Mates of State offers even more to love with kids, 'Re-Arrange'

By George Lang Published: June 6, 2008
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Ga
rdner said she and Hammel would do what some have described as "yelp singing,” but it wasn't because of some artistic eccentricity. In the early years, the Mates of State toured with a horrible little amplifier that could barely compete with the sound emanating from the Electone. All that time, Gardner and Hammel just wanted to be heard.

But now, Gardner said, was a good time for a change. "The organ just made us sound crazy and abrasive. I do like that about the organ, but I think it was time to not sound so harsh,” she said.

"But we're at peace with more things in our life now,” Gardner said, and a major part of that had to do with bringing up babies.

In 2006, Gardner wrote a piece for the parenting Web site Babble about touring with a rock band, and how the onset of progeny changed how they go on the road. Before, it was the standard, carefree morass of cheap hotels, public toilets and late-night partying.

Then Magnolia was born, and it all changed.

"Find hotels ahead of tour with adjoining rooms and a pool,” Gardner wrote in the article. "Rent van, pick up nanny, sound guy and merch guy. Drive no more than four hours to first show while child naps and then watches ‘The Wiggles' DVD in the car three times in a row.”

Magnolia is now 4, and she has a baby sister, June Elizabeth. Gardner said that life was difficult with the first child but has smoothed out considerably with their second, which could explain the placidity of "Re-Arrange Us.”

"When you have your first kid, your life goes through the wringer in a way, and you're like, ‘Whoa, I didn't know I was never going to sleep again' or that I was going to be a worrywart for the rest of my life,” she said. "Then the second time, it's like, ‘Oh, I'm totally cool with this — welcome to the world.'”