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‘On the Guest List’ is Not a Groupie Memoir

Published July 12, 2015 by Maryanne

Cover proof 4

My  memoir “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”

Even though the sub-title clearly reads “Adventures of a Music Journalist” I’ve had a few people assume this book is a groupie book. It’s not.

My synopsis on Amazon reads:

“On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is a fun, upbeat memoir about a girl who loves music and life in general. Maryanne paints a vivid picture of being a teenager in the 1970s and young woman in the 1980s — and how the punk, new wave and rock scene was from a young fan’s viewpoint. Life truly comes together for Maryanne once she creates a career for herself reporting on the music she loves, writing for publications such as The Aquarian Arts Weekly, music.com and Punk magazine. Unlike other music memoirs, there is no downward spiral into drugs and addiction. Nor is it a groupie “tell all.” “On the Guest List” is simply a compilation of mostly happy memories straight from the pages of Maryanne’s diaries — and of course, her heart.

I remember the first time I heard the term “groupie” in Creem and Circus magazines when I was 13-year-old, back in the summer of 1977. I looked up the word in the dictionary. It wasn’t there, but I figured out soon enough what it meant.

I was only joking when I wrote my ambition was to be a groupie in my high school year book. I hated my high school, so putting something shocking was my way of getting back at a place where I spent three miserable years (my freshman year was at a college prep school that I loved).

Even though I was never a groupie, the groupie books are good reads to me because they’re about music. And I’m sure a lot of groupies are cool, as I’ve met a few over the years and had a lot of fun hanging out with them. But for me, I never wanted to be out of control in a relationship. Whether something works out or not, it needs to at least start off evenly. Not only that, when I first became a diehard music fan at the age of 13, when you think of all these bands I looked up to and admired, the musicians were already in their 20s and 30s. And that’s damn old to a child!

At 15 when real boys came into the picture, local musicians were the ones who really excited me. First of all they were cuter then the big rock stars because they were my age. And because they went to my school (or another school) and weren’t in magazines, they were my equal. Plus, they were accessible. I didn’t have to chase after them like groupies chase after famous musicians. While there were times when I made the first move, more often the guy did.

At 15, I had a lot figured out already. For instance, once I met someone really cool and talented, it wasn’t enough to be mere arm candy. So when my first musician boyfriend performed a party, in my basement, it was important to me to introduce the band. That night I wore satin pants and a black beaded hat over my long brown hair, with blonde highlights. Then I took the microphone and got the party started. That made me feel like I was somebody too. Not a lazy person in the background who is identified by her boyfriend.

As a young go-getter I took all kinds of music lessons, but it was writing I preferred. Before I became a professional writer, I co-wrote and co-starred in an off-Broadway play. I always either worked for publishing companies or music companies. I needed to do something I believed in. A lot of people I dated admired me for this, others were jealous about it, so I’d have to leave them.

This is where most groupies miss the boat. They obsess over the object of their desire and lose themselves in the process. I’ve read too many groupie books that ended so negatively. The woman appears sad and bitter as she goes back to living the same simple life she did before she obsessed over the rock star, not knowing or ever experiencing her own worth. Some are married and still sounding regretful for being scorned by their former musician they stalked. It’s so sad and I feel bad for their husbands. Some even exaggerate the relationship and it’s so obvious they are lying.

That’s never the kind of life I wanted.

When I was 17, as I wrote in “Guest List” I was able to meet The Bay City Rollers when they were recording an album in New Jersey. Guitarist Eric Faulkner was a good 10 years older than me and hit on me that evening, asking me to come to his bedroom. We had our arms around each other and were face to face. He was really cute, super funny and very very nice. But I declined. Because if anything did happen, I knew I’d never see him again. Teenage romance is hard enough as it is, I didn’t need that kind of rejection.

Pamela Des Barres wrote in one of her books that her relationships didn’t work because she put these guys on a pedestal, they could only look down on her. And she was smart enough to figure it out and end up leading a happy life. As did many other groupies — the ones who were intelligent and able to move on.

My husband had a taste of success with his 1980s band Pharoah. They were signed, had a video on MTV and played all major NYC nightclubs. People like Jeff Beck, Gene Simmons and members of Metallica were in their audience (Jeff Beck at Club Nirvana and Gene Simmons at The Cat Club). I followed Pharoah around in their earlier years, before they got to that high status. I never knew that in years to come the bass player, Dennis Lords, would marry me. It was at a Pharoah reunion in 2005 that Dennis and I had a nice chat and realized how attracted we were to each other. Some mistakenly thought we were together in the past, but I never ever knew him that way before! I guess our chemistry is so intense, it seems like we’ve been together a lot more than our almost 10 years.

