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.

TMOM: Music?

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)