Set in the years between the meteoric launches of Madonna and Courtney Love, Petal Pusher takes readers on a stirring journey across rock and roll, from the big-haired 1980s to the grunge-filled 1990s, when Laurie Lindeen brought her all-girl band, Zuzu's Petals, to compete in the indie rock arena.
Minneapolis in the eighties was a musical hotbed, the land of 10,000 lakes and 10,000 bands that gave birth to Prince, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum. For Laurie Lindeen it was the perfect place to launch her rock-and-roll dream. She moved to the city with her best friends Phyll ("Annie Oakley meets Patsy Cline") and Coleen ("former cheerleader gone off the arty deep end") to crash in decrepit apartments and coax punk rock from crappy used guitars. But unbeknownst to her friends, Laurie has a secret in her past -- a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis that fuels her passion to make it big on the local, national, and international rock scene.
With inspiring determination, Laurie and her Zuzu's Petals survive the many challenges of being underdogs in a man's world. Then Laurie is thrown a curveball when she falls for Paul Westerberg of Replacements fame and reevaluates exactly what it means to "make it big."
By turns hilarious and heartrending, Petal Pusher is a brilliant behind-the-scenes look at music on the front lines, and the awe-inspiring tale of one woman's fight against disease and the disillusionment of life in the rock underground.
Praise for Petal Pusher
Petal Pusher is so personal and true, like the best music and the best writing. Laurie Lindeen is the rarest combination of both—an author who knows how to put her musical soul on every page of this wonderful book. It’s a road trip, a diary, and a beautiful dance through the elixir-filled rooms where music is made, greatness is courted . . . and finally found in the quiet perfection of Lindeen’s own life...
— Cameron Crowe
Laurie Lindeen writes the same way Zuzu’s Petals used to rock: With authentic detail, endearing sincerity, and the innate ability to reflect a certain place at a certain time (with a voice that belongs only to her .
— Chuck Klosterman, author of Fargo Rock City
Laurie Lindeen has deftly swirled a whole generation’s angst and idealism into a wild ride of a road book that redefines the genre. Indie rock is the landscape, but American ardor is the subject. By turns comic and bittersweet, Petal Pusher introduces a vibrant new voice that renews the abiding American longing for the big time—finally a girl as Gatsby! But this girl doesn’t die, and she doesn’t lie. She gets her second chance—and uses it. A beauty of a book.
— Patricia Hampl
My copy of Petal Pusher has exactly two dog-eared pages, because I was so riveted that I only managed to put the book down twice (and only for necessities like food and water). The events in Petal Pusher are like some fantastic, dramatic movie—but at the same time, every anecdote is so relatable, and the writing so intimate, that you may feel, as I did, that Laurie Linden has somehow read through your own journal entries and raided them for material. I love this book.
— Jane Pratt, founding editor of Sassy and Jane magazines
Petal Pusher is music set to words.
— Bill Flanagan, author of A&R and New Bedlam
With a dead-on delivery, Laurie Lindeen captures the absurd, the terrifying, and the hilarious details of indie-rock heaven . . . and hell. Petal Pusher is a smart and vivid account of a performer’s conflicting quests for stardom and sanity.
— Jake Slichter, author of So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star
Laurie Lindeen mine[s] story gold. . . . Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious and always entertaining.
— Sacramento Bee
Waxes giddy and snarky about cute boys, rival girls and the music biz. . . . Courtney Love would approve.
— USA Today
Entertaining and insightful.
— Associated Press
Oh, those really were the days. Lindeen gets them right, in all their pre-MySpace, pre-cellphone, ragged, clumsy glory. And most of all, Lindeen’s whip-smart mind and massive heart make them shine. . . . Riveting.
— Washington Post
Sharp and sensitive, stoned silly and serious, all in the right places . . . a love song (played really fast). . . . A truly wonderful book about life in rock music.
— Publisher's Weekly
A hardscrabble, heart-tugging and often hilarious coming-of-age memoir that’s really more coming of rage.
— Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
— Kirkus Reviews
Self-deprecating honesty, wit and more than a little charm. . . . One of the best books by a musician I’ve read.
— Lincoln Journal Star (Nebraska)
— Isthmu (Madison, WI)
An inspiring tale of how a strong but self-conscious woman overcame debilitating multiple sclerosis and subpar musical ability not only to sustain a respectable musical career but also to find the love of her life.
— Library Journal
Lindeen has captured the adventurous spirit of those years.
— The Capital Times (Madison)