Moms rock!

By DENA RIEGEL  |  May 5, 2010
Mom Rock events: A small selection

May 8 @ 9 pm | Chicks With Sticks: Three Bands Powered by Girl Drummers | including Adinah Barnett in Batshelter | with Hot Tarts + Skummymen | Geno’s, Portland

May 15 @ 9 pm | Hannah Tarkinson in isobell | with Metal Feathers + Spirit Animal | Guthrie’s, Lewiston

May 18 @ 6:30 pm | Portland Music Foundation talk with Lisa Van Oostrum | “Artist development: Where did it go, and is it still relevant” | SPACE Gallery, Portland

June 4 @ 10 pm | Salli Wason in Hessian | with Batshelter + Over A Cardboard Sea | Geno’s, Portland

June 12 @ 9 pm | Hannah Tarkinson in isobell | with Marion Grace | SPACE Gallery, Portland

June 29 @ 9 pm | Hannah Tarkinson in isobell | with Samuel James | Port City Music Hall, Portland

Even with these sketches of functioning musical families for inspiration, pushing creativity from a thought into a priority for the family is a task. You get the sense that for these families, there isn’t a choice in the matter: when Tarkinson says “do or die,” it’s not too far from the truth. For many of these women, music came along and took them by the hand when they were in honest doubt about this whole existence thing: a “night in white satin,” so to speak, that saved her from teen angst’s certain despair. For these women, loyalty to their first salvation — music — is something they cannot imagine being without. All the work it takes to make it happen is worth it — a mirrored sentiment to what so many feel about becoming a mother. Everything changes when you find music; everything changes when you become a parent.

The strange thing is, so many of us have music in our lives, perhaps in crappy-but-fulla-heart garage bands or maybe classroom chamber singing, before children. Why would anyone leave music behind? The short answer is: parenting is really hard. Many parents fall victim to a siphoning of creative risk; they won’t sing as loudly, they don’t dance in public, they won’t try something scary. Understandably, too. Parenting is scary enough, and it’s a hell of a lot harder than band practice. When it’s time to “get serious” as an adult, too often it is also time to get duller and creatively unchallenged — what folk/rock guitarist and singer Sara Cox succinctly explains as “when you think you’re too old to be going out and doing things, then you really fall into the trap.”

This outlook is perhaps the defining trait of Rock Moms: even amid the chaos and the needs of their children, they never “outgrew” their creativity or felt the need to “get serious.” You have to wonder; if everyone got over getting serious, and instead actively created, wouldn’t that vibrancy have to rub off on the offspring?

Here’s the good news: it’s never too late to rock. Cox became a musician with the birth of her children. When she stayed at home to raise her family, the music came in tandem with the kids.

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