Rigel Mary and Jesse will probably join me.
RS: What’s the greatest part about being a rockmommy?
VK: All of my personal achievements can now be applied to reinforcing life skills in my own child and the students I teach.
To me, being a rockmommy means dissecting and recycling stressful moments creatively by incorporating my love for music! Jesse and I always turn on the radio in the morning and wind up dancing to our favorite tunes. Pain in life is inevitable, remaining stagnant is no longer an option.
I’m grateful that my son is tenacious and driven. We both use music, dance and exercise to keep a positive mental attitude. I love my close relationship with Jesse especially when we have opportunity to jam together. Taking him to rehearsals, gigs and not sheltering him from my artsy friends has lost me some people along the way. I was definitely mis-judged as being reckless at times.But, interestingly, those particular ex-friends never had children of their own.
Rock n’ Roll is all encompassing and celebrates uniqueness and survival!
I’m definitely a survivor and passionate about inspiring hope in Jesse and others.
Rew Starr is an actor, musician and rockmommy who lives in New York City.
Mimsey Mack is one mysterious, guitar-wielding lady. Between the thousands of likes on her “Facebook” page, inspiring 80s-rocker fashion getups and bluesy tunes, you’d think she started playing music in her tween years. But not so. As it turns out, the self-described “indie-funk-punk rock” artist only picked up her first electric guitar in 2012, well after her kids passed middle school.
Today, the mom of six — yes, six! — adult children is brimming with ideas and songs, proving once again that age is just a number (and sometimes an excuse).
We asked the one-and-only NYC songstress (and fellow rockmommy) Rew Starr to sit down and chat with Mimsey about life post-COVID and navigating new opportunities in these challenging time.
Rew Starr: How’s it going? What have you been doing these days?
Mimsey Mack: Thanks so much for the interview, Rew! It’s been a challenging time for us musicians, but I’ve been keeping busy. I started massage therapy School right when Covid happened and will graduate in August. I’m excited about integrating that into my career. I also took an online music therapy course to better equip me to perform at psychiatric centers, domestic violence centers and other locations, specifically for individuals who have been struggling and need hope and a new direction in life. Other than that, I have been playing lots of drums, guitar and even a little bass guitar.
Rew: You making any new music?
Mimsey: Yes! After a long hiatus, I am thrilled to be producing music again. I started writing songs again during the first week of the pandemic. I write songs about my life so sometimes it’s a little weird to sing new songs to others, especially the first time. But I am quickly reminded that we are all songbirds with a special song to sing.
Rew: What about playing out? Have there been opportunities?
Mimsey: I have been performing livestream shows and also performing as a guest on your amazing Renegade Show as often as possible. I am currently living in Virginia, a state that has been a hotspot recently, so I have not been performing live yet.
Mimsey: I like to tattoo myself. I use a single needle. I have given myself over about 10 tattoos. I’m working on two new ones now.
Rew: What’s the greatest part about being a rockmommy?
Mimsey: The greatest part of being a rock mommy is sharing the love of the music and performing with my kids. All of my kids picked up music in their teen years. When they were younger, I was very conservative socially, homeschooled my kids and loved traditions. We listened to Classical and Christian music. After my divorce, things changed drastically. When I decided on a whim to take electric guitar lessons in 2012, and discovered I learned fast and could play, sing and perform, music brought a fresh new meaning to life. It’s funny when kids introduce me as their Rockstar Mom, because I think they are the rockstars.
Rew: Have you written anything new during the last six months?
Mimsey: One very exciting accomplishment during COVID was finishing the filming for my upcoming music video, “Redemption.” Thank you, Rew, for performing in it! It’s gonna be great! It’s a song I wrote a few years ago that expressed my transition from domestic violence survivor to overcomer. I am looking forward to writing songs about my new chapter in life, filled with hope and love.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.
Rew Starr is an actor, musician and performer who lives in New York City.
