Ten Years as Girlyman

There are a lot of dates that we could conceivably use to celebrated the anniversary of Girlyman . There’s the date that we first performed under the name “Girlyman” (Feb. 3, 2002), the date we first arranged “Montpelier” for three voices in a car together (Aug. 1, 2001), the date Doris & Ty met (Sept. 1981). But the date that we most often use is the date that we scheduled our first rehearsal: Sep. 11, 2001.

Doris, Ty and I were living in an apartment on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Doris had a therapy appointment in Manhattan that morning, and Ty and I spent much of the early morning complaining about how annoying the music business was (ignoring the blaring sirens of fire trucks outside). We lived through that day unscathed, but what happened put us in a state of shock that lasted for months. In New York, there were anthrax scares and constant rumors of further terrorist attacks. We had a feeling that any day could truly be our last on on Earth. And there was an overriding feeling of helplessness – we couldn’t really help anyone who had died or lost a loved one on that day. It seemed there was nothing we could do to prevent either another terrorist attack or the belligerent foreign policy our nation was beginning to pursue. In a state of not feeling safe and not knowing what we could do to help, we just started to make music together.

As we’ve mentioned in some of our previous posts, our next CD will be titled Supernova. A supernova is a dying star, a giant explosion that can outshine an entire galaxy before fading away into darkness. A brilliantly traumatic event that incinerates everything nearby, it also emits shock waves and materials that form the basis for new stars and planets. That day of our first scheduled rehearsal was deeply traumatic, and the flag-waving foreign invasions that occurred over the next few years made it feel worse. But the shock of these events pushed us to make the music we do – the music that we want to hear. It also gave us material to work with (e.g., “Amaze Me”).

A little over 9 years later, when Doris was diagnosed with leukemia, I once again found myself feeling shocked and helpless, not knowing if we’d ever play another show together again. This year has been one of shock, relief, and reevaluations. Is touring what we want to continue doing? Can we even do it? We know that we want to make music together, but, as we knew on September 11 ten years ago, things will be different.

Last week (almost 10 years later to the day), Doris found out she’s in full molecular response (i.e., in remission). And 21 million light years away in the Pinwheel galaxy, a small white dwarf star (SN 2011fe) has burst into a type 1a supernova. For now, we’ll keep on keeping on, continuing to make the music we want to hear in the world.

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21 Responses to Ten Years as Girlyman

  1. Briar says:

    A little star of brilliant hope in skies of black you are

  2. Terry Reid says:

    The best commentary on the anniversary of this tragedy that I have read. In the midst of the trauma came the birth of Girlyman. Your music has moved me to laughter, tears and has helped a left coaster try to understand the trauma of that day. Love to you all and complete and utter happiness at Doris’s good news. Keep touring Girlyman, You are all one of a kind.

  3. Amy Paymer says:

    Keep on keepin on…sounds like a great plan to me.
    Wishing thoughts of peace and love today to you and yours.

  4. Patricia Raube says:

    This is why I love your music– it combines beautiful harmonies and melodies and excellent arrangements with thoughtful, heartfelt poetry that finds the common threads in all our experience, just like this blog entry. Keep on making your wonderful music. We will keep on listening.

  5. Joe says:

    Thanks for continuing to make great stuff, y’all.

  6. Eli says:

    I found and posted a youtube version of Amaze Me on my FB wall today….it’s my favorite “America” song. Thank you.

  7. Donna S says:

    Love you, Nate.

  8. Patrick Peyton says:

    I found you by accident (“closing” for Po’ Girl) and stayed on purpose. Possibly the best way to start a long-term relationship. What I gained, on balance, was a world enlightened by your humor, talent and generosity. Few are ever in any real position to prevent tragedy or even mitigate its impact. But we are all in a position to make the world just a bit better by our efforts. And you folks have certainly made my world a better place.
    Thanks,
    pat

  9. Aaron says:

    I am so glad Doris is getting better. This is the only 9/11 commentary I’ve read today, and it’s legitimately touched me. Thank you, Girlyman. Keep on keeping on.

  10. Ron says:

    I’ve never been able to believe in a “destiny” before, but if ever there was evidence of it, it’s in the phenomenon of Girlyman. I can’t shake the feeling that you were and are truly meant to remind people of the power of their goodness and of what we all could be.

  11. Don in Dallas says:

    Such good news about Doris…please just keep making music for another 10 years…thanks for your 9-11 perspective…your music can only be described as uplifting for me.

  12. Wayne says:

    That’s what I have always liked about you guys… you’re real. Love the metaphor too. Know that when we were going through a period of grief 2 years ago, your music was an inspiration that kept us alive.

  13. Wanda says:

    Great news about Doris. Look forward to many more years of your wonderful music.

  14. Susan Dressel says:

    Girlyman expresses ideas and thoughts that often leave me awestruck. Your music has touched so many of us so profoundly….somehow it is fitting that you were ‘born’ at a traumatic moment and were able to use all those feelings of depression and helplessness to turn our angst and overwhelming feelings into something positive. May you continue for many years to come.

  15. Michelle Grua says:

    Nate,
    Love the post! It is somehow appropriate that the little supernova just happened in the Pinwheel galaxy, as we are all just little bits of cosmic dust pinwheeling across the Universe! Delightful little image, isn’t it?

    Love,
    Your home away from home
    Michelle*

  16. Karen S. says:

    Happy 10 Year Anniversary!!!!!!!! Congratulations and may you be together for another 10 years…and another 10 after that… and so on and so on……

  17. Randall says:

    Ohmygoodness. Didn’t know about Doris’s leukemia. Hooray for remission! And props to you all for making it through what you all have together.

    And…trivial and selfish of me in context, but I’m also really looking forward to Supernova. :)

  18. Randall says:

    And, to anyone randomly reading this: small thing you can do to help folks with leukemia (maybe a different type from Doris’s) is sign up for the donor registry at marrow.org/join/ — free to you, simple (you just swab your cheeks as if you were brushing your teeth, it’s almost fun), and folks from ethnic minorities are “especially needed,” in the registry’s words.

    You probably won’t have a match (and won’t have to do anything else), but if you do, it’ll really help somebody. Nowadays, most cell donations don’t involve surgery and you go home the day you donate. There’s your PSA for the day. :)

  19. Matt says:

    And please never stop. We are blessed to have you.

  20. David says:

    I can’t think of another band who’s music simply makes me happy as yours does. Doris’s remission is such wonderful news that I can’t even say.

  21. Sophia in Maine says:

    I <3 Girlyman! That is too bad that Doris was diagnosed with leukemia! I have only listened to ONE of your CDs! Everything's Easy.

    I love My Eyes Get Misty!

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