joannebest











bowie rip 1.11.16
“Oh no love, you’re not alone”
I’m finding it hard to string a sentence together right now, unexpectedly choked up about someone I never met and I know I’m not alone.
Rock stars come and go, they influence us, they encourage us, they lift us up when we’re down and make us cry when we need an excuse to reveal our emotions. They can define us, give us something to cling to when we are lost and broken, give us something to hold on to when we are frozen and can’t take one more step forward.
David Bowie captured everything we freaks suffered every day and welcomed us, encouraged us, gave us a place to drift to when we were overwhelmed and alone.
He wrapped his words around us and let us know we weren’t alone, influenced generations, kicked opened closet doors and told us, “it ain’t easy” but it’s worth it, we can let our freak-flag fly high and proud, and it was alright, we could all be rock and roll stars.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey wasn’t always easy if you didn’t fit the cookie cutter mold of a blue-collar town but David Bowie gave us a glimpse into what life could be like if we just stayed true to ourselves and didn’t worry about the whisperings behind closed living-room curtains when we walked down the street.
He showed us we were all limitless, we really could touch the stars if we just reached out and shrugged off the mud slung our way. He gave us courage, strength when we needed it most, there at the tip of our fingers and the drop of a needle on vinyl.
Inspiration to become ourselves.
Nearly every band I’ve loved has, at one time or another, done their own version of a David Bowie song, including my own band. Standing onstage singing a Bowie song was a rite of passage in my circle of friends, a sign to everyone that yes, I’m a freak too, just like you, and isn’t it grand?
No-one but his closest friends and family knew he had cancer, so the world woke up to a gut-punch this morning. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was awakened by a text or phone call from a dear friend telling me the terrible news that Ziggy Stardust was no longer with us here on earth.
Rest in peace Mr. Bowie, you are now a true star, a starman waiting in the sky, making the Heavens glow brighter, a celebration of music left behind in your wake.
And all the children will continue to boogie, for you taught us all, we are not alone.
Watch me now….



writing woman

I’m just the instrument in this one, I’m honored to post Maryanne’s leg of the Writing Process Blog Tour, so with no further ado, take it away Maryanne!

1.What are you working on?

I am now tweaking a fictitious chick lit love story that takes place in the 1980s called “Love Cats.” I’m thrilled that Cynthia Santiglia will be copyediting. She’s worked as copy editor with an author I highly admire, Lisa Carver, so it’s an honor that Cynthia took an interest in working for me!

2.How does your work differ from others of it’s genre?

For my first book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” it’s different than other rock ‘n’ roll memoirs because there’s no downward spiral into drugs and depression. (That’s how one of my endorsers, columnist and author Judy McGuire, put it!)

“On the Guest List” is an upbeat book with many fun stories. I don’t knock anyone. It’s just my perspective on life as a music journalist and it’s written to inspire other writers to tell their stories too.

For “Love Cats” it’s different than other chick lit fiction, I think, because it has the lead male role taking on the sensitive part and the female lead screwing up the relationship only because of her insecurities. The characters are real to life and I’d like to believe the story is unpredictable with first-time experiences and a slight element of danger that most 20-somethings experience.

It’s a fun and fast moving love story with growth. The moral is that people do change!

3.Why do you write what you do?

For my memoir “On the Guest List” – I was always told that I should write a book. I had a bunch of great stories and wanted to share the best of them that I thought others could relate to. I saw a similar book that was very negative. The author put down most of the people she bragged about meeting; which, to me, was very sad. My book comes from a place of admiration for not only the musicians I wrote about but all the people I’ve experienced some of the adventures with, those who were my “plus one.”

For my upcoming fictitious “Love Cats” I simply write what I know and then let the imagination run wild. But to make it 1980s authentic I did a lot of Google searching, as my memory is great but not that great!

4.How does your writing process work?

I write from my heart, then go back and edit. With “On the Guest List” I went through years of paper diaries and online diaries to pick out the best stories. I also consulted many of the people I wrote about, asking for their blessing. There’s a brother and sister in the book that were a grand part of my youth. They never answered my emails about whether or not I could use their names, so I just gave them fake names – either way, it’s an honor, they were cool kids!

