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"Boston Globe South"

On a recent sunny afternoon, a pulsating rock 'n' roll beat emanated from a tidy Colonial-style house on an otherwise quiet street in Sharon.

The rhythmic sounds came not from neighborhood teens gathered around a boombox, or jamming after school. It came from four local mothers banging out tunes on electric guitars, drums, and keyboard.

The event at Lisa Yves' house was a regular practice session of a rock band that has begun to create a small buzz in Sharon.

Organized informally last year, HRT -- for Hormone Replacement Therapy, of course -- consists of seven members, six from Sharon and one who just moved to Canton. The women, who range in age from 34 to 45, are mostly stay-at-home mothers squeezing in time for the band between household routines like ferrying children to school and after-school games.

''We gave up all those hours of talking about our lives in Starbucks, and shopping, and we really put all our energy into our music," said lead guitarist Marlane Pinkowitz.

At first the women played simply for fun. But with the experience of an open mike appearance in Greenwich Village under their belt, and encouraged by friends and family, they performed last month before a crowd of about 200 at Backyard Jams, a studio in Stoughton. The response to the show was so positive that the women are now planning an October concert at a local theater, the details to be announced.

Their lyrics reflect who they are. Among their most popular original tunes: ''I Just Want a Nanny," ''I Hate My Family," and ''Six-String Stratocaster," in which they sing of a woman with ''a center-hall Colonial on a quiet cul-de-sac," with ''granite counter tops and a swimming pool in back." But all she wants, it turns out, is a ''six-string Stratocaster . . . She wants to play it really loud, so loud it will disturb ya, Cause she may be pushing 40 but she's rockin' in suburbia."

The songs ''point out some of the absurdities of our day-to-day life, some of the quirks of our world [that are] true for everyone around us," says member Andrea Lovett. ''They can relate to it and laugh."

Some members of HRT come from musical backgrounds. Yves, who sings and plays bass and keyboard, has taught and performed jazz music. But others are relative or complete novices. What they share is a love of rock music. Tammy Robbins has penned most of the lyrics, with Lovett also contributing. Yves sets the words to music.

''It's a great marriage: rock 'n' roll with lyrics that make a point and make you laugh," Robbins said. While their music is not intended for children, some of their biggest fans are their sons and daughters. ''They're awesome, so good," said Lovett's daughter, Johanna, 9, who said she finds it ''really cool that I have actually a rock star mom." Husbands are also supportive, even those who took a while to get used to the idea.

''I was beyond skeptical," Robbins's husband, Alan, confessed. But he said he liked the sound of the group, and when he saw them in concert, ''They wowed me."

Yves and Pinkowitz got the band going last year. Pinkowitz, a former high-tech saleswoman and ardent rock fan, knew just a couple of guitar chords, but had long dreamed of playing rock music. She persuaded her friend, already trained on keyboard and vocals, to take guitar lessons with her.

The two met Robbins when they took the spinning class that she teaches part-time at the Canton Club fitness gym. The three started hanging out at a nearby Starbucks after their workouts. One day, when they were at Yves's home, then in Easton, Pinkowitz picked up an electric guitar. Yves went to the piano and Robbins sat down at a set of drums. On a whim, they started playing a 1960s classic by the McCoys, ''Hang on Sloopy," and ''nailed" it, Pinkowitz said.

Robbins, a former office manager, started taking drum lessons. She had always loved music, but ''I never thought I would actually perform it," she said. When Yves moved last year to Sharon, she met Marni Levitt, a part-time lawyer with a musical background, who became a quick addition to the band, singing back-up vocals. Yves and Pinkowitz also recruited Lovett, whom they knew from school circles.

Lovett has long played acoustic guitar recreationally, including during her years as a preschool teacher, nanny, and camp counselor. She plays acoustic and bass guitar and does back-up vocals. Freya Maltz and Dawn Besson, both musical novices, later joined as back-up vocalists.

The group began to take off when ''Tammy started showing up with incredible lyrics," Yves said.

HRT got its first taste of playing in public when members traveled to New York for the open mike performance at a club in Greenwich Village. ''The audience loved us," Yves recalled.

Their private performance at Backyard Jams, where they played 16 original tunes, has inspired them still further. ''It was a magical night," Yves said, recalling the enthusiastic response from their friends and family at the show. The - John Laidler

"Not so Desperate Housewives"

One cool thing about my day job as a TV news producer is I get to interview a lot of different people from all walks of life. Some interviews are hard - especially those with mothers who have lost their children to tragic accidents. Others are quite fun.

