by Patrick O’Heffernan
As you might expect, it will difficult this Sunday to go anywhere in LA without running into a jazz brunch or a Mother’s Day concert. Among the many places you can take your mom for mimosas and music are the Chopin Vodka Mother’s Day Brunch at the Catalina with Tyrone “Mr. Superfantast”, or Pips on La Brea for Cal Bennet’s jazz band. If she wants to focus on an unlimited buffet and bottomless mimosas with her her jazz, you can offer to treat her to Concert One’s Sunday Jazz Brunch– Mother’s Day Edition, at the Renaissance Hotel, near LAX .
If brunch is not her thing (she wants to sleep in) but she still wants her day to be marked by music, there are plenty of afternoon and evening concerts. The Lawrence Arms will help you celebrate Mother’s Day Sunday night at the El Rey with punk style. Or perhaps she has seen the Echosmith Trio on late night TV and wants to see them live at The Fonda. Or you and your mom can rock out late with Zapp, Lisa Lisa & The Original Mary Jane Girls at Microsoft’s Novo. If brunch is too early and rock concerts are too late, bring mom to Fully Fullwood’s Mother’s Day Reggae Show and Benefit for Homeless Children in Long Beach, starting at 3 pm.
And that just scratches the surface Mother’s Day Music in the City of Angels.
But there is more to Mother’s Day than jazz brunches and concerts. There are the women of rock who are also moms. Beyoncé, of course, tops the list (as she does every list), famously postponing her 2017 Coachella debut for a year when she discovered she was pregnant with twins but came roaring back with the 2018 Homecoming Spectacular. Other Moms Who Rock Us are Yoko Ono, Alanis Morrissett, Gwen Stefani, Kori Gardner of Mates of State, Adele, drummer Elaine Bradley of Neon Trees, and Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire. Closer to home, LA loves San Diego-based reggae queen and mom, Hirie, and this year we celebrated the new momhood of the LA-based, tri-national, multiple award-winning singer/songwriter Athena, who can be heard on Leonard Cohen’s latest record You Want It Darker.
But there are more moms in music than those on stage. Promoter and founder of the new music promotion agency RepubliquePR, Julieta Isela (pictured at the top of the article), is sending her son off to college this year – no small feat for anyone in this business. Platinum songwriter and Songwriters of America Board Member Shelly Peiken has raised a very talented daughter who gets mentioned in her weekly blog every now and then. And I recently learned that Laurie Reimer, Production Manager/Music Librarian/backup singer of the Tribe and prolific event and music producer is not only a mom, but a grandmom.
Two other moms who are not on stage but are powerhouses in the music scene produce two of my favorite rock music magazine (full disclosure – I write for both of them) and raise fantastic families while they do it. Marisol Richardson, Editor and Publisher of Music Junkie Press in Northern California, and Dianna Augustine, President and CEO of Shutter 16. Both women put out top-notch publications infused with a near-obsessive love of rock music (or all music). And both have powered through setbacks that would have put lesser folks out of business – a testament to the power of women and of mothers.
Richardson’s Music Junkie Press is an online chronicle of rock music in Northern California and nationally. She publishes it with her son Ryan, the extraordinary music photographer known in the business as “Rockin Ryan”. Richardson corrals a far-flung crew of writers and reviewers and photographers to put out a first-class publication that is always there for the big events and the big bands. But on Oct. 25, 2017, the Tubbs Fire swept through their neighborhood in Santa Rosa, destroying their home, the offices of Music Junkie Press, decades of back issues, computers and other equipment, all but one of Ryan’s cameras, his collection of over 75 vintage and signed guitars, and pretty much everything they owned, none of it insured. Nevertheless, they were happy to be alive and roared back, Phoenix-like, relocating to Silicon Valley, gathering friends and supporters and musicians around them to get back online, and today turning out an even better product.
Mom Dianna Augustine, President and CEO of Shutte16 based in Charlotte, NC, produces an award-winning online publication covering the rock music scene in the South and nationally. With a dedicated community of over 30 photographers, writers, photojournalists, and others, Dianna sets the standard for regional and often national music journalism and photography. And she does it while raising 5 children and fighting off a number of health problems which have often forced her to stay in bed for days.
Hats off also to both women’s husbands, whose love, support and hard work help buttress Richardson’s and Augustine’s success. But whether it is rebuilding a publication with your son after losing everything in a fire, or powering through debilitating illness while managing the sprawling logistics of a magazine and a large family, these two women — and all the other mothers who play the guitars and basses and drums and keys, work in production suits, control soundboards and run PR campaigns and everything else that makes music possible today, Happy Mother’s Day. You are amazing.
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