For “Love Cats,” since it’s fiction, I just grab a glass of wine and then go for it! Since the book is also from a male perspective, I asked a friend for advice on the dialogue – “Is this how a guy would say something?” My friend is a screen writer from Massachusetts, Todd Gordon, and he’ll definitely be thanked in the book.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”
http://www.nextcenturystore.com/on-the-guest-list-adventures-of-a-music-journalist.html

Pear Tree Enterprises

http://www.peartreeenterprises.com/

HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.)

908-276-1514
writinggg



maryanne
In continuing with the Writers Process Blog Tour, I am honored to (re)introduce you to someone I look up to, someone who inspires me every day in every way. Maryanne is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside. Here’s a little bit of information about her to be followed by Maryanne’s leg of the Blog Tour.
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta has been writing professionally since 1995. She’s a self-employed award-winning writer and public speaker. Her work has appeared in The Paterson Press, Westfield Alternative Press, Millburn-Short Hills Alternative Press, South Orange Alternative Press, Maplewood Alternative Press, Suburban Essex, The Patch, The Montclair Times, The Jersey City Independent, Skinny News, NJ Health & Fitness, The Aquarian Arts Weekly (which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, April 2012), The West Sider, The Chelsea Clinton News, music.com, Tattoo Review, Punk Magazine, and Exit, to name a few.

Her first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is available on Amazon.

Maryanne lives in Union County, New Jersey, with her husband and cat, Derick. Other interests include: music, health/fitness and public speaking.

Her website is: http://www.peartreeenterprises.com

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”
http://www.nextcenturystore.com/on-the-guest-list-adventures-of-a-music-journalist.html

Pear Tree Enterprises

http://www.peartreeenterprises.com/

HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.)

908-276-1514
cover-proof-4



{May 7, 2014}   Entertain Them

mic1
It’s always loud.
People.
Laughing talking drinking arguing bodies pressed against each other humming electric.
Waiting.
Sometimes they’re waiting for me.
Of course I’m not stupid enough to believe it’s just me, it’s the whole band. And it doesn’t make it easier knowing that more than half the crowd consists of far better musicians than myself.
It can be petrifying, nothing but me and a mic-stand on a stage surrounded by real musicians.
As I peek out from backstage I flash back to the day I ran out of the auditions for the high school musical because I was afraid to sing alone in front of my chorus teacher.
I see familiar faces mixed amongst strangers eyes. It’s times like these I’m glad I only wear my glasses when I drive, I figure it’s ok because I only have one bad eye. Don’t tell my eye doctor I said that.
The faces are a blur for the most part but I can tell who’s who, hell, if I squint a little I can see who’s standing at the back door smoking a cigarette outside the exit.
So I try not to squint.
It’s time. There’s no turning back. The me that hates being the center of attention, the shy girl, she’s got no say in the matter.
The me that decided it’s my life? Well I’m me, deal with it or don’t.
She’s the me that slinks onto the stage, stares them all in the eye as I spill my blood.
Here they are now entertain them.
mic2
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/witness-protection/
this is my response to the daily prompt, ‘witness protection’ with this description: When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why? It brought to mind my still-on-hiatus band, and these words…