On the fun end, yesterday I aired a story about the women of HRT - short for Hormone Replacement Therapy. They're a bunch of Massachusetts moms, sick of gossiping at the coffee house, who got together to form a rock band. They have a CD and they play shows locally.

To be honest, when I first got assigned this story I was sort of like, oh how cute, suburban mom rock band. But when my photographer and I went to film a rehearsal, we was blown away at how professional these the group sounded. They are amazingly good! Their lyrics are hilarious, too. They sing about things that women their ages can relate to: fighting with their families, drinking too much coffee, spending their husbands' paychecks, etc. Really funny stuff.

At the same time, they insist they're not some "Desperate Housewives" type band. And they're right - these women really rock out. They know how to play their instruments and the singer (Lisa?) has a great voice.

Anyway - I very rarely mention stories I cover in my day job in this blog, but I had to make an exception cause these women were so cool. I could totally see someone writing a Lady Lit book based on this concept. A group of women (all with various life issues) coming together to form a rock band. Wouldn't that be a great book? Quick - someone take the idea and write it!

The rest of you go buy their album. It rocks!
- Marianne Mancusi

"From soccer Moms to rocker Moms"

The wail of a guitar shattered the normal weekday morning silence of the neighborhood and, even from the street, the sounds of rebellion could easily be heard.

She’s got a center hall colonial on a quiet cul-de-sac

She’s got granite countertops and a swimming pool in back

She’s got Italian tile in the tub that she never flaunts

She’s got hardwood floors throughout but it’s not what she really wants

All she wants is a six-string Stratocaster

She needs a bass to drive the beat and drums to drive it faster

She wants to play it really loud so loud it will disturb ya

Cause she may be pushing 40 but she’s rockin in suburbia!

The music stopped mid-chord as Lisa Yves answered the doorbell. Do her neighbors complain about the constant blare? Heck, no.

“Two-acre zoning has its advantages,” joked Yves, 38, a mother of two and lead singer of HRT, a garage band with an unlikely lineup: a group of suburban women with elementary school-age kids.

“I have always been a rock ’n’ roll superstar - in my head,” said Marlane Pinkowitz, 42, HRT’s lead guitarist. “I only knew three chords, but I’ve turned it into five. And just look at us - a year ago, Tammy (Robbins, 38, of Holliston) didn’t even play the drums and now we have a CD, we’ve had two sell-out concerts, and now instead of shopping, we’re a rock group!”

Leave “Jesus of Suburbia” to Green Day. HRT (yes, it stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy) sings about mothers in suburbia, in songs such as “High Carb Girl,” “Please Buy Me (P.S. I’m at the Mall),” and “40 Not 14.” The closest they come to a love song is the power ballad “Stay Asleep,” about a couple whose attempts at intimacy are constantly interrupted by whining children.

The women of HRT didn’t set out to become a rock group. Yves and Pinkowitz, who’ve been friends for years, took a spinning exercise class taught by Robbins, whose sarcastic wit instantly won their friendship over after-class sessions at Starbucks.

Yves, a finalist for the 2004 Boston Pops Idol contest and a trained jazz musician who has recorded a series of jazz CDs for children, had an appointment at a recording studio late last year and brought her two friends along. Yves started singing “Hang On Sloopy,” Pinkowitz knew a couple of chords and Robbins, on a whim, sat down and started pounding on the drum set.

They actually sounded pretty good - and music quickly replaced Starbucks. Robbins started taking drum lessons, Pinkowitz studied guitar in earnest and Yves added bass to her musical repertoire.

A few months later, the group went public at an open-mike night in New York City. Peforming for a live audience was intoxicating.

“Once we started writing our own material, we had a message,” Yves said. “The message is not ‘God, my life sucks and so does everyone else.’ There’s a message about what it’s like (to be a mother).”

The group, meanwhile, added members: Marni Levitt, an attorney with four children, as backup vocalist and Andrea Lovett on percussion and acoustic guitar.

Last spring, the group sold out a 200-seat show, which bought them instant cred with their husbands and children. At the end of the summer, they recorded “Kiss My Axe,” which was released after a sellout 700-seat show at the Stoughton Theater.

“All of a sudden, we were rock stars in our town,” Robbins said. The band sold out its initial 500-CD run, forcing a second printing. The band is scheduled to play The Attic in Newton Jan. 21.

How far do they expect to go?

“Letterman,” Robbins said. “Oh. Did I say that out loud? I just want to write songs that offend people.”

