Mom reflects on life as 1980s rocker

Next book to be 'Petal Pusher' sequel: 'Rock and Roll Housewife'

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS - Laurie Lindeen is late for an interview, but she has a good excuse: Her 9-year-old son had a baseball game across town.

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It's a domestic life now for the former rocker, who is married to Paul Westerberg, ex-frontman of The Replacements. For about seven years, Lindeen led the pop trio Zuzu's Petals. She chronicles her life on the road and shares her coming-of-age story as a former cheerleader in a new memoir, "Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story."

"I was witness to some cultural moments I certainly didn't think were going to be cultural moments at the time," Lindeen says, settling down with an iced tea at a coffee shop in Minneapolis' hipster Dinkytown area.

Lindeen, 45, is dressed for summer, wearing a straw hat with upturned brim, purple shirt and blue jeans with rolled-up cuffs. Her dishwater blond hair is held in front with a barrette. A fan of thrift shops, Lindeen and her band mates were known for wearing prom dresses and other vintage clothes and for placing their purses on stage so they wouldn't be stolen.

Through it all, Lindeen stresses, Zuzu's Petals were ladylike.

"We did rock fairly hard, and we were definitely into that, but we were just also like normal, American girls. ... We just sort of, you know, used our smarts and held our own," she says.

Zuzu's Petals never achieved the notoriety of Babes in Toyland, another Twin Cities girl band of the late 1980s and early 1990s. They recorded only two albums (both out-of-print) on the indie label Twin/Tone Records. (Rhino Records is scheduled to release a Zuzu's Petals best-of, "Kicking Our Own Asses," on Aug. 28.)

But Zuzu's Petals endured, zigzagging across country and opening - but not headlining - at First Avenue, the downtown Minneapolis nightclub immortalized by Prince's 1984 movie "Purple Rain."

After releasing the albums "When No One's Looking" (1992) and "The Music of Your Life" (1994), Lindeen broke up Zuzu's Petals in 1995 without achieving their goal of writing a catchy hit like "Our Lips Are Sealed" by the Go-Go's.

"I was getting older. I was looking at the end of my childbearing years, if I kept it up. ... Co (Elwood) and I were always like, 'Let's just get one huge hit, and then we'll all go do something else.' We were never in it for life."

For her next book, Lindeen is planning a sequel: "Rock and Roll Housewife."

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