Spa Music

Originally published in Sound Waves Magazine January 2021

Recently, during one pandemic inspired particularly sleepless night, I had this bright idea to ask Alexa to play some spa music.  I figured, “Hey, if I can’t actually be there, I can pretend to be there.”  You know the place:  an oceanside faraway resort with a rooftop veranda adorned with fluffy wavy curtains, some comfy cushioned tables to lie on, a couple of oiled-up warm massaging hands at the ready, and the aforementioned, spa music.

But since I was lying in my drafty old bedroom, with nobody’s hands all over me, I had nothing to do but listen to the music.  But you see, we musicians can’t just listen to music like normal people.  You know, enjoy it for what it is.  No, we have to analyze, criticize, monetize, actualize, categorize and hypothesize.  For example, why did this spa music composer choose a 7-part harmony vocal patch instead of just a synth sound?  Since when was it OK to go from that chord to this chord and what circle of fifth dimension is this person in?  Why is there a random chime now?  Who wants to hear a drum beat during a massage?  Enough already with the arpeggios too.  And, why does this playlist never end?  That sort of thing.

Inevitably, because I was thinking so hard about the music, instead of wallowing in the so-called lusciousness of the music, I became more alert than when I started, my mind racing and all, and had to go do a crossword puzzle.  These obscure little word games can distract, detract, confound, befuddle and bemuse just as well as listening to spa music, and as an added bonus, I can learn a thing or two.  Not so much with spa music. So even though 2020 thinks it b*tch-slapped us into thinking we must subject ourselves to truly horrible things, like spa music, we still have a choice.  I choose knowledge and truth.  And puzzles.


Dried Up

originally published in Sound Waves Magazine May 2020

I popped open my green bottle of CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara for the first time in 48 days just to see how she was doing and as expected, she was all dried up.  Desiccated.  Dehydrated.  Juiceless.  Useless.  Every day for my entire life since I was about 13 I had covered my eyelashes with the gooey stuff (for reasons decidedly unknown) in order to face the world.  It’s a thing we girls do.  But during a global pandemic with stay-at-home orders and such, who cares about our eyelashes?  There’s no one to show them off to.  Why did we ever care so much about our eyelashes anyway?


I pondered adding new makeup to my ever-growing Amazon cart or risking life and limb with a trip to the petri dish of the local CVS.  But just for a moment.  IT JUST DIDN’T MATTER.  Not one iota.

That’s the thing with this virus.  Some things just no longer matter.  The clothes you wear, the condition of your hair, the over-priced makeup.  I imagine that some people may be struggling with the lack of opportunities to show off their impeccable taste and finesse with garnering a well-put-together outward appearance, but alas, nobody’s looking at anybody.  We’re barely looking each other in the eye as we slither past six feet apart.  Who cares if it’s day three of the same yoga pants?  We’re alive.  So far.

The reason I bring up the dried-up mascara is tragically because I too am dried up.  Musically that is.  I just can’t seem to find the joy in any of it.  It just makes me sad.

During a global pandemic it’s common knowledge, because we’re all such experts now, that humans are expected to do all the things they’ve always wanted to.  Take the time and really appreciate the little things.  Learn to cook.  Learn to garden.  Read books. Enjoy your family.  Listen to music.

I haven’t done a freakin’ thing.  I’ve picked up my guitar maybe twice.  I’m so joyful-music-deprived that when I drove to the Kentucky Fried Chicken drive-through to get the biggest bucket of finger-lickin’ goop they had, when the radio played NSYNC’s’ “Bye Bye Bye” I cranked it up as high as it would go and bopped and danced in my car like a freakin’ lunatic.  But it only lasted three minutes.  Then I was in face-masked and hand sanitizer mode to complete the transaction through the window and the joy went “Bye Bye Bye.”

Times are tough people.

