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.