My name is Jennifer Yaggi and I’m a forty-something music lover.
I’ve always been passionate about music. It has consistently been my salvation during the most difficult and trying times of my life, and has amplified my happiness and joy during the best times. I always have music on.
Going to shows had traditionally been a pastime that made me extremely happy. I was a really lucky kid, because in my hometown of Stamford, CT, we had a punk rock club called The Anthrax. This little place showcased some of the best punk and hardcore bands in the country. Becoming a regular weekly patron there changed my life. It connected me more deeply to music and immersed me in a scene of other outsiders. People weren’t mainstream there and they didn’t want to be. And for the very first time in my life, that was okay. I attended shows at the world famous CBGB at the tender age of 14. I saw bands including the Ramones and Husker Du before I ever reached my 16th birthday. That club changed me at my core. Brought me out of my shell. It allowed me to see who I really was and who I really wanted to be. I began to co-author a fanzine called Crisis where I was lucky enough to interview people such as Henry Rollins from Black Flag. I attended shows weekly. As I approached college age, I attended as many shows as time and money would allow. But by my mid-twenties, time and expectations caught up with me. My friends and family weren’t really fans of my music. Neither was my husband. Couple that with working full time and raising two small children and I stopped going to shows.
Fast forward to 2001 and the death of Joey Ramone. Man, that hit me hard. My kids, who were then only 6 and 4, vividly remember that time. I refused to listen to anything but the Ramones for a solid month. I cut my hair short and funky, bought some clothes that were less “mom” and more me, and got myself tickets to Joey’s posthumous 50th birthday bash. This show had bands and musicians from all genres. The sense of community was something I’d only experienced back in my punk days. I felt at home and I felt like me for the first time in a very long time. I vowed to go to more shows and to let my true self out from time to time. I tried. I attended random shows over the years. Iggy Pop at Toad’s Place (where a woman ran up to me, grabbed my ass, lifted up my shirt, and stuck her finger in my belly button! My sister-in law is still laughing) and took my 16-year-old daughter to see X at the Irving Plaza. But shows were still few and far between. And I never let myself go. Not really.
December 6, 2015 was the day I woke up. It was a Dinosaur Jr. show at the Bowery Ballroom. So many of my other music heroes showed up to play that night as well. And I was there with people who loved this music just as much as I did. People I trusted and could be myself around. On that night I found my passion for live music again. Something hit me when Bob Mould took to the stage to crank out “Freak Scene” with the band. This was my passion! It always had been. On that night, filled with amazing music and people I cared about, I found me again.
I now attend at least a few shows a month. I go with friends, or alone. I’m there for the music. And when I hear it I let myself go. Smile. Dance. Be me.
I’m at the point in my life where I’ve got college-aged kids and have become an empty nester. I’ve experienced some other huge changes in my life. Because of this, some of my friends and family have commented that they believe I’m going through a midlife crisis. This blog is my take on that. I love my life. I love my job as a hospice massage therapist, my family, my friends, and my writing. But music is what I feel in my soul. And it makes me who I am. So I intend for this “crisis” to be lifelong. And I’m hoping that by writing about some of the bands I love and shows I’m lucky enough to see, you may decide you want to find your passion as well.