{April 24, 2014}   MonkeeMania

monkees
My entire body trembled, my heart pounding as Gail Jeanne and I made our way down the aisle to our center stage seats.
We weren’t teenagers anymore, but we’d been too young the first time around, back when The Monkees were in our living rooms once a week, and there was no way my Father was going to let single-digit me go to a concert no matter how many tears I shed.
My Parents indulged me enough when it came to my Monkee Mania. The Monkees lunchbox, a Monkees hardcover binder for my schoolwork, every Tiger Beat and Sixteen magazine with every important update about Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike I could find. I even had a groovy little white and red plastic record player that only played records when you closed it (because the needle was in the lid) and every single album and 45 the Monkees put out. If it said “The Monkees” on whatever it was, I wanted it. Although I never did get that 4 headed Monkees talking hand puppet.
And yes, I even wore a Monkees costume one Halloween, Micky Dolenz because he was my favorite Monkee.
But I digress.
I don’t even know how it happened, it’s all a blur when I look back on it. I was heading into my late 20’s and I turned into a giddy teenage girl finally getting to see her teen idols when Gail and I somehow became cohorts in that Immortal Summer Of Monkee Mania.
Atlantic City was the first show in New Jersey, a two hour drive give or take, and don’t hold me to it but I’m pretty sure we listened to Monkees music the whole ride. All I can remember is giddy girlie giggling.
I mean, we were about to see our Teen Idols, we were excited!!!
They were doing two shows that night and we had tickets for the second show so we wandered a little bit around the casino. There may have been cocktails, after all, we were seeing our Teen Idols but we weren’t teenagers anymore.
Standing outside the theater was driving us crazy, knowing they were right there on the other side of the annoyingly soundproof wall and I just kept checking my watch trying to make time move faster.
Gail had a better idea.
Like opening the doors and walking right in.
It was the encore as I recall, so security was lax.
When we walked into Daydream Believer I was 8 years old again and I couldn’t help it. I immediately cried.
Shut up you.
They weren’t heaving sobs, just the kind of tears you get when you’re so happy your eyes get watery because you’re smiling so hard you hit your tear ducts.
It’s a thing.
Then came our turn, our show, time for us to finally see our Teen Idols.
Ok so money was exchanged so we could bribe our way were shown to front row seats, it was The Monkees! We had to be up front!
Remember how I said it was a blur? It really was because I have no linear timeline in my head for that whole crazy Monkees Summer, all I remember is the feeling of pure happiness, right there, just a few feet away, close enough to touch and, one minute we’re singing and screaming and then Gail goes for it and jumps up onstage and throws her arms around Micky. At that moment in time, Gail became my hero. It was awesome! Micky was having fun with it and then the security guys came onstage and gave her a talking to and uninvited her from future visits to their fine establishment which was actually pretty cool of them to not call the police.
I felt so bad she couldn’t see the rest of the show that night. After we got her out of the security office Gail and I knew we had no choice, we had to see them again. As many times as humanly possible.
Talk about a blur, I just have flashes of show after show in NJ and NY, always up front. Gail talking our way backstage and getting their autographs and photographs taken with each of them which they later autographed at another show.
The night we saw them at the pier in NYC Gail and I took the train in. We decided we needed a “We love you Monkees” banner because, um, because, just because we wanted to.
Hell, we missed it the first time around because we were too young, The Monkees have a lot of awesome songs and it was like we stole the TARDIS and went back in time, those shows were just like the footage we’d seen of their concerts in their heyday. Females and males alike of every age were screaming and singing along, crying and hysterics, it truly felt like Gail and I had gone back in time and damn, they really sounded good. They also played their own instruments for any naysayers out there.
The day before that show I got a white sheet and some red and black magic markers and made the banner we’re holding in the above picture (I’m in the middle above the heart), what you can’t see is what the magazine cropped out of the picture; since Mike Nesmith decided not to do the tour it didn’t seem right to put his name there. Ok so I, as a fan, was pissed he wasn’t joining the tour so instead of writing his name I drew a bottle of Liquid Paper because Mike Nesmith’s Mom invented Liquid Paper.
Well the Monkee-boys seemed amused when they saw it.
Actually they all signed it and Gail and I share joint custody of it. It’s almost my turn with our autographed baby.
That entire summer was based around The Monkees but alas, I wasn’t able to go to Las Vegas with Gail to see them, where she not only spent time with them but also, if I’m not mistaken, did some babysitting for Davy and his wife. During the summer we’d become such familiar faces and eventually met them and most of their spouses and some of their children. One of my favorite memories is sitting with Davy Jones’s youngest daughter, I think she was around 4 or 5 years old; anyway she was fascinated by my armful of dangly glittery bracelets so I gave her one and I can still remember the smile on her face. In some strange way it was almost as if I had come full circle, as if me giving something of mine to a Monkees’ daughter was a way for me to give them back something for all the joy and happiness they gave me over the years when I was a child.
And yes I do realize you might have to bend your vision around a few corners to see my point, it makes more sense in my head.
They usually say never meet your idols because you’ll probably be disappointed.
I’m happy to say in this case, they are wrong.
~
monkees2
AUTHORS NOTE: While there are still a lot of fun little details to be told about the Summer of Monkee Mania, I have to hold something
back for my WIP…I will give you this though, I will be producing photograph proof of Gail Jeanne onstage with Micky Dolenz. Because it’s kinda cool…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/teen-age-idol/



