Laurie Lindeen’s obsession with music was immediate. But launching a successful career in rock and roll would take more guts and determination than she ever realized she could muster. Lindeen grew up with The Monkees, The Partridge Family, and singing 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.
Forming the all-girl alternative rock band, Zuzu’s Petals, Lindeen and her best girl friends Coleen (“former cheerleader gone off the deep end”) and Phyll (“Annie Oakley meets Patsy Cline”) struggle to survive the many challenges of making it as a female underdog 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.
Ultimately, Laurie’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 revaluate 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.
About the author:
Laurie Lindeen holds an M.F.A. in creative writing, a subject she currently teaches. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone’s Anthology Altrarockorama and on NPR. She lives with her husband Paul Westerberg and their son in Minnesota. Visit her online at www.laurielindeen.com