“It’s really the journey that matters to us,” Pinkowitz said. “Being with your best friends, and loving what you do. The satisfaction is there, every day. If something else comes from it? Bring it on.”

- Boston Herald

"Boston Globe West"

Call it Metallica meets ''Desperate Housewives." Three 40-ish stay-at-home moms from Sharon are selling out shows as the mom rock band HRT (and, yes, that stands for hormone replacement therapy).

After filling the 700-seat Stoughton Theater in October, HRT ventured to Newton's The Attic in January. Again, fans jammed the place. So they'll be back at The Attic tomorrow night to give folks another shot to get in and rock out (dig out your old black T-shirt now).

The draw goes beyond the hype (and they've had plenty; the band is working out a date to appear on a national talk show). It seems HRT has literally struck a chord with an underserved hard-rock demographic: suburban parents.

''I didn't give up my love for screaming-loud AC/DC rock music just because I have kids and turned 40," said lead guitarist Marlane Pinkowitz, 42. ''Our generation, because we grew up in the '70s and '80s with great music, still wants to come out to concerts. But they want to see a band they can connect with."

And that's what HRT is offering the diaper-bag-toting, mortgage-paying set: driving, giddy, turn-up-the-amps rock tunes all about midlife.

''Our songs are past the puppy love and things that younger bands think about," said Pinkowitz. ''Our lyricist, Tammy [Robbins], who is also our drummer, writes about real world issues and says what she feels in a very intelligent, sarcastic, and real way."

And she does so bluntly, with all the in-your-face sass Courtney Love might deliver if she lived on Wisteria Lane. Their self-produced CD's title cut is ''Kiss My Axe," about dumping a whiny friend. Their profanity-speckled repertoire includes rants about relatives, corrupt lobbyists, and granite countertops. They write love songs not to hotties but to their favorite TV show (''Curb Your Enthusiasm").

''We rehearse in Lisa's house in a little room off the foyer. It's a typical suburban Colonial," said Pinkowitz, admitting that, yes, ''it's pretty loud. I always say it's a good thing it's two-acre zoning."

Lisa Yves, 38, is the band's bass player/keyboardist/lead singer. ''Unlike Tammy and me, Lisa is a real musician. She's really talented. Graduated from NYU. A jazz vocalist," said Pinkowitz.

The three hooked up in a spinning class that Robbins taught, and formed the band in late 2004.

''I picked up a guitar and played the only three chords I knew from an old '60s song, 'Hang on Sloopy,' " Pinkowitz said of their first time playing together. ''Then Tammy, who had . . . never picked up an instrument in her life, sat down at Lisa's drum set and nailed the song. And, of course, Lisa was amazing."

From then on after spinning class, the three passed on their usual Starbucks visit to rehearse in earnest instead. Within three weeks, Robbins penned three original tunes. Two months later, they played an open mike in Manhattan. ''Thank God there was no one in the audience," said Pinkowitz.

Weekly rehearsals turned to twice weekly and then to every school day. ''It's not the kids who are playing the music. They're the ones going to school, so we can plug in and tune up," said Pinkowitz.

Music lessons for Robbins and Pinkowitz have begun to pay off. And the band now includes backup singer Marni Levitt, 40, a lawyer with four kids.

In May, they'll be back in New York at The Cutting Room (the club owned by Chris Noth, the actor who played Mr. Big on ''Sex and the City." And this time it's not for an open mike. They were asked to do a set at Mamapalooza between two other mom bands: the Midols and Housewives on Prozac.

''There is a movement of women's bands coming up in our generation," said Pinkowitz. ''We're not the only ones."

And what's the long-term dream? ''It's already amazing. At 42, I'm playing a guitar and I'm a rock star. It's everybody's fantasy," said Pinkowitz. ''But if we can get our music recognized nationally, we'd be thrilled."

- Denise Taylor

"Northeast In Tune Magazine"

What do you get when you mix up a few determined, strong willed, speak your mind ladies with a jam rock music scene? Well you get “HRT”, a hard hitting, ass kicking, Mom based band formed in the garage of Lisa Yves. What does “HRT” stand for you ask? Hormone Replacement Therapy. Well, take this reviewers word for it, there’s nothing hormonally lacking about these ladies and their music. As sharp as a razor their lyrics are as honest and straightforward as life itself, HRT takes on a style all their own. This dynamic crew balances soccer practice, jobs, husbands, laundry, and the lives of your typical Mom with their dreams, in this case, jam rock music. HRT is far from your typical girl band. There are no girls in this group, you are dealing with strong women who know how to speak their minds and be straight up about it, taking no prisoners. HRT is steadily building a strong fan base around the East, and sure to add a few across the country. “HRT” shows it’s audiences that just because you are a Mom, have a family, and regular bills to pay, doesn’t mean you cannot obtain your dreams. The hard-hitting ladies of “HRT” are solid proof that with a bit of perseverance and practice, talents are developed and goals are reached. A bit like teaching your children about life, this bands music projects just that to its listeners, life lessons and individual perceptions in rhythmic form.