And as successful as my husband was with his music, I never felt like his inferior. From day one he was so impressed that I was a full time journalist. He still keeps the first business card I gave him in his wallet.

When we do something that’s related to his music career, I’m proud to be “Dennis’s wife.” When he does something that is related to my business, he’s happy to be “Maryanne’s husband.” We are a team … as it should be!

This was always my goal, aspiring to have a very happy relationship and marriage. And I got one because I never settled for being second best.

Maryanne and Dennis by Jeff

Maryanne and almost famous husband, Dennis Lords

Pharoah on “Late Night with Johnny P”

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X) and “Love Cats” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/)

She’s also an award-winning journalist and public speaker.

To have Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta speak at your organization, email her at maryannechristiano@gmail.com for pricing and availability.

Book Reading/Signing Bergenfield Library, New Jersey

Published April 22, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_4053Me and librarian, Don Hansen

I had an amazing time this morning at the Bergenfield Library, where I did a book reading and signing for my first book: “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X).

It was an excellent turn out! All the seats were filled! For the past several months I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking, but reading from your own book and having people enjoy it and say things like, “You were delightful” was phenomenal!

I shared several stories from my book including: My first concert (Meat Loaf), my friendship with the late Cyrinda Foxe, getting locked in Max’s Kansas City and hanging out with The Bay City Rollers!

I sold several books and I am ecstatic!

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I love my lucky “Billy Cat” bag from my friend Shaolin.

I carry the books in here, it brings me good luck!

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I enjoyed meeting new people I haven’t met before!

SAM_4059This cool lady told me her kids call her “Metal Mom!”

SAM_4060Friends who actually found me via this blog!

They were at the Annabella Lwin show last fall and saw my blog about the show!

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SAM_4063Afterward, with my husband Dennis, my rock!

“On the Guest List” Sneak Preview Book Cover!

Published November 15, 2013 by Maryanne

Cover proof 4(Cover Design by Darlene Foster, photo by Ed O’Brien)

Hello All!

I am absolutely thrilled by all the hard work Darlene Foster (www.darlenefoster.com) did in putting together the cover for my upcoming book, “On the Guest List.”

She was truly an asset to my vision and went above and beyond my expectations.

It’s such a blessing to have such creative people involved in my vision.

The next several months I’ll be poking around seeking the perfect self-publishing company and plan on having my book out by Spring 2014.

I’ve hired a couple promoters and check out my Face Book page – I’m thrilled by all the positive comments! https://www.facebook.com/maryanne.christianomistretta.1

So, moving along as planned!

Always Musicians

Published March 2, 2013 by Maryanne

ian-mitchell-bay-city-rollerIan Mitchell of Bay City Rollers (photo swiped from Google search)

Last night my husband and I were talking about our childhood crushes and he asked me if I ever had a crush on a television star or if it was always musicians.

It was always musicians.

A late bloomer, I didn’t have my first real crush until I was about 11- or 12-years-old and it was on Ian Mitchell of The Bay City Rollers. He was just the cutest thing and I started buying all the 1970s Tiger Beats and 16 magazines just to have a lot of pictures of him. Ian Mitchell wasn’t an original Roller as he was first featured on their “Dedication” album.

Shortly after that musician crush, I moved on to Freddie Mercury of Queen. A classmate said that I “go from one extreme to the other.”

Freddie MercuryFreddie Mercury

My crush on Freddie Mercury lasted at least two years from ages 12 to 14. Again, I went crazy with the magazines, but Freddie Mercury wasn’t in 16 and Tiger Beat, I had to move on to Creem, Circus and Hit Parader. Soon all the pictures of Ian on my wall were replaced with Freddie Mercury pictures and posters. I got all the Queen albums and stole my mom’s vitamins, thinking they would help me stay awake to watch Queen on Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert, which came on at 1 a.m. on Saturday night.

I still have my year book album and the entry a friend wrote, “I hope you marry Freddie Mercury someday.”

Crushes on musicians soon became a reality because from my first boyfriend onward it was always musicians. And if someone I was interested in wasn’t a musician he  had to at least have a record collection bigger than mine or the relationship was doomed by me being bored with him.

Music is my favorite thing in the world and there is just something so special about a person with musical talent. Maybe subconsciously because I fail in this area, having no rhythm or even the desire to pick up an instrument — even after trying so many: guitar, violin, viola, keyboard, singing lessons, the best I can do is sing back-up or write lyrics (at least they are GOOD lyrics!)

