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Saluting moms of local rock stars

Weekly Volcano wishes you a happy Mother's Day!

Carole Black, mother of Olympia rock star Jerry Zeigler, cruises Olympia in a black convertible. Photo credit: Nikki McCoy

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Sun-kissed hair piled lightly on top of her head, wearing a flowing white blouse and matching white skirt with eyelet detail, Carole Black looks angelic, not the type of woman you might expect to have given birth to a rock 'n' roll party machine.

But it's true. Black, called "Rocker Mom" by friends and fans, is the mother of Jerry Zeigler, whose reputation for a fair fight and a strong drink shines as strong as his reputation for drumming. Currently in five bands - Demon Dogs, Hartwood (mom's favorite), Mosquito Hawk, Fitz of Depression and Chief - Zeigler has been slaying the drums for 32 years. 

It wasn't always easy being a single mom raising three boys, Black said, and Zeigler was always "hell on wheels." But the pride and love she has for each of her sons beams across her face.

"I was never into tough love," she said. "I made sure I would always be there for them."

When I ask Black if she has any family photographs to share, she suggests we take a ride up to the local Walgreens to print some off her camera.

"I've got the convertible today," she said, a smile making its way across her face.

At this moment, Zeigler's resemblance to his mother is as clear as day, and as we cruise the Olympia's Westside with the sun shining and Johnny Cash blaring, I imagine her boys are just as proud of their mom as she is of them.

Below, we offer some anecdotes and advice from other South Sound moms with rock 'n' roll in their blood.  And to these women, and all the moms out there who are rock stars in their own right, the Weekly Volcano wishes you a happy Mother's Day.

>>> Jeremy, Jeff and Marilyn Hamel

Marilyn Hamel is the mother of brothers Jeff and Jeremy Hamel of SweetKiss Momma, Puyallup's favorite southern rockers. Hamel fondly reminisces about her four children growing up listening to Christian music and her singing.

"They thought I had a wonderful voice," she laughed, "but it's just because I was their mom."

Hamel advises anyone raising an aspiring musician to "encourage their dreams, and don't stand in their way."

Deb Olsen is the mother of Sam Olsen, vocalist and guitarist for Red Hex, a Tacoma band in the midst of a European tour. She is also the mother of filmmaker Isaac Olsen and sister to Bon Von Wheelie, drummer for Girl Trouble.

"We have a family culture of supporting artistic and off-beat endeavors," she said. "I think every kid should have that kind of support."

When asked about a fond mommy music memory, Olsen recalled "The Freakouts show (pre-Red Hex) at the Manium in Olympia, when Sam (age 14) called out from the stage: "I need some water up here ... Mom?'"

On the flip side of the coin, there are lots of moms who balance changing diapers and driving to prom with tuning guitars and planning tours.

Jessie Jackson, of Olympia's Full Moon Radio, is a prime example.

"I've been active in bands since my daughter was six months old. My kid wouldn't drink from a bottle if her life depended on it," she said. "This meant nursing on the side of a stage immediately after a performance or rushing home from practice to provide the boobs that daddy couldn't offer. Late night shows are rough. The job of a mom is 24/7, and there's no sleeping in."

>>> Meg Cunningham and kids. Photo credit: Roger Stanley

Meg Cunningham, mother of two and member of Survival Knife and Craig Extine & the Exiles, knows the no-sleep game as well.

"Let's be honest," she said. "As a mom, you don't get the best sleep, so it's already kind of like playing late-night shows anyways, where you feel sleep deprived the next day but have to go about all your responsibilities regardless. So why not join a band?"

"Bottom line," she continued, "I have a lot of support from my family, which makes this all possible."

Support seems to be the bottom line for all these women, both on and off the stage, and to that, we can only say: rock on moms, rock on. 

Upcoming shows include:

Girl Trouble: TBA; Barefoot Collective dancing to the music of Girl Trouble, May 11, Broadway Center, 901 Broadway, Tacoma.

SweetKiss Momma: Album Release Show w/Ben Union and guests, May 18, Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave., Seattle.

Full Moon Radio: May 19, Cryptatropa, 421 Fourth Ave., Olympia.

Mosquito Hawk: w/Wiked Sin and Prophets of Addiction, June 1, 4th Ave Tav, 210 Fourth Ave., Olympia.

Survival Knife: July 28, Capitol Hill Block Party, Seattle.

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