NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t



FRESH AIR: Amy Rigby was a sheltered Catholic teen from the Pittsburgh suburbs when she moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design and fell in love with the ’70s punk scene. “Downtown seemed to be where I felt comfortable,” she says. “It was grungy. It was dirty. It was dark. Everyone was smoking. It smelled of beer. And it felt like it was always really, really hot or really, really cold in New York back then.” Rigby spent years hanging out in the punk clubs before she found her calling as a singer-songwriter, playing first with Last Roundup and later The Shams. When she got married and became a mother, she expected to step away from the music scene. “I thought getting pregnant and having a child would mean that I would put all this foolishness away and that I would find something real to do with my life,” Rigby says. But it didn’t work out that way. Instead, Rigby drew on her own experiences as a wife and mother to create her 1996 album, Diary of Mod Housewife. “By the time I was making Diary of a Mod Housewife, I was singing for my life,” she says. “I decided I was not going to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the bathroom floor unless I could get up on stage and sing about it.” Rigby reflects on how she invented and reinvented herself as a performer and songwriter in the memoir, Girl to City, which Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker called the best rock memoir of 2019. MORE