Laurie Lindeen (who answered MN Reads 6 questions last year) sets us up for a solid rock-n-roll road-trip in Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story. With its sassy pink cover, this memoir will do its best to surprise you with brutal honesty and boundless energy. Lindeen and her band, Zuzu's Petals, may not have it easy, but they show they can play right alongside the boys.
Within the first couple pages of the book, Lindeen is hitching a ride with Carly Simon, and it seems like anyone and everyone on the punk, indie, grunge scene of the 80s and 90s is mentioned. Lindeen namedrops with ease throughout the book, which may be a big plus to the musical historians among us, but a slight detractor to the average reader. What is obvious is that this girl eats, sleeps, and lives music.
This is my wedding night. I'm about to marry the stage. Now on the backside of my twenties, more and more friends are getting married and settling down. Not me, I'm acting up.”
Playing hand-me-down instruments, surviving sketchy managers, emotionally-disturbed roadies, and rollercoaster relationships with friends, lovers, and family, it's a wonder Zuzu's Petals made it as far as they did. Lindeen's bull-headed motivation is the secret driving force behind the band's success. Her strength is revealed when you discover she has multiple sclerosis (MS). After a hard bout with MS, Lindeen goes into remission decides to rock out and rock hard. This complexity is what defines Lindeen in her life and music. One has to wish, though, that she were as open with this factor as she was with the rest of her musical struggles.
‘I have multiple sclerosis,' I nervously sputter to Paul one evening while watching Deborah Kerr hide her crippledness in An Affair to Remember, 'but I'm not really bothered by it or experiencing any symptoms or anything.'”
Through all its somber moments, the book maintains its charm. The romance between Lindeen and The Replacements’ lead singer, Paul Westerberg, seems so natural that it must be meant to be: the Twin Cities own Cinderella-story super-couple. Petal Pusher proves that life and happiness are what you make of them. It also proves that not everyone is cut out for a rock-n-roll lifestyle.