‘Come Worry With Us!’ balances music and parenthood

April 30, 2014

Can a rock ‘n’ roller push a baby stroller?

That’s the question Helene Klodawsky poses in Come Worry With Us! . Her thoughtful documentary, which is screening at Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival after premiering at RIDM (The Montreal International Documentary Festival) last November, follows Montreal art-rock