I think the earth is just rebooting.  Remember those butter commercials “It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature?”  She is in charge whether we want to believe it or not.  She’s not out to kill the seven billion that we are, but she appears to be very interested in cleaning up the pollution.  Look at the scenes from big cities and the views they have now.  India can now see Mount Everest for the first time in 30 years.  There aren’t many cars around and not many mascara bottles clogging up the dumps.  Or maybe she does want the animals to rule again so we become one big happy  animal planet.  Have you seen the wild animals roaming the streets?  That brings a tad of joy.  Like the cops who had to chase a wild pig through a neighborhood.  That’s funny stuff right there!

I suppose we’ll eventually get back to normal, get over all the sadness and come back more appreciative, less worried about how we look, and care more about how we treat our fellow humans.  And the music will play on.  Because in the end, in the immortal words of AC/DC, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.”

So rock on, stay safe and healthy, we’ll get back at it soon.


originally published in Sound Waves Magazine February 2020

Every Winter in New England I go outside onto my deck and look up. The stars are so bright this time of year. I see Orion’s Belt, the Little Dipper and as if on cue, I turn to my left and see the Big Dipper. In high school, I received an A+ in Astronomy (don’t fact check me!) as I was quite fascinated in what else was out there. I loved Star Trek, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind… all of it. The course itself called for a lot of math and physics with discussions around clouds of dust and nebula and gravitational attraction, protostars, the Milky Way (such an awesome candy bar) and nuclear fusion and hydrogen and helium. Astronautical things. Rocket Science. I thought stars were so cool to look at (while actually superhot inside their core). They’re shiny and bright and they twinkle. They stay alive for hundreds of billions of years. But what I remember most through my studies was how I felt: incredibly indelibly irreversibly teensy-weensy; you know…small. There’s a whole lotta stuff up there and I’m just me. I’m just particles and atoms and molecules bouncing off each other, as it were.

Gazing up at the stars, I pondered things. I wondered, so what makes a rock star? An athletic star? A star CEO? A star politician? Particles and atoms and molecules yes, but what else is it? What astronomical reactions are at play? Some would say what makes the human kind of stars are charisma, talent, likability, accomplishments, notoriety, personality and such. The majority of the humans who come in contact with these “stars” agree they are indeed, stars. So therefore, we call them stars.

In the music biz sometimes we call each other “rock stars” I think to make us feel better about ourselves, to not feel so insignificantly small. But the truth of the matter is, everybody can’t be a star. There’s not enough room on the planet. Or is there? I think if you want to be a star, whatever your field, if you simply allow the things inside your soul (what is a soul made out of?) to come out freely and truly, to want to be somebody, to want to “matter,” you can become, the perfect human star, whether or not the majority of people in the universe agree with your own assessment.

I like stars. I used to want to be one (the Rock Star kind.) But now I’m happy with a nice warm meal once in a while, plenty of toilet paper and a couple gigs a month. You can go ahead and call me a Rock Star if you want though.




*originally published in Sound Waves Magazine June 2017

From out on my back deck in the woods of Stonington, CT I hear all kinds of noise.  Tractor trailer truck tires hitting the highway’s shoulder rivets, dirt bikes whirling the grounds of a backyard, Ninja motorcycles racing for a thrill, various yelps and squeals from the woods which could be a deer giving birth or a human working an electric saw for a tree house.   An 8-year old kid learning the saxophone, coyotes fighting, the boom of a fireworks finale, my dog whimpering in the closet, weed whackers and water cannonballs from a nearby pool.  A camera drone, a piper twin, a generator during a power outage.

I can deal with all these noises.  But one I cannot fathom, or accept, is the thunder of a suicide bomb inside a concert venue.  Or, the sound of my 22-year old daughter who has already attended over 50 concerts, telling me she’s afraid to go to concerts now.


My first concert was The Beach Boys at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT.  Everybody remembers their first concert.  I plan to go see Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds tour at Foxwoods Resort Casino in September to make it all come full circle.  Concerts are sacred things.  When I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert for the first time, it changed my life.  (This happens to a lot of people.)  The hope – the joy – the energy – the feeling you get that life is worth living, worth celebrating, worth screaming at the top of your lungs for.  That’s what concerts are for.


We simply cannot let them win.