{April 16, 2014}   Becoming Me ~ Only Sixteen

1moreofme
Confession: when I was sixteen years old I started to become me.
Becoming me didn’t come without a price, I was pretty much a pariah once my Faerie Godmothers got their hands on me and transformed me into a swan.
You know, if swans wore red lipstick and hung out at gay bars and underground dance clubs in NYC on a regular basis.
While the other girls in school were buying prom dresses and doing whatever other normal girlie things they did, I was being plucked and primped and made-over by my gay best friends. Transformed.
I was a quiet book-nerd with not a lot of girl friends, but for some reason I had a handful of really close boy friends who just happened to be gay. I may have been 16 but they were 17 and 18, not much of a difference really but in the later ’70’s, 17 and 18 came with drivers licenses and an entrance to brand new world, where I didn’t have to have fluffy hair and bouncy boobs but instead was embraced for me, all 100 pounds of me. And at five feet nine and a half inches there wasn’t much surplus weight for bouncy boobs. But I digress.
Sixteen years old. How can it seem so long ago yet just like yesterday?
I was so lucky.
Timing isn’t my strong suit but this was one time my timing was timely.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show was just beginning it’s weekend midnight ritual, I wish I kept count of how many times I saw it but I know it was move than 50. It showed every weekend half a block from Manny’s Den, a low key gay bar in New Brunswick, and if we weren’t there, we were at The Gallery in NYC, where the weird and wonderful went to dance.
The beauty of it all was I could tell my Parents where I was going, as long as I was with my gay friends I could go out at 10pm and come home at 9 the next morning (on weekends only, I may have forgotten to mention the times I ditched school to hang out in the city for a few hours).
I can’t do The Gallery justice. A members-only club, hidden amongst dismal surroundings by the Bowery, but inside was Heaven. Nicky Siano was a friend of my GBFF Steven and it was Nicky’s club. New York Magazine called The Gallery, “one of the five most visually breathtaking nightspots of our time” for a reason; it was amazing. Balloons everywhere, mannequins, artwork of all kinds, indescribable light shows and huge gigantic puffy pillows strewn everywhere. Oh yeah, all kinds of celebrities hung there too but that wasn’t a big deal to me.
It was the music.
It’s no secret I’m a Punk Rocker at heart but a good beat is a good beat and when I can feel the bass pumping through my veins and hundreds of people are dancing while the lights go wild, well, how can you not move?
And I gotta tell you, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Grace Jones carried onto a stage like Cleopatra by all these muscle men before she belts out a song.
When we were at The Gallery, me just 16 years old, we were invincible. Monday mornings always brought reality check time with it and I was (usually) back in school, another ignored teenage misfit but inside? Inside I was smiling. I was engraving those memories onto my sixteen year old brain looking forward to making more. It was good armor for the desolation of being 16 and all the emotions that come with it.
~
Because I’m feeling nostalgic already on this very subject, I’m including 2 links for anyone who wants to bother, you can click and see some pictures of The Gallery. It just so happens that Nicky’s movie about The Gallery is coming out this week. It’s extra sad for me that I have to add that Frankie Knuckles narrates the movie and he passed away a few weeks ago. Frankie Knuckles is a legend himself, when I went to his birthday party a few years ago he let me touch his Grammy, which is supposed to be good luck, and when we went back to his living room Chaka Khan came in and sang Happy Birthday to him. RIP Frankie, a huge loss to the music world.
Also, the illustrations were drawn by one of my GBFF’s Robert Ambrose. We’d sit around his room and he’d sketch me and some of our adventures. He would have been a famous fashion designer but he died when he was 22 from brain cancer. I’ll never forget him and always love him. This was sketched after a night out. Yeah, I wore harem pants and platform shoes.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen/
1ofme
http://www.nickysiano.com/Bio.htm

