Lori Rolie proudly holds up her award winning children’s book, Meem’s Little World. Photo courtesy of Marta Giannotti/Marta’s Lens

Making A Sound Living: Meem’s Little World Rocks!

The life of being married to a musician is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. From the tour bus rides, to the long flights, it’s truly a life spent in perpetual motion — a life that Lori Rolie never would have expected to find herself in the midst of.

It all began in the mid ’70s during two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Gregg Rolie’s time in the world-renowned band Journey. Lori was working as an airline stewardess at the time and first met Gregg while sitting in an airport lounge next to the band, waiting for her flight.

In an industry where your art, your life, and your loves are disposable and gone in an instant, this couple truly defy the odds, not only through their 36 year strong marriage, but also by building their lives with love, respect, and trust, away from the critical eye of the paparazzi and the public alike.

So how, as Gregg Rolie’s wife and the mother of his children —plus living in a world where he’s known for not one, but two bands (Santana, and Journey) that have made significant contributions to music around the world — does she contend with his fame and still be herself?

When you’re Lori Rolie, you create your own place — “Meem’s Little World” to be exact, a book series for children she has written and illustrated.

As Lori (LR) sat in her kitchen in sunny Texas at the end of March and I in my dreary gray Windsor kitchen, we talked over the phone about her life, the loves of her life and the creation of a mouse called Meem.

BIZ X: What advice would you give women that are in a relationship with a musician?

Lori Rolie (LR): If you’re truly grounded in your marriage, and you don’t have trust issues, and you know who you are as a woman, you’re good. But, know that’s a profession that requires a lot of attention and you have to step back and let that happen. A lot of women don’t understand sharing their husbands with the public and the fans. And it’s all about the fans. Without those fans, we would not have the beautiful life that we do.

BIZ X: Gregg left Journey at its peak for a number of reasons. People would be surprised to know that having a family was the main one. Tell me about that transition?

LR: When I married Gregg, I was fortunate enough to go on the full Journey tour and we had the time of our lives. It was fabulous. It was like a fairy tale. It was Gregg who decided he had had enough of the years of touring with Santana and Journey and he was tired. They toured like no other band —they rarely had days off. He was very tired and he knew he wanted to get married and have children. He did not want to raise children on the road. I felt the same way. He was thinking about it a long time and quit the band to raise a family . . . and that’s what he did.

BIZ X: How long was it before he went back on the road?

LR: For 17 years, Gregg was at home while our children were growing up. Gregg made that sacrifice for his family, and once they became of age to go on their own, then Gregg decided to go back. He started with creating a band called The Storm and did a few dates with them. More recently, he has been touring with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.

BIZ X: After raising your children and Gregg out on the road with Ringo Starr for the last five years, what was the inspiration for writing a book, let alone a children’s book?

LR: When my kids were little, the best time for us [was] every single night, without fail, we would read together at bedtime. It was my time one-on-one with them. They would take the book they wanted to read and we would spend a good 45 minutes to an hour just reading. It’s the sweetest thing I can remember about raising the kids. Even before they could read, it was little picture books, those were really special times. They remember that to this day, and they always looked forward to it and they always told me they loved the way that I read to them. They looked forward to it so much they thought that I should write books myself. That kind of inspired me way back when — that they would be so affected by that. It warmed me. [It] made me think I would really love to do this someday.

BIZ X: Besides your children, what was your inspiration for writing?

LR: I was inspired by what I would read. I loved children’s author Shel Silverstein. It was his style of writing that really sparked me to be creative along those same lines. Also, Eric Carle was my inspiration for illustration. His use of colour was brilliant, and I found out it was done with tissue paper and layers of photos. Also, the style of writing and words by E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Weband Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.

BIZ X: To have never written before, what was your process?

LR: I felt, if I was going to write, I was going to do it creatively. I wanted there to be a real special meaning. I didn’t want empty words or illustrations and I wanted it to all flow together. Many times, I would open a book and the content of what I was reading didn’t really match the illustrations. I thought some were a little too confusing or didn’t match the child’s age. Sometimes the illustrations would be so confusing that the child would miss what that content was trying to say as in the illustrations were simple, but the wording was beyond their years, I saw a disconnect in a lot of literature.

BIZ X: Who is “Meem” and how did it come to be?

LR: My first illustrated character of the mouse was inspired by my father. He told me story of when he was young he had to write a poem for school and he wrote, “I saw a mouse run up the wall, I saw his tail and that was all.” That’s all my dad could remember. He said he was so terrified of reciting the poem in front of the class. It was that memory which Meem was born from.

BIZ X: Did the physical drawing of your main character “Meem” come easily?

LR: Not at all. So, I asked my children to do it and they said, “no YOU should do it.” I went to my husband Gregg, who is an awesome artist, and he said, “no YOU should do it.” So, after a lot of tears and paper, I finally drew a mouse that was really cute and is on the front of all my books. It was Gregg’s suggestion to make “Meem” my logo. He was so helpful in teaching me how to market myself.

Making A Sound Living: Meem’s Little World Rocks! continues…

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