Texas Grooves
 

Exit Stage Left


I was born in Arkansas City, Kansas and was adopted by my paternal grandparents at six months old. U.S. Steel transferred my father to Texas when I was four years old. I grew up in Wylie, Texas, and studied piano starting at age five, then classical guitar at age eight. I was ten years old when I started drumming. I had found my muse, my obsession, my groove. I went to college at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas with a full music scholarship…. After three years and about the time that I was really feeling like a super-star in town — playing with the local veterans of East Texas Blues, “The Leon Street Blues Band”, (note: Little Stevie (Ray Vaughan) sat in with us a few times, as my friends never cease to remind me), I decided to quit school and go back to Dallas in search of those dream shows and magical moments outside of the sheet music.I had been teaching others for six years and was convinced that my degree would mean nothing more than a certificate to teach at a school, which was not my  vision. Kids, I do not recommend this alternative! Years later someone mentioned to me that I could have made a whole lot more money had I gotten my degree. Well Noted.

In Dallas, a multitude of mid-talent garage bands and an unplanned pregnancy with a hot sailor fresh out of the Navy, Paul (Tiger) Fischer, is what followed. We never married, yet shared true love, created in the stars. Tiger died in 1997. I raised my daughter in a closeted relationship with my partner, Sherry, for 17 years. I was raising my daughter with another woman way before Rosie O’Donnell or Melissa Etheridge became poster parents. Ha. I followed Katherine Hepburn’s advice from an interview and chose to raise my daughter in my own hometown and not on the road, or involved in “the biz”. I had read so many sad stories about the children of the stars and I certainly didn’t want that for mine.

The Gap Band had approached me about touring and everyone I knew was saying I was going to be a super-star, but I buried the music in my soul and joined the masses in the manufacturing world, making compact discs starting in the late ’80s. This allowed me to listen to every kind of music you could imagine. It was my time for listening and honing many other talents and interests while fulfilling my desire for family life. I had achieved my dream job as Production Control Specialist by the time the lay-offs of 2001 occurred. My daughter was graduating from high school and I started drumming again with a vengeance. I took a job with Sam’s Club Marketing because I wanted to learn how the big boys operated so I could carry that knowledge with me to promote myself.

When my relationship ended, I moved into a rehearsal studio because I couldn’t afford anything else — remember, I worked for the big guys and my primary focus was to return to the stage. Funny that I was sitting in my scary little padded room reading a story from our local entertainment newspaper about another drummer girl that Sharon Osborne rescued from a rehearsal studio living situation. I came out of there with many great stories and memories and rented a house in Dallas.

I took on a stage name, “Ms. Morgan” because my daughter was still living at home and I didn’t want anyone to Google me. I met and married a tattoo artist named Stephen “Lurch” Anderson, who rocked my world. He was a harmonica playin’, blues singin’, critically ill man who succumbed to Pyoderma Gangrenosom, developed over a six year battle with a brown recluse spider bite. His sudden down turn and ultimate death was very devastating for me. Totally torn down, couch surfing and house maid opportunities carried my way by day as I continued to throw my passion into the music. “Gypsy Morgan” I was fondly dubbed. I worked for room and board to survive and to keep on doing what I love… working day and night to follow that vision, that destiny, which became a reality, a dream come true far better than I had ever imagined it would.

Several tragic events occurred during that time. My Dad died of Alzheimer’s and six months later my Mom died from cancer. The last thing she said to me as I started out the door on my final visit was, “Now go beat the hell out of those drums!” I treasure that memory. She knew I was heading to Australia for a big tour with many major players and she was very proud of me.

Degenerative bone disease and other health challenges have forced me to slow down and become one of the coolest members of the Disabled Musicians group. This experience has given me time to be home, grieve, unpack my storage, archive some pictures and stories from my travels, and to see my little Chihuahua “Gypsy Pete” off to the Rainbow Bridge. I have had the opportunity to re-group, recuperate and to begin to trudge up the hill once again to grab hold and jump aboard that band wagon my Momma always told me to get on.

I hardly had time to wallow in my sorrow and pain over carrying the label “Disabled” and losing the ability to work — or more importantly not being able to play the drums anymore — when I received a call from a friend I had met while touring in Minnesota, Lon Mickelson. He began telling me about his idea of a recording project for his new organization, the Blues Women International. Of course I wanted to jump on the band-wagon… but there I was feeling like my drumming days were OVER. My body was rebelling at every turn. When Lon called, the spark was ignited inside me. I’ll never forget standing in the kitchen that day – having that feeling deep inside that said, you know, I could probably do this — and more importantly, I could see the vision, the mission, the opportunity to go lay down a few awesome tracks with my blues sisters on a CD that I could really be proud of, my contribution to begin a tradition as I exit stage left.

I diligently took those five minute walks that turned into thirty minute walks… working through the pain and getting stronger. Over the months, news from Lon about the progress of the project coming to fruition kept me on track and motivated as if this were that first place medal I was after at State UIL competitions (which I got). Many, many times I seriously thought I was not going to be able to do it, that I might have to find someone to replace me… but that stinkin’ thinkin’ didn’t have a chance to hang with me too long, because I had already seen the vision and made up my mind that “hey, it could happen! Stop whining and get busy.” Half of the battle is just showing up ~ or so I’ve been told.

I don’t have a car and had stopped driving because of my disabilities. In late December, I asked my very talented friend Cindy Maloney if she would like to jump into this project with me and take the trip. She submitted two absolutely killer songs that she wrote, began securing our lodging, food and itinerary. As long as I didn’t worry too much about it, the money came… and right on time. It certainly didn’t hurt that she got a Mercedes for Christmas, with heated seats!

With well laid plans, our journey began. It was a truly magical journey to a magical place, The Hopson Plantation Commissary in Clarksdale, Mississippi ~ The Home of the Blues ~ down at the Crossroads ~ Delta style. Fifteen women made history creating the first international, all-female, all originals, live recording. I have to tell you, I felt like I had climbed the mountain and won the big prize when the last note was struck. Those who know me can visualize that – fists in the air, “I did it” moment. Pinch me, yes, it happened.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude, pride, excitement and appreciation for this wonderful new family of blues sisters and brothers. The first day, before recording, I tripped on a rut in the road leading up to the Hopson and landed flat on my knees. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I absolutely did go to the Crossroads and fall upon my knees. I hear that we have some tracks that are OFF the charts, and I am very excited for the grand release date to be announced later this spring.

Remember, if you hear the beat of a different drummer, look around… it might be me.

– Carol Dierking

 

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I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch.  You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” ~  Maya Angelou    

“Woman is the Wonder of the World.”  ~ Billy Joe Shaver                                                                           

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