(in 600 words)
I was 43 years old when I started singing in rock and roll bands when many were leaving bands. At the time I was a copywriter on Madison Avenue in NYC married with a 6 year old daughter. What began to naw at me was this sweet, funny articulate little person did not know her mom loves to sing. You immerse yourself and lose yourself raising a child and that I knew but It seemed a perfect time to try to bring back music into my life and to share this love with Mia my daughter. Maybe it was kismet but right at that time I heard about this downtown group of people who had been in bands at a young age now raising families and wanting to play again or just jam with no goal in mind but just that. My own singing background was in high school and college musicals and then when I moved to NYC I was a part of an off Broadway sketch comedy group where we often sang as well. Singing in a band was absolutely foreign to me and when I auditioned I was completely lost in how to sing in a band and hooked at the same time. One band took me under their wing - one with mostly women in it and at that moment I felt connected to myself, more than I had in a long time.
I could not wait to buy a guitar, I learned how to play basic guitar as a teenager, and share some of the songs I was learning with my daughter. As I began to play she closed her eyes. I got excited thinking how great she is getting into the music. After a few minutes she put her hands over her ears and said, “Don’t sing mommy.” I was stunned and tried a few times more thinking she was just hungry, tired or just wanting to play with her toys. After many attempts I realized she just didn’t like it. At that moment I also realized it did not matter because it was giving me so much joy and connection to myself and other people.
My husband got in a terrible car accident and life started changing in all these unimaginable ways. Music became my sanctuary my therapist and a way to express what I could not do in just words alone. We moved to California for an easier life when my daughter was 8 years old and began playing with all kinds of musicians. As life changed around me what was forever constant was playing music. We played for joy and connection and I loved recording as much as playing out. I never played to make money or have any kind of music career. I was juggling enough balls in the air. I wrote about one song a year that I liked and continued to grow as a musician with other musicians far more seasoned than myself.
Life moves forward and fast, my child was growing up and my marriage was struggling. At the age of 48 my husband was diagnosed with being bi-polar II and was already suffering from a chronic pain condition. At 53 he took his own life. For years I did not play music, could not even pick up the guitar and focused on helping my daughter get through such a difficult lost. At the time I did not know I had put my own grief on hold. Once my daughter seemed to be getting on the other side of so much my world came crashing down. She moved to NYC and I moved to my own journey of grief.
I experienced depression something I had never experienced before and walked in a fog for years - doing what I had to do and doing everything I could do to rise from a deep place of sadness. My mother got sick, she lived in New York and I went to take care of her. I never looked backed, left California and when my mother was well again I went to Cape Cod, a place I had good history with having vacationed there many times, just to catch my breath, to look at the ocean. I cried for joy on that beach and kissed the sky every day as I slowly began to see myself emerging out of the darkness. It was time to get my music life back. So I got on craigslist to look for musicians
Oddly enough the first lead guitar player and singer songwriter I met was a man named Tod, my husband’s name was Todd. Tod’s middle name is Allen. Allen is my maiden name. Tod lives in a place called “Poppy Place” and my husband’s nickname for me was poppy. It felt our meeting was clandestine and the minute we started playing together the music connection was undeniable.
So now I want to share our music with more people if we can…..ready to do that … not for fame and fortune but because music has helped me so much in good times and bad and if our music does that for someone else how great. All proceeds if we make any money will go to our individual charities. My bandmates are warriors too - one bandmate has a life threatening disease and another MS and so when we play we play with more abandon, more here and now, more joy, gratitude that we have survived so much, getting to continue to tell our stories through our music for however long, and if we touch some people along the way how much sweeter that is.