Some say that your best life doesn’t begin until you’ve lived a little — partaken in at least one great, wild adventure, gotten burned, or conquered one of your deepest fears. For many rockmommies, living your best life is inextricably intertwined with the creation something new — starting a family, starting a band, taking on new creative roles and experiencing life with fresh eyes and a full heart.
Rew Starr on stage, playing “punktry”
This is the story of Rew Starr — a staple of New York City’s East Village music and arts scene and a living example that a woman’s best life can begin whenever she wants it to begin.
Not long ago, Rew enjoyed a coveted status as one of the most celebrated local musicians and performance artists in New York City. So when, in 2016, she bid adieu to her beloved Internet radio show — Rew & Who? — to make room for a new acting career, the idea sounded a little crazy.
Four years later, she is busier than ever, splitting her time between paid acting gigs and musical performances. Which goes to show that you’re never too old (or too young) to live your best life or be a creative rockstar.
Here, Rew chats with us about her latest projects and what we can expect at the upcoming Girls Rock & Girls Rule Reunion show (2/15, at LP n Harmony, 683 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211).
ROCKMOMMY: How would you describe your music style?
REW: I always call myself PuNkTRY because I have a punk rock heart and often tell too much information in my songs!
ROCKMOMMY: What kinds of songs will you be playing at your next show? What instruments will you be playing, and who will be with you onstage?
REW: I will be playing my original songs. Maybe my Bowie cover of ‘Rebel Rebel’ and some other surprises that the band might not know!! I like to keep it suspenseful! I’ll be playing with the one and only bassist Donald Dixon and Dr. Andi on drums. There is usually a surprise guitar player as well but if I say who said yes it might change!
ROCKMOMMY: Who is the most inspirational live performer you’ve seen lately?
REW: Definitely the most inspirational performer I’ve seen is my daughter Eva Lin. She blows my mind in every way!
ROCKMOMMY: Being an independent artist isn’t always easy. You’ve gotta balance lots of stuff — work, parenthood, health and taking care of loved ones. What’s your best advice for making time to rock?
REW: Just always have a gig booked! It keeps me from forgetting my songs and playing is the best medicine in the world!
ROCKMOMMY: You let go of some obligations — notably Rew & Who — so you could make time for other endeavors (acting). What’s that been like?
REW: Well this acting thing has been beyond my wildest dreams! I have never been so busy with projects that challenge my brain with memorizing lines, and surrounded by so many trained people! I have been working more than I ever did as an artist and getting paid! What a concept! As my tax stuff pours in I’m in shock over how much work I did last year! Now I’m submerged in rehearsals for a brand new play called ‘upstate’ with a giant part that’s opening March 2 at the Hudson Guild Theatre and there is another run this weekend for ‘a two hundred dollar rhinoceros’ — the play that keeps going since last March! I even was nominated for best actress (my 2nd nomination!). I cannot even count how many indie films, music videos, TV and commercial projects (I even get to work with ZsaZsa Gabone, my precious angel yorkie) I’ve been in since ending “ReW & WhO?’ But I am forever grateful to every guest that came through the show and everyone who helped its seven-year run! It’s always there on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.
ReW STaRR, one of New York City’s most beloved local singer-songwriters and off-Broadway actors, knows all about trying to be perfect. Whether she’s trying to adjust her wardrobe for TLC or meet songwriting deadlines, the pressure of achieving a certain standard is real for Rew. And her daughter Harlee Ludwig, a budding filmmaker, can identify, having come of age in the era of #metoo.
The twosome recently embarked on a fun, grueling and timely project – making the ‘Imperfect Girl’ video – which is exactly what the world needed on International Women’s Day. We recently caught up with Rew and Harlee to talk about the video’s significance. For those of you who couldn’t make the debut show at Branded Saloon in Brooklyn tonight, check out the video and Q&A.
Rockmommy: How did Imperfect Girl come about — the song & video and execution?
