Once a city kid, always a city kid, because we never leave the places we love.

This is a story of how one woman navigated a man’s world of music and art and law and kept her head above the waves—a Chicago story.

As a twenty-something Wax Trax Records employee, the author meets Robert Plant’s ego:

‘Well. You don’t have to be nervous already.’

Well. Wow. Really. Was he talking to me? I thought about this. Wow.

Here I was. I had somehow managed to traverse the mean streets of the west
side of Chicago, had somehow survived integrating a former all boys college
prep high school suffocating from its own male domination, landed back on my feet after being nearly choked to death by a madman in my first apartment as a single woman living alone, and this guy in front of me wants to calm my nerves.

Well, I’m nothing if not a wiseass. I paused a second, straightened up, laid
the thing he’d asked to see on the counter, looked squarely at Comandante
Zeppelin, and replied,

‘And you WILL get over yourself.’ 

I went back about my business.

If you’re lucky, someone hands you a playbook and a trust fund. Welcome to America.

If you’re really lucky, you write your own rules, pick your own players to keep you company.

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Gerda Barker is an American writer, editor, former criminal defense lawyer and wife of a rock star. As a child of Polish immigrants in inner city Chicago, she discovered the world of art and music was vital to her American dream. Wax Trax Records hired her, the criminal defense bar welcomed her, and she witnessed firsthand as Chicago became a hub and birthplace for industrial rock music.

She now resides in Portland, OR.