http://www.groovescooter.com/catalogue/nickysianogallery.html



dbcb
And that was the first time I saw my Mother punch my boyfriend in the face.
Let’s put it in reverse and start from the beginning, shall we?
It started out innocently enough. Sometimes, Lori and Mark and Bobby and I did what passed for entertainment in Sayreville back in the day, we drove around town with a six-pack or two blasting really cool, mostly obscure music also known as Punk Rock and it’s roots. The New York Dolls, Alice Cooper, Silverhead, Mott The Hoople, The Stooges, The Sweet to name a few, as well as Ramones, Dead Boys, Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, Heartbreakers, you know, all the good stuff.
There wasn’t much to do around town, the drinking age had just been raised (I was grandfathered in so I was able to drink at 18) but there wasn’t a rock scene to speak of much closer than New York City.
I have no idea who came up with the harebrained scheme but it wasn’t me. I think.
One minute Lori was dropping us off one at a time at our respective houses, next thing I know she and I were back in her little Volkswagen sneakily on our way to CBGB’s.
Without our boyfriends.
Well, it’s not like any of us were engaged or anything.
It was a Friday night, but there wasn’t anything big going on at CBGB’s that night band-wise. There weren’t a lot of people there but the ones who were there were the crème de la crème, at least in my big blue eyes.
I remember sauntering in, Merv in his yellow hardhat near the door giving us the nod that meant ‘walk right in and sit yourself down’ as Lori and I walked in, looking for an empty seat at the bar. I figured we should go say hi to Cosmo but it wasn’t to be.
That’s about the time I felt a leather-clad arm wrap around my waist and pull me in, planting a kiss on me while ruffling my hair.
It was him.
I mean THE Him, as in Steve, the man/boy I lost my virginity to.
Yeah, I know, everyone called him Stiv but his name was Steve and he was the lead singer for my favorite band, The Dead Boys.
*Sorry Mama, I can’t censure myself, and besides, it’s not like it’s a big secret! Besides also, remember, you went out with musicians before you got married too, so apples and trees.*
I guess it was Rock Star Night because Cheetah Chrome and some of the rest of the Dead Boys were there, as well as Joey Ramone, a bunch of roadies and other bands but the truth is all I knew was Stiv pulled me on his lap and talked me into sipping his Margareta (I hate tequila!) and my mind went blank. In my defense I was only 18 with a history of nearly zero boyfriends… yes I know, Bobby, but we were dating, we weren’t exclusive yet (um, I think).
I was young, innocent, inexperienced, infatuated, and my Rock Idol was asking me to come back to The Diplomat Hotel with him and a few of his friends for a bit.
Lori, in the meantime, had managed to hook up with Joey Ramone in her tiny little Volkswagen. I was on my own for awhile anyway so away we went.
One of the best parts was sitting in the back seat of Stiv’s friend’s car singing along to Staying Alive by the Bee Gees. Well that and his hand on my leg, but I digress.
We hung out for awhile as they all snorted coke and I said “no thank you” then went back to CB’s within in hour.
Lori was gone.
She left me in New York alone.
She left me in New York alone and we were on a sneaky mission!!!
I was so dead.
~
I guess I have to weigh the good against the bad, so the good outweighs the bad, at least in my memory.
Imagine, you’re 18 years old and the Rock Star you lost you virginity to a few months ago hails a cab and brings you back to his room at The Diplomat Hotel to sleep over and take a train home the next morning. Imagine lying next to him while he plays Iggy Pop’s Kill City over and over, you know, the one with the song “Johanna” (which my Mother really wanted to name me), imagine him saying all the right things, recognizing and acknowledging my innocence, talking and treating me gently and sweetly (at least that time and I really am going to Hell aren’t I?), as he continued to do for years. But again, I digress.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of it, but I should have known.
After sitting with Stiv making phone calls (no cell phones back then kiddies) to make sure someone could pick me up at the bus station I hopped in a cab, got on a bus where I proceeded to tell a complete stranger my entire night and finally, there was my friend and savior, JB (RIP), waiting to pick me up.
He dropped me off in front of my house and like a scene from an Afternoon School Special about abusive boyfriends, Bobby’s car came flying down the street and I mean flying. He slammed on his brakes and sprang out of his car, hand around my upper arm pulling me into his car, screaming at me incoherently.
That’s when it happened.
My Mother, the one I’d lied to by telling her I was sleeping over a girlfriend’s house, flew out of the house, grabbed my other arm yanking me away from Bobby and then she let loose with an Irish Temper fueled punch right to his face.
I’m not talking ethics or morals or who was right or wrong, but let me tell you, it’s kinda awesome to see your Mom punch somebody in the face on your behalf when they deserve it. And Bobby deserved it, as you’ll find out…to be continued…
punch
AUTHORS NOTE: I wrote this bit for the daily prompt, but in all honesty, I’ve got a WIP going on offline, non-fiction, because you know me, it’s all about me, me, me! Right? (be careful how you answer that) Point is, I guess this is kinda a first draft of something I have up my sleeve because after all, they say write what you know and what do I know better than my past? Especially since it really was pretty awesome!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/daily-prompt-lets-go-crazy/

