Petal Pusher/Zuzu's Petals' Laurie Lindeen To Publish Rock Memoir

posted June 20, 2008

Petal Pusher/Zuzu's Petals' Laurie Lindeen To Publish Rock Memoir

When George Bailey found Zuzu's petals in his pocket, he knew he was back in his own wonderful, flawed life. When Laurie Lindeen founded the band Zuzu's Petals, it became the wonderful thing that brought her back into her own flawed life after the devastating diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the age of 24, a secret known only to her closest friends and family during the band’s career. Petal Pusher is the often hilarious, inside story Lindeen wrote for all the people who often say to her, "Wow, I always wanted to be in a rock band."

With the release of Lindeen’s critically acclaimed, inspiring memoir, Petal Pusher, in paperback on September 16th and the newly re-issued limited edition Zuzu’s Petals CD collection , Kicking Our Own Asses (with accompanying photo-filled booklet ), readers can finally follow the chapters in this coming-of-age book with the songs referenced in its pages.

Zuzu’s Petals, the scrappy female rock trio founded by Lindeen in Minneapolis in the early ‘90s, laced their melancholy-but-hopeful pop with a dry, biting wit, crunchy guitars and jagged rhythms. Though they never achieved mass acclaim, they managed to record two albums in the early ‘90s, tour the US and the UK and experience both the wrath and adoration of the rock press. After meeting her own Prince Charming, Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg, Lindeen transitions from rocker to writer, mother, and MS survivor.

The all-girl trio – Coleen Elwood (bass, vocals), Linda Pitmon (drums) and Laurie Lindeen (guitar, vocals) – took the band’s name from the ultimate life-affirming film It’s A Wonderful Life. The band recorded two albums for Twin/Tone as they struggled with inspiring determination and trademark ZuZu’s humor to survive the many challenges of making it as female underdogs in the male-centric rock world, including practicing in an abandoned box car, being scammed by slimy music industry agents on under-funded European tours, and watching other, newer female bands selling out and having greater success. Listening to these songs today, it becomes clear that these women were truly ahead of their time.

Lindeen’s obsession with music was immediate; she grew up with The Monkees, The Partridge Family and sang tunes from Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. However, when her parents divorced, Lindeen began to understand that life may be a little less sweet than the sugar-coated soundtrack of her youth let on. If she was to discover that it was a wonderful life after all, it would have to be on her own terms.

As one of the “lost girls of Generation Why,” Lindeen questioned all the conventions that confronted her. Why should she bother finishing school on time? Why should she push for a corporate career that would never make her happy? Why bother with a serious relationship? Why were all the moms that she saw so unhappy? But one thing she never wanted to wonder was, “What if…?”

Moving from Madison, Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota, a musical hot-bed of the 1980s, Lindeen packed light, with only the dream of playing music and a steeled will to succeed. But, before she could play a note, Lindeen came face to face with the disease that silently stalked her every step of the way. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that left her nearly blind in one eye and completely paralyzed on one side of her body, Lindeen’s passion to make it big on the local, national, and international rock scene became her driving force.

Ultimately, Lindeen's falling in love with singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg of Replacements fame and her first sense of having a true home since childhood cause her to reevaluate her determination to "make it big." With this new stable foundation in her life, Lindeen is able to truly see the negative aspects of her life in the band for the first time, and she ultimately realizes the difference between her dream and reality.