Rew: I was actually asked to write a song called ‘Jewish girls.’ I literally couldn’t do it and ‘Imperfect girl’ was born… I don’t believe in organized religion just spirit but that explains some of the references in the song like ‘Jesus’ and ‘religion.’ Harlee heard the song one day on her Spotify and said “mom I know what song I want to make a video to … I think ‘imperfect girl’ has caught up to the time or the time has caught up to ‘imperfect girl.’
Harlee: The song was recorded years ago to a very almost chill and luau-type vibe definitely well produced. [For] the video we took a really low-fi approach because we wanted to really grasp the feeling that is sometimes achieved in Jim Jarmusch films where the focus isn’t supposed to be on some huge pay off or result, but more so the documentation of everyday occurrences that get taken for granted. This video specifically is set to show how much women go through every day without a necessary “pay off” or “appreciation” for it. But they do it all anyways because they have to.
Rockmommy: Why do you think the song is so timely?
Rew:Harlee thought with #metoo and all the significance to the women’s marching and movements happening these days this song is meant to finally to be heard.
Harlee:I think in the age of movements like #metoo, black feminism, gender fluidity, women fighting for equal pay and treatment, there is really no time like now for this song. So many of these movements have helped to show that women should not be held to this standard of “perfection” or whatever that means in a patriarchal society. We are all imperfect and for that reason we are all perfect. We do not need to be perfect to be respected. We just need to be people.
Rockmommy:What’s it like working together, mama and daughter?
Rew:Best best best… we got to spend so much time together filming all the inspirational people and I feel like being able to have this opportunity it was just the most beautiful thing in the world!!!
Harlee:It’s a fun experience because we can share the responsibilities. Since we both have different approaches to interacting with people and different tastes of what is powerful it left the door open for us taking and experimenting with various scenes and actions for all the beautiful actors and volunteers. It was also easy for us to almost telepathically communicate when anyone was running too long or if we had to stay on schedule with more shootings helping the entire thing go much more smoothly.
Rockmommy:Any challenges in making the video?
Rew:The challenges were mostly people wanting to be in it and too many conflicts with time. Other than that, none except for [an experience with an] Uber driver [on] one day — but I’m not sharing that skeleton!!!
Harlee:SCHEDULING!! When people are helping you on a volunteer bases it can become extremely difficult making a schedule and getting everyone to stick to it!
Rockmommy:What message or feeling do you hope people will get after seeing/experiencing “Imperfect Girl?”
Rew:That everyone is passionate and perfectly imperfect!!! Harlee really loves the idea of people being absolutely amazing just doing what they love to do … not the BIG GRANDIOSE things but the actual thing you do that gives you purpose and joy. That is the message I hope people will get … real is beautiful!
Harlee:I hope to find out 🙂 But in general I hope people realize how many little things they get done a day and how when you isolate those little moments you realize that even the days you feel you are wasting and not doing anything necessarily productive, you really are doing so much by just existing as an imperfect girl.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.
Pregnancy, like playing a rock show, is physically demanding. Your body is expanding, you feel increasingly exhausted and uncomfortable, and simple tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs can cause you to break into a sweat.
But while there’s lots of guidance on whether to go to a loud rock show while you’re pregnant (spoiler alert: most docs think it’s totally fine), there isn’t a lot of advice circulating in cyberspace about playing a show while pregnant. Specifically, it’s hard to find advice on how to adapt to adjust for your changed physical and mental state.
Rockmommy founder Marisa Torrieri Bloom, at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn, plays a gig at six months pregnant in 2012
Fortunately, plenty of moms — including me! — have played while expecting I’ve seen more than a few of moms-to-be armed with guitars, drum parts, and the like play some pretty amazing rock and roll shows. In fact, a couple of moms I know went on tour during their second or third trimester.
Whether you’re thinking about hitting the road for a five-week tour, or playing a couple of gigs before bunkering down for a year of sleepless nights with babes, pregnancy doesn’t have to hold you back from experiencing your rockstar moment.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you feel uncertain about anything, you should talk to your doctor. Since I’m a pretty athletic person, wielding a guitar while standing and singing wasn’t a huge physically exhausting feat during either of my pregnancies — but I definitely needed to make some major adjustments (see #2). But for some people, particularly those with high-risk pregnancies or physical limitations, playing a gig while expecting isn’t going to work.