Sometimes, we act on impulse: it could be something as small as ordering that special dessert on the menu, maybe asking out that cute boy or girl, or as large quitting your job and selling everything you own to become a shepherd in New Zealand. What’s the most crazy, outrageously impulsive thing you’ve ever done? If you’ve never succumbed to temptation, dream a little. If you gave yourself permission to go a little crazy, what would you do?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMPULSE.



{December 28, 2013}   I’m Singing Again

bbtrainI’m the girl

Well here it is, after two years of not playing, tonight my band Bullet Train will be playing at The Dogs Of War Benefit.
Stage fright? Nope.
Nervous? Kinda.
Excited? Definitely!
As I said in my previous post, all money raised is going to a family affected by cancer.
btrrainme singing

Wish me luck my friends, it’s been awhile since I’ve been onstage but I know the Spirit of the Season and my Guardian Angels will be right there with me.
I wish each and every one of you could be there with me tonight but Sayreville New Jersey is a long way from where most of you live so I shall carry you all in my heart and if you don’t mind, I’ll be getting strength from you as I sing my heart out in the name of love and charity.
btraindowwme singing at a previous Dogs Of War
Anyone interested in attending can see my previous post where all the details are because I can’t get the link to work



cover-proof-4
I have been gifted with the honor and privilege of posting the following interview with Music Journalist Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta http://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/about/ author of a book I can’t wait to sink my greedy little teeth into. Treat yourself to an early Holiday present, starting with a little taste of Maryanne as she talks to Cynthia Santiglia about some of her many adventures in the world of Rock and Roll. Believe me, you will be glad you did. ~ jb

Finding Your Way into Print: A Talk with Music Journalist Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
By Cynthia Santiglia

The art of getting your name out there in the press, most musicians know, has a direct effect on exposure, and ultimately, on an artist’s bottom line. This comes more naturally to some than others. We spoke with author, respected music journalist and New York City music industry fixture Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for an insider’s perspective on musicians’ relationships with the press.

Cynthia: Tell us a little about your history in the music scene, Maryanne.

Maryanne: I’ve been a music fan since – forever. I remember being a little girl in the 1960s hearing all the top hits on the radio like Lou Christie, probably from age 3 onward. My mom loved Tom Jones and Barbra Streisand. My grandmother listened to WNEW-AM, so I was exposed to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. My grandmother also worked as a short order cook in a tavern. I’d go with her with a bunch of dimes for the jukebox that played current hits. There was a top 40 band that played there called Donna Lori and the Music Box. I was in awe of the singer who had long black hair like Cher.

