Love Letter To My Band

Housewives On Prozac circa 1997 w/founder Joy Rose and other Hastings On Hudson residents

Housewives On Prozac circa 1997 w/founder Joy Rose and other Hastings On Hudson residents

Today a New York Times story cited the development of a riverside parcel of land in Hastings On Hudson, NY, my home for the last 20 years. Moving the family up from Soho in 1997 pregnant with my fourth kid, we’d outgrown the four-flight walkup of our funky, artsy loft. But, music followed me 11 miles north of the city. I’d spent the 80’s knocking around the club scene, making art at Tower Records (remember?), playing some of the original post-punk haunts and even winning the MTV Basement Tape Series when Martha Quinn ruled the world of rock TV.

The idea for the HOP band emerged in a dream, I approached the church organist, also a mother of four, and enticed her into a project. The band, called “Housewives On Prozac” was more a comment on contemporary mothers looking for antidotes for the challenges of raising children, than it was a reflection of my own medicated calling. I was not on Prozac. Music was my Prozac.

The first incarnation of HOP produced one CD entitled, “No Prescription Required“. Members included (pictured here-left to right), Brian Connie, Beth Rudd, Barbara Allen, Joy Rose, Tom Charlap and Corey Morgenstern. As with most bands, the short lived love-affair had its highs and lows, but ended with drama after the press, and imminent success seemed to circle. My own brewing issues included a nasty bout with SLE, resulting in what doctors advised would be a pre-emptive kidney transplant.

I found my next-stage feminist voice with an incarnation of the band that included Gillian Crane, who heroically accompanied me on piano, bongos and vocals with a the hitherto untold exuberance rarely found in contemporaries. She empowered me to put music to the lyrics that became a full-fledged equity production of “Shut Up And Drive” (sorry this was mostly pre-internet) at the School House Theater that included divas Kyleann Burtt on keyboard and vocals and Donna Kelly on drums. The show continued in Manhattan at the (now defunct) Duplex Theater and the band went on to include Suzie Greist, Jane Getter. Together we forged a “Mom Rock” movement immortalized in Kate Perotti‘s movie Momz Hot Rocks.

But, more than this, much, much more than this- we loved! We loved each other fiercely. We played together as if life were impossible, frustrating and fleeting. We loved each other and the music. We rehearsed in my living room, on my porch and in dive-underground spaces in the East Village of NYC, as often as we could. We laughed together. Drove all night to horrible gigs in ridiculous places. We stood in amphitheaters, stadiums, television stations, nowhere. We played for five people. We played for fifty. Five-thousand. A million. We played for ourselves. These women made me as much as I made myself. As much as my children made me and as much as the kidney inside my abdomen gave me life – these women infused me with a passion to love -everything. I hope they are reading this. This is a love letter to my band, inspired by a press story on the town they all drove to, each week, to make music, with me. They kept me alive, and I love them mightily.

Here is the article from the NYT:

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — In this comfortable Westchester County community, many residents like to think of their village as the anti-suburb, jokingly calling it the Upper Upper West Side.

With painters, writers, jazz musicians and web designers liberally represented among the population of 8,000, the village displays an arty, slightly irreverent ethos. Subarus with bumper stickers that say “Make Dinner, Not War” outnumber the BMWs with vanity plates. Teenage rock groups are overshadowed by their parents’ bands; Housewives on Prozac is a local favorite. Residents are more likely to play down their wealth than to flaunt it. Full Article.

 

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