TMOM: Who is a “Rock Mom”?
JOY ROSE: The Rock Mom is educated. She’s lived, worked, and thrived in a major city. She’s juggled three jobs at once. She’s a babe of the world.
TMOM: How did you make the transition from housewife to Rock Mom?
JOY ROSE: It was quite the journey. My healing journey, I call it, because it started when I was still pretty sick. I was weak and felt terrible, but I kept hearing music in my head.
JOY ROSE: Songs. Singing is one of my great passions, but because of kids and then illness, it had really fallen by the wayside. But somehow when I was really sick, songs just kept streaming through my head until I couldn’t ignore them anymore.
TMOM: What did you do?
JOY ROSE: I started singing into a tape recorder. Then I started singing to my kids. And the more I sang, the better I felt. I just got stronger and stronger. That’s when I decided to start a band.
TMOM: How did you recruit musicians to join you?
JOY ROSE: It was Christmas 1997, and I was attending several holiday parties in my neighborhood. I listened to the conversations of other moms like me and realized how many of them had given up on their passions. They’d say “oh, I used to love playing guitar, but who has time now with the kids”, or “well, there’s no point pursuing music when you can’t make a living at it.” So I talked several of these women into starting a band, and “Housewives on Prozac” was born.
TMOM: How was your health at that point?
JOY ROSE: It wasn’t great. The Lupus was in remission, but it had attacked my kidneys. Doctors told me I was at the beginning of renal failure. So after two great years with the band, a kidney transplant was unavoidable.
TMOM: Did that put your creativity on hold again?
JOY ROSE: No, it just altered its direction. While waiting for the transplant, I wrote a rock musical called “Shut up and Drive” – it was about a woman’s journey from babies in the ‘burbs to the wholeness of art. I hired a group of musicians from New York to perform it and we had a six-week sold out run.
TMOM: Did this success spur your musical career?
JOY ROSE: The band, the musical, and the kidney transplant made me feel reborn. They made me realize that moms and their art are my passion, and I became determined to provide those moms with on-stage opportunities. That’s how Mamapalooza was born.
TMOM: What exactly is Mamapalooza?
JOY ROSE: Mamapalooza itself is an annual festival that takes place on various stages all over the country and features mom-based talent. But more than that, it’s moms writing songs, books, plays, and comedy about our experiences – entertainment by moms for moms.
Read Joy Rose’s Traveling Rock Mom story (Part 4)