The core band consists of Lisa Yves (bass guitar, keyboards, lead singer), Tammy Robbins (drums and lyricist) and Marlane Pinkowtiz (lead guitar). The two newest additions to the group are Marian (rhythm guitar & bass guitar) and Emily Grogan, rhythm guitar.

Lisa Yves is a 2004 Boston Pops Idol contest finalist, trained jazz musician, and has recorded a series of jazz CDs for children. The cds are titled Everybody's Boppin, Vocalese and On The Road. Lisa states they “were produced as a tribute to traditional jazz, bebop and vocalese and to expose young people to this amazing music form”.

When asked why she crossed over from jazz to the jam rock genre, Lisa responded ” I loved playing and singing jazz since I was 10 yrs old because I love the jazz standards and my voice fits that style of music. For years I played piano bars and jazz clubs in New York City and was never fulfilled musically with that. Years later when I started playing rock with Marlane and Tammy, my classic rock roots came back to me in a big way. It helped that I picked up a rock instrument, the bass guitar, for a new perspective after playing piano for so many years. I love the energy of singing rock. I inquired what made her decide to start up an actual band? “It wasn't a decision we made one distinct day... we just simply started jamming. One morning after Marlane and Lisa took Tammy's spin class, we headed to Lisa's house where she has a music studio with all kinds of instruments and an amazing mural of the Beatles on her studio wall. Tammy had not seen the mural and Lisa was selling the house so we headed over there to check it out. Marlane picked up one of Lisa's guitars and started playing the three chords of Hang on Sloopy (an old 60's hit) that her older brother taught her 25 yrs earlier. Lisa spontaneously started playing the electric keyboards and singing and Tammy, who was sitting on the drum kit chair picked up the sticks (for the first time ever) and played along. The surprise here was Tammy nailing the drum beat to this old song the first time ever hitting the drums. Lisa and Marlane were shocked at this... We knew we had something here. The following week after our spinning class and typical yap yap session at Starbucks, we went to Lisa's house to "jam" again. It all came together in a natural way. We started getting together weekly and Tammy began writing lyrics when she got angry and that was the beginning of HRT music. Friends would stop by to listen and they loved what we were doing. After writing 3 songs and actually sounding decent, Lisa forced us to an open mike in NYC and we didn't suck. The thrill of playing live in NYC led us to setting up our next "gig" for friends and family... At that show, (200+) we proved we weren't simply women in a crazy mid-life crisis, but we were clearly on to something both musically interesting, and inspiring for all those lost suburban souls who don't have or take the opportunity (or "balls") to follow a dream... 5 months later we played to a sold out crowd of 700 at a local theatre!”

Where does HRT see themselves in the upcoming year? “... to grow into a serious rock/jam group, and leaving the gimmick of suburban, rockin' moms behind... We've added 2 new players for us to musically grow in new and exciting directions... We've yet to play a live gig with our new lineup but we anticipate that we are going to kick ass... we plan on playing live often, at various and quality rock clubs and working the jam/improv element into our songs. We tend to attract lots of media attention, so we want to work o - L. Fine


The music is rooted in classic rock styles and the powerful lyrics speak appeal to everyone. They love to sing about about what most people are thinking.


Feeling a bit camera shy


HRT is an all female rock band made up of 5 women who believe in themselves and their ability to defy convention. Their story needs to be told. This unexpected twist of fate began in December 2004 evolving into an incredible journey that still has not reached its destination. Writing songs that are familiar and new at the same time, HRT inspires, empowers, and entertains. Five women with diverse personal and musical backgrounds join together to write melodies and lyrics that are powerful, clever and poignant. HRT’s musical influences are as diverse as the band itself, ranging from the classic rock and jam bands to today’s modern rock. Together, these women have chemistry, energy and charisma that is evident both on and off the stage. The message is clear.…Don’t fear all that you can be…Live. Laugh. Rock. We are HRT.