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Erin Zappin, photo by: shutterthink.com

(Meridith)
For a long time now I’ve wanted to do interviews with the people who make things happen behind the scenes, the “unsung heroes” in the world of music and who fits that description better than the wife of a recording artist? When I had the chance to do an interview for musicmamas.com, Erin Zappin, was the first person who came to mind. I spent seven years working for experimental Hip Hop artist John Reuben working side by side with Erin. She does an amazing job balancing being “the wife of an artist” with being a loving and supportive wife and creating a home for him to come back to from the road.

Since Erin is not only a former co-worker but a very close friend it was pretty fun to try and come up with interview questions for her. So, without further ado here she is. The “mystery chick” that John Reuben has rapped about. I am very pleased to introduce to you Erin Zappin, an amazing woman, wife, friend with many hidden creative talents of her own.

What role did music play in your life growing up? What is the evolution of music in your life?

Music was just music for me. It’s always just been sort of this thing that was there that I could adjust depending on my mood. The evolution of music in my life…..hum, funny….let’s see. My first cassette was LL Cool J “Bigger and Deffer”, my first concert was Pink Floyd “The Division Bell”, two of the first CD’s I ever purchased with my own money were, Sarah McLachlan, “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy”, and Radiohead, “The Bends”. Now, I have a wide range of music. Anything from Andrea Bocelli and Ella Fitzgerald, to The Mars Volta, Muse, Queen, Stavesacre, Five Iron Frenzy, Mindy Smith, The Postal Service, Fiona Apple, Common, Pigeon John, Jay Z, Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, Tim Hughes and the Amelie Soundtrack

Do you play any instruments or make music yourself? Have you ever taken lessons?

Unfortunately, the only music instrument that I have every learned to play was the clarinet in middle school but I probably couldn’t play it now if I tried.

What are you currently listening to and/or who are your favorite artists?

Currently, I’m really loving the newest Modest Mouse “We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank” album as well as The Polyphonic Spree, and The Beatles “Greatest Hits Album.”

How did you and your husband meet and how did you “get together”?

We grew up in the same town and met in middle school but didn’t “get together” until after college. We became really great friends just after high school and then something just clicked and I gave in and started dating him. A year later, we got married.

What role does music play in your life now? How involved are you in your husband’s music? Have you ever been on any of his albums?

I guess there are two sides to music in my life now. For me personally, music is still pretty mood dependent. Sometimes I get stuck on an album or artist for period of time and other times I kind of just flip through my collection. The other side is John’s music career. Apart from having a husband who’s profession is “Rapper” and all of the pretty accurate stereotypes that a musician brings to a relationship, i.e. “the never ending, which verse do you like better or (my favorite), what level of bass do you prefer on this song?” and the endless scraps of paper and journals, I’m really not too involved musically. The flip side of that, apart from any sort of album negotiations, I handle most of the business side of his career. You know… email, the wonderful world of myspace, merchandise, finances, payroll and taxes. I have been on one of his albums. You would never in a million years pick out my background vocal part. I’m pretty sure it was on his “Professional Rapper” album but for the life of me I can’t think of which song. Real confidence booster I guess. Ha.

Is it difficult to make the transition between being a single woman while your husband is on the road to be a wife when your husband is home? Is it frustrating when people ask you how you manage having him gone so much?

I used to hate it when people asked how I managed having John gone so much because it totally made me feel like I had no other identity apart from the role of “wife”, but I think that for most people, it’s really hard having your other half touring for sometimes 2 months at at time away from you. I think that we were created, by God, for relationship and so independence and time apart can become isolation really quickly. John and I have always sort of taken his traveling and our time apart pretty easily. I’m not sure if it’s just the way we’re both built or if it’s just the grace of God (a mix of both I’m sure). I think that both of us have had a harder go at the dependence part. It’s all about balance. I heard someone once say, that “the best marriage scenario is two independent people coming together choosing dependency.”

How do you deal with the highs (and lows) of your huband’s success in the music industry?

You know honestly, I don’t really see much of a difference between the two in life. Both of them include some loving and a swift kick in the ass.

If you could pick any bands for your husband to go on tour with who would it be?

Purely for my own enjoyment Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Modest Mouse, the Beastie Boys, the Danielson Family (if they were still together) and maybe David Bowie.

If you had to pick your top 5 records what would they be?

Of all time? Not a clue. But for right now, Modest Mouse “We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank”, Muse “Black Holes & Revelations, Sigur Rois “Takk”, Sunny Day Real Estate (All of them), Sufjan Stevens “Seven Swans”.

Do you have any creative hobbies? How do you express yourself creatively?

I love to bake and would love to have my own bakery/patisserie one day.

For more about John Reuben’s music including music clips, videos, tour dates and more go to johnreuben.com or his myspace page myspace.com/johnreuben. John Reuben’s latest album “Word of Mouth” was released in February of this year on Gotee Records. He is currently at work on his 6th record and doing tour dates across the country.

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