For those of you expecting mamas who want to play a show or several, here are six tips to follow:
1. Focus on fun first. If you’re reading this blog, you probably LOVE playing live music and rocking out on stage. But depending on the kind of pregnancy you’re having, you may or may not feel like doing much of anything right now. If you’ve decided to play a show because you really really want to play one, try to stay positive as you practice and plan — don’t get tripped up about not being able to do cool backbends or wild acrobatics (if that was your thing pre-pregnancy), or about others judging you for putting on a few pounds. Just focus on delivering a kick-ass show with your bandmates, and the rest will follow.
2. Scale back as needed. Whether you play three-hour sets that rival those of the Grateful Dead, or you play drums, fast and furious, for a punk band, you may be surprised at how exhausted you are after doing something pregnant that you’ve done a million times before with no problem. If you find yourself tiring easily, consider trimming down your set (or skipping the physically demanding songs) so it feels more manageable.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! If you’re knocked up, you need to drink more water than usual (The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about ten 8-ounce cups). And if you’re knocked up while playing an instrument in a hot, sweaty nightclub or bar underneath bright lights, you definitely need to drink more. But water isn’t the only way to quench your thirst. Rockmommy Trish Naudon Thomas, mother of 6-year-old Myla Sol and drummer for The NATCH! and The Fantastic Partnerz, swears by green juice smoothies. “Drinking green smoothies every day not only helped with getting my fill of folic acid, it helped with my energy levels for practice and gigs which was about 5+ times a week,” says Thomas. “I still drink my cherished green smoothies to keep up with my extremely energetic 6-year-old.”
New York City musician Rew Starr sings on stage while pregnant in 1993.
4. Try to adjust or control your environment as much as possible. You can’t control everything, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t adjust your practice or gigging space to suit your pregnant state. Rockmommy Katy Otto, drummer for the band Trophy Wife and mother to a young toddler, suggests planning in advance to make sure you’ll have the things you need, such as access to a bathroom that you can use, again and again, throughout the duration of your gig. “If you have certain things you will need in a venue, such as a non smoking space, make sure to think them through and ask about them ahead of time and don’t feel bad asking,” says Otto. “Don’t feel guilty doing things like getting a hotel room to be more comfortable even if you’ve crashed on floors and couches all your touring life — do what you need to do to feel healthy and good.”
5. When it comes to lugging equipment, don’t be a hero. If you’re used to hauling around heavy amps and carrying string instruments to and from rehearsal, being told to you need to slow down might bruise your ego. However, most physicians believe that the longer a woman is pregnant, the more her ability to safely lift a load decreases, mostly because her center of gravity and balance have changed (plus, the hormones of pregnancy cause a woman’s connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons to soften). New York City mom of two and singer-guitarist Rew Starr says she “gigged pretty much up until delivery,” but had the benefit of only having to tote around a microphone. But for others, such as bass-playing moms with the heaviest of amps, it’s not so easy. If you don’t have other bandmates who volunteer to carry your stuff, ask the venue’s staff to lend a hand: Call ahead to make sure someone will be available to load, unload, and reload your car with your equipment before and after you play. “Asking for help and knowing your limits is OK,” says Starr. “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘no I just can’t lug gear.’”
6. Talk to your fans about social media photos. While some women love showing off their baby bumps, others (myself included) would rather keep their pregnancies private, from the moment of conception to the moment after delivery. So if you’re a social media maven who doesn’t feel uncomfortable having photos of your protruding belly all over the Internet, step up to the mic and ask your fans to withhold from snapping pics while you play.
Playing a rock show is a cathartic experience, pregnant or not. By keeping some of these suggestions in mind, you’ll feel great at rehearsals and on stage. Plus, your tiny fetus will probably be bouncing along to the beat, enjoying every moment with you.
— Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.