May 10, 2006

Rockin’ Mamas

Now *I* know this, but a lot of you often greet this concept with disbelief: You don’t have to stop being rockin’ when you become a mama. This is the fundamental idea behind a fascinating (in-progress) documentary by Jackie Weissman for Rock Mama Films, out of Portland, Oregon.

Weissman became interested in exploring the intersection of artistic passions and oft-all-consuming parenting responsibilities after her son was born. As she began reading about rocker mamas who were doing the balancing act, she became inspired.

When her son was three she undertook this documentary to track women such as Kristen Hersh from Throwing Muses (who has four sons, ranging in age from 19 to 2), Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney (who often takes her son Marshall on tour with her), and Zia McCabe of the Dandy Warhols through their daily lives of rock ‘n’ roll, diapers, and skinned knees.

The segment of this short trailer that I found most fascinating, although all three of these women rock, was the final piece featuring Kristen Hersh of Throwing Muses fame. I appreciated her perspective with what she had to say:

“The challenges of motherhood are only . . . eating and sleeping! It’s kind of a lot to give up — showering, stuff like that (laughs) . . . shaving your legs. But how could you ever care? It’s not over quickly, like people say — not if you’re paying attention every minute of every day. But the fact that it will be over? That’s . . . that’s just crazy. You have no right to complain about giving up everything if someday that amazing universe is gonna be over.”

In the ’80s and ’90s, Kristen Hersh, along with contemporaries The Pixies and The Breeders, helped lay down some important groundwork for the indie punk/rock sound, and Kristen proved from age 19 onward that the girls can rock as hard as the boys. She continues to rock now as a talented mama.

One other reason to love her: Along with her current hardcore/punk band, 50 Foot Wave, a new 5 song EP of studio recordings is available for free on the band’s website.

Kristin Hersh explains:

“Money has so polluted the music world that my overwhelming urge right now is to divorce money from recorded music. Over the last 2 years we’ve been relying on standard ‘industry’ channels to help us educate listeners about 50 Foot Wave and we’ve met resistance every step of the way — caused by little other than money — and to an extent I’ve never seen before. So we’re sending free recordings off into the world to do their work. If people enjoy these songs and are excited by them, we ask that they share them with others.

“The music business is about fame and huge profits — egos and greed. Music itself, is not.”

Awesome. Also, if you are in Portland, you might check out the soundtrack release/benefit party on Saturday, May 20 at the Bettie Ford Lounge (1135 SW Washington). Director/Producer Jackie Weissman will host the fete, joined by local rock mama Zia McCabe of the Dandy Warhols, and all the bands on the Rock N Roll Mamas compilation CD.

Rock on in that amazing universe, gals.

Image header copyright Rock Mama Films, LLC.
Oh, and thanks to one of my favorite rockin’ mamas, Clea, for the heads-up on this interesting film.

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  • Wow!!!

    Did you know that today is Mothers day Here in Mexico?

    Pretty Awesome.

    Mario — May 10, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

  • Mario,
    I could lie and say yes, yes I knew that because I am so culturally aware. But actually, no, I didn’t – just good timing! Happy Dia de los Madres to yours…


    heather — May 10, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

  • Well, it might be an interesting documentary but I have a hard time believing any artist who claims rock music isn’t, at its base, narcissistic. Claiming the ‘business’ is the bad part is rationalization. This narcissism sort of conflicts with the motherhood concept. The idea that rock stars end up with messed-up kids is not a cause and effect example, but it’s anecotal. I played drums in high school but the guitar in college. Know why? Because you can’t take drums to the park and pick up chicks. That, my friends, is a cause and effect example.

    Chief Scientist — May 10, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

  • thanks heather for the mention. oh so nice.

    oh and to moderator, of course many people are making music to pick up chicks and certainly it’s a wholly narcisistic endeavor, but I think there are a musicians who could be nothing but musicians and if they didn’t create they would implode, not for want of attention, but because its just inside them, a piece of them, almost unexplainable and a whole lot like… motherhood. (which by the way has its own hugely narcissistic components too.) naive of me? romantic of me? perhaps. but i don’t care one willy.

    superclea — May 11, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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