I also think, as an independent kind of person, a musician naturally respects that independence. I think a lot of women would agree that it’s annoying if someone counts on you 24/7 to make his life complete. That kind of energy is just undo-able! It’s nice that if you feel you want to read a book or something, your significant other can go off in his studio and practice a song.

Music is such a God-given talent and I’m always impressed by people (both men and women) who can express themselves musically. As much as I love art and reading and even yoga as an art, music will always be my favorite thing in the creative field.

People who gravitate to music whether they have an actual talent, or just a great appreciation as I do (having a huge music collection and an extreme need to hear  live music as often as possible), seem to be the most sensitive, easiest to talk to, most caring, most amazing people. And funny as hell, I might add. (What’s that saying, every musician wishes he could be a comedian?)

There are those who keep up with the Joneses, but I prefer to keep up with the Tom Joneses and the Davy Joneses. So I have a confession to make: if I can’t talk music with someone, I just ain’t interested!

Many years ago when I was very young (early 20s) and super single (as in no prospects at all on the horizon!) one of my young co-workers wanted to fix me up with someone. When she showed me his photo I was impressed. He looked like a young Elvis. And then he was even cuter in person. He was kind and generous, treating our table of six to a wonderful meal. But when I asked him the magic question, “What kind of music do you like?” He said he didn’t know.

What kind of answer was that? I knew we weren’t going to get far and I didn’t even kiss him goodnight. I mean, this guy was a total catch — for another lovely young lady, but not for me.

I need to talk music!

Oh yeah … over the years I’ve dated actors, artists, other writers, but always came back to musicians. It is true, music makes the world go ’round. While most young women dream of a romantic dinner, my favorite dates were always concerts, whether it was in an arena or just seeing a local band in a dive bar. Music is, was and always will be the romantic back-drop to my life. And my soundtracks are endless. Each and every song I know reminds me of a story (or several stories) of my life.

Now I’m not saying that EVERY musician is the cat’s meow. Oh no, definitely not! I’ve dated quite a few “winners” (meaning “losers”) that were musicians. For instance, there was one, no TWO actually, who were such ego maniacs that they got offended if I listened to any music other than THEIRS! (Eww, right?)

And then there was another who was so high on himself he actually said he thanked his mother for being so good-looking. Eww, again!

And then what’s that saying, “What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?” HOMELESS! It is so true that to the stereotype that SOME musicians are moochers, as well as cheaters, and flakes, and stalkers and everything else you’ve heard. But that is true with everyone (male and female alike). You just have to find that jewel in the haystack and then life is super duper good!

So while some relationships with musician were horrific, there were several that I’ll have great memories because they were simply cool and treated me right. It’s all about respect and I’m always happy knowing that even if someone wasn’t “THE ONE” I could still have that mutual respect and enjoy myself for as long as the mutual infatuation lasted. And when I see these dudes in bars or what not, I will always say “Hey, how ya doing?” It’s all good and I always wish them the best.

In spite of all the stereotypes, there are a ton of musicians out there who are hard-working, stable, loving, adoring, loyal and family-oriented. Deep down, I always knew this!

I finally met the musician of my dreams when I hooked up with my husband late 2005. Actually, I knew my husband since I was a teenager, as I used to follow his band Pharoah. And for about six months I was part of their theatrical stage show, but Dennis and I never really had a long conversation, it was more like, “Hey, how are you?” I always thought he was cute though, but neither of us were ever available. I always had a boyfriend and he always had a girlfriend.

In late 2005, Pharoah played a benefit concert for the drummer, Nelson, who lost his wife to cancer. That was the first time Dennis and I actually had a real conversation and a few weeks later we started dating and became inseparable. The sparks just flew!

We married 11/9/11 and are so happy.

Maryanne at Pharoah showMe in front of my husband performing as Dennis Lords in his band, Pharoah

Dennis - Characters 2007Dennis playing with The Characters

One of the coolest things about my husband is that he’s not only a musician but a music fan! He is not intimated or jealous of other musicians, but rather in awe. Together we have the most massive collection of records and CDs.

We always have music playing in our home, both upstairs and downstairs. When we get ready to start our day, we’ll have blues or swing or The Monkees playing downstairs; and upstairs I’ll have the Sex Pistols or Sophie B. Hawkins or HIM.

We always go to live performances, especially in the summer when there are so many free concerts to take advantage of.

Once in a blue moon we’ll create together and write a song. We’re always having fun and being silly. We love taking long rides, listening to the radio and talking about anything and everything.

This is why I’m so happy all the time! My husband makes me complete in so many ways. He’s my go-to person when I’m sad and always there for me through thick and thin.

Parents may encourage their daughters to marry a doctor or a lawyer, but I say to be truly happy, marry a musician!