So you got started young!

Absolutely! When I got older I started going to concerts and was fortunate enough to catch the tail end of the punk and new wave scene in NYC. I went to Max’s Kansas City, Peppermint Lounge, The Ritz – every night. You could go to Peppermint Lounge on a Monday night, and if you got there by 11 p.m. you only paid a penny to get in! I rarely got home earlier than 5 A.M. I’d write in my diary, take a shower and go to work. That was my life. I worked in the corporate world in my earlier days and took journalism classes on the side. Eventually, I started working for music companies like Latin Percussion and Long & McQuade Music.

How did you get into music writing?

Early on, I started helping a friend write a fanzine and really enjoyed that. And at all the corporate places I worked, I wrote for the company newsletters, I was always writing. In mid-1990s I started interviewing bands for Tattoo Review and In the Flesh magazines. After that it snowballed. I went on to write theatre reviews for several NYC newspapers like The Chelsea/Clinton News and the Westsider. Then I began writing for music.com, Punk, The Aquarian and The Montclair Times.

Do you think artists can really benefit from developing a rapport with their local music journalists?

Oh absolutely! Off the top of my head, I remember writing feature articles in The Montclair Times for bands that performed at Tierney’s a popular local venue. SO many people would come up to me and say, “I came because of your article!” Press really does help.

From your insider’s perspective, what do you think bands should do to get noticed? Is it all about the music, or is image as important as it seems?

I’m huge on image. I love all the Chers, the Freddie Mercurys, the Lady Gagas. I think if you’re on stage, you shouldn’t look like everyone else on the street. I love excitement and gimmicks. I still miss the onstage antics of The Plasmatics. You want to see a SHOW – cars blowing up, beautiful women, guys in tight clothes. Hell, you can even look like Meat Loaf and be sexy! When I was only 14, I saw him onstage acting all hot, rubbing up against Karla DeVito, it was mind blowing to a kid! He was wearing a tuxedo and was all sweaty. But he tapped into his confidence and it worked in his favor. Not to say I had a teenage crush on Meat Loaf – but I was in awe at how larger than life he appeared.

Do you think it’s easier to cultivate an entertaining image nowadays?

It’s a bonus that in this day and age creativity is more acceptable. When I was a kid, I got rocks thrown at me for going to school with a little Clash button on my t-shirt that you could barely notice. I’m so happy for kids today. I see kids in the suburbs walking to school with Mohawks and pink hair – it’s great! They’re adorable and so much more open-minded towards each other. You’ll see the geek with glasses hanging with a friend who has a shaved head. I wish life was like that when I was young. Not to downplay the seriousness of how bullying still exists … [sighs] some steps forward and many steps back, right? But back to style, even for myself, I want people to look at me and think, “She’s a music journalist or music lover.” Over the years I’ve had so many people approach me and ask if I was in a band. I have a visible tattoo of a 45 rpm adaptor on my wrist that I got to celebrate having my first music article published world-wide. I just think people – men and women — are more beautiful when they stand out a little bit. Be YOU-nique – it’s a great cliché to live by!

When you were covering bands, how did you like best to be approached?

Usually it was me doing the approaching. I was always on the outlook for bands/musicians to interview. At The Montclair Times I was on the list for all the record labels. I’d get stuff in the mail and ferret through to see what CDs I’d want to review and who I’d want to interview. Or an editor would approach me with a story. Very rarely did bands approach me – no one knew who I was, ha-ha! *smiles*

Were there turn-offs that made you less interested in an artist’s story, even if you liked the music?

Oh my God, yes! When I was in my early 20s, I lived with a guy who had a cousin that was the lead singer of well known goth band. I loved the music and went to see them several times. Yet the cousin hated me. I later found out it was because I looked like a girl who broke his heart – but still, definitely no reason to be hatin’! It’s not my fault she was cute, right? This guy never said “hello” to me. I said “Hi” but he didn’t answer. He’d call my home and ask for the guy I was living with, never acknowledged that I was there. A total creep! And this was a guy I sat next to at weddings because I dated his cousin a long time! So, it’s not like he didn’t know me, yet he was still rude. Anyway, years later when I was writing for The Aquarian, I got an email from his publicity person – in the subject line: An Interview MUST! (How obnoxious, right?) I deleted it. Never interviewed the guy. Had zero interest.

