Detroit. Dead of Winter. 2018.

by Michele Ari 2 months ago in humanity

I'm sitting in a dive bar with punk rock legend (Pigface, PIL, NIN) drummer Martin Atkins.

Detroit. Dead of Winter. 2018.
Michele Ari, Martin Atkins Small's, Hamtramck, Detroit, MI

Martin: "So how did you get your start?"

Me: Thinking back nearly 20 years earlier, through the fog and suppressed tears of having watched my mother and best friend die just two weeks earlier and the shock of finding myself stranded in my hometown decades after I left to pursue my life as an artist. I sat in ignorance over the fact that my life was on its road to getting much worse, before it became better than I ever imagined it could. I had one moment in me where I cared and so I answered his genuine inquiry, in kind, with earnestness.

"I arrived in a city and went around town introducing myself as a musician so people started asking me to play gigs. I said "yes" and then went and wrote some songs, formed a band and showed up to the venue."

Martin: "That is very punk rock."

Level Achieved: Seal of Approval, Junior Punk Rock Member badge earned.

In fact, I had achieved much more and sitting back in my hometown with my life perpetually flashing before my eyes, I saw for myself how much I had accomplished, beyond my wildest dreams, always with more dreams to fulfill.

For the sake of politeness I gave Martin my short answer. The full answer needed a few more evenings sitting in a dive bar.

So here we are.

Pull up a stool


"You should write a book!" I hear this a lot. I can't argue that I don't have a lot of unusual stories although for me my "stories" are simply my life. But, because I get asked I decided to answer in my own words without much reservation.

My hope is that my story as it happened as it happens and will happen (and, no, I don't know what is going to happen next either so we will find out together!)serves to inspire you to face and overcome any and all obstacles you come across as you pursue your dreams because it can be done. And if you haven't take the first step of daring to dream, I am here to tell you that anything is possible but making the decision is your first step and the most vital. Trust me on this.


"The Front Man" was a title given to me by a guy in the audience at my first show in Nashville when I moved there in 2007, somewhat on a whim aka I had enough gas money to get to a city near to where I was at the time- a city in which I did not live per se but had unceremoniously found myself in.

More specifically this audience member had said The Front Man is a GIRL! explaining to me that I was “just like cool punk bands from the 70s" only I was female. ” The show I played was billed as a high-profile "Sexy Songwriter's Night." That meant I was not only expected to be "sexy" but I was also expected to be quiet behind the hush of an acoustic guitar. Nonsense! I brought out a whole band and put on a rock and roll show! I had only been in Nashville a few months and before I arrived I hopped on Craigslist, found a group of guys that needed some direction, and slapped a band together so that I didn't miss a beat. It only lasted so long and I moved on. One of the first lessons I learned in Nashville was that the attitude towards anyone introducing themselves as a musician was generally met with a yawn and a "so what?" We were everywhere and so I remained hopeful my live line ups would be easy to find within such a fruitful landscape.

I was both right and wrong as I came to discover.

Michele Ari
Michele Ari
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Michele Ari

A direct descendant of the tailor to Czar Nicholas II, she is set to release music produced by guitarist, John Ashton, of The Psychedelic Furs.

A natural born storyteller, it is oft said to her, "You should write a book."

So here we are.

See all posts by Michele Ari