"I taught my kids all about music. I listened to everything with them."

Punk Rock Mom

Many of you do not know much about my life before cancer. Of course many of you do. Most of you know why Jon named the blog punk rock mommy. I thought maybe I could give you a little history lesson though just for fun. It seemed more interesting than boo hooing through another 4 paragraphs of I have cancer.I grew up in Florida. At the age of 12, I discovered punk rock and new wave music. I fell in love with the Ramones, the Clash, and Blondie. Soon I discovered Iggy Pop and X. My love affair with music never really left. My ipod is filled with thousands of songs that transport me to a different time or moment in my life.

When I moved to Philadelphia I already had multiple hair colors and my ears were pierced a dozen times. Soon after I pierced my nose myself (in the shower!) I was a punk enthusiast. I went to all ages shows in my mom’s neighborhood. I saw the Pagan Babies and just about anything remotely cool. I danced in the pit. I guess just after I turned 18, I met the father of my first 5 kids. My ex husband. He was a musician. He rode a skateboard. And he knew every other band in the city. He took me to shows. We saw Scab Cadillac, the Serial Killers, More Fiends, Deadspot, Throttle, the She Males. Every other night he was sneaking me into see all these great Philly bands. Of course I also got to see Nirvana play Dobbs in 1989. Soundgarden and Pearl Jam too. Mudhoney played a basement show in West Philly. I listened to them play while I sat on a Maytag dryer.

This was my pre-mom life. But truth be told I went to shows even after I had kids. Sometimes they were outdoor shows at Clark Park. Sometimes we got a babysitter. I stayed friends with all my childless punk rock cohorts. It never occurred to me to exclusively seek out other mommies for companionship. I had mommy friends, but sometimes I felt just a bit on the weird side for them. What with the tattoos and piercings. I taught my kids all about music. I listened to everything with them. Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, and the Stooges. My kids too have a pretty diverse and eclectic taste in music. They went to Rock School and played their own shows for years. They played at CBGB’s in NYC. And just to make all my dreams come true in 2003 all 4 of my sons sang “I wanna be sedated” at CBGB’s with Marky Ramone on drums.

I worked at Tattooed Mom’s and Rock School and Zipperhead. My hair color ,tattoos and piercings never prevented me from getting a job. I met lots of interesting people and had a very good time. When I met my husband Kelly I found the perfect soul mate for my 34 year old inner punk adolescent. And Clay Smith our son is a lovely addition to my house full of little rockers. With his perfect sense of timing I think he is destined to be a drummer. I can dream right? Being outside the norm has never been a hindrance to me. I feel lucky to be part of such an amazing sub-culture group.

A few months ago my friend Keith called. He played in a band called Trained Attack Dogs in the 80′s. He told me he wanted to do a benefit for me and the kids. He had the lofty idea to get all those now defunct punk bands back together to do a show for me. I was giddy. How cool I thought? Well over the last 4 months Keith has put together quite a show. T.A.D,Throttle, and Deadspot, are all playing at the North Star Bar this Saturday night. It is really a punk rock family reunion. People have come in from as far as away as Florida and California. I feel so fortunate. I feel blessed to be apart of such a wonderful community.

In truth this event may not be everyones cup of tea. But for those of you who are interested please come. I will be there for sure. In fact I am pretty excited. I am looking forward to seeing a lot of good friends. And not talking at all about my stupid cancer. Or the future. I think what drew me to this kind of music was the power behind it. The loud in your face side. I liked the political part. I liked the anti – establishment stuff. I would like to think I outgrew all the angry stuff. Maybe I did. I think what stuck is the need to be an individual and not be influenced by everyone else. I like to think that even with my disease I have forged my own path. I questioned everything and looked for the best situation for me. I think that is pretty punk rock.

“Joe Annaruma is a softie. Only because Philly’s hardcore father’s Big Fat Ugly brand puts on charity-mostly shows. And because his legendary Throttle‘s original lineup’ll reunite with Deadspot (first gig since ’92), Trained Attack Dogs and guys from Pagan Babies for a gargling-razorblade escapade to benefit cancer victim Andrea Collins-Smith, Philly’s Punk Rock mommy. It’s March 29 at North Star; there’s raffles from Crash Bang Boom, AKA, Bad Horse, etc., and no fucking guest list so don’t ask. Do this or die, punk.” (A.D. Amorosi – Philadelphia CityPaper)