That’s a good example of how sometimes it’s about what NOT to do. Any tips for artists who want to go after media coverage, but don’t know where to start?

Definitely call all the local newspapers. Contact magazines. Journalists are so easily accessible. One of my editors used to tell everyone his phone number was listed in case anyone ever needed him. I think promotion is so key. Get a good publicity person! Get on the local radios. Get in all the newspapers. Also make sure you have a great publicity shot. I’ll never forget interviewing David Johansen for The Montclair Times and receiving a measly black and white shot from his publicist. We wanted to put him on the cover of the entertainment section, but we couldn’t because black and white wasn’t cover material. The publicist couldn’t get us a color picture, so we ended up putting a local musician named Cate on the cover. Cate was a perfect example of a musician who knew how to promote himself. He was always sending us press releases, updating us on where he was performing. Hell, the dude even made all natural Cate cookies with his picture on them – and they were delicious!

Your upcoming book is called “On the Guest List”- sounds like you have a ton of interesting stories to tell that both musicians and fans will love hearing! What inspired you to document your experiences in a memoir?

It was never on my agenda to write a book. One day my husband and I were talking to a guy, Ron, who owns a small video store at Collingwood flea market down the Jersey shore. He is really into punk music and we hit it off. I told him a few funny stories and he said, “I’d read a book with stories like that.” I said, “Really?” I never thought my life was special, but the thing is – my story is everyone’s story. I’d like to believe there’s a little something that anyone can latch onto – even if they are not on the same page with music. Judy McGuire, columnist/author, wrote one of my endorsements. She gave a great compliment saying that unlike other rock ‘n’ roll memoirs, I start as a music fan and end a music fan. There’s no drug addiction or downward spiral. It’s just a happy, feel good story. I will share that the edge of the book is that I am very against certain negative things in life such as jealousy and bullying – and I make it no
secret how I feel about that. I hope the book will inspire young kids who are being bullied and make them realize, there’s a big world out there and there’s a place for everyone to feel they fit in. For me, it was always with the musicians. Hell, I can’t even brush my teeth without a record on! I need music – almost constantly!

Can you give us a little sneak peek?

I’m often getting myself into these “I Love Lucy” screwball comedy situations. One time I got locked in Max’s with friends- and we had to break out! Within minutes the cops came and we ran for our lives. Another time I was with a friend who was interviewing Cheetah Chrome for a radio show. I somehow got locked in his bathroom! Another bathroom story … over the years I somehow ended up being friends with Lenny Kaye of The Patti Smith Group. A new magazine I was writing for was having a premier party at Sapphire Lounge in the East Village. I casually invited Lenny, never thinking he’d show. Well, here I am in this dinky bathroom and the editor knocks on the door, “Maryanne, your guest Lenny Kaye is here!” I already had a few beers, and you know how that is – so I’m trying to rush my business- just to greet Lenny Kaye!

Haha! It’s going to be such a fun read. Thanks so much for talking with us today, Maryanne!

My pleasure!

Cynthia Santiglia is a freelance writer, copyeditor, singer, and swing shift convenience store clerk. Love notes welcome at MissCynthiaSantiglia@gmail.com



{November 23, 2013}   Daily Prompt~Playtime

AUTHORS NOTE: Playtime to me means playing with my band, so without further ado, here are some shamelessly self promoting pics of me playing.
me bullet trainMe singing with my band Bullet Train

mebtMore me singing with Bullet Train

mebtrMe again, singing with Bullet Train

mebtraMe in a very rare moment, smiling as we wait to hit the stage

mebtraiBullet Train CD cover

merwMe playing guitar before I finally cut my Pre-Raphaelite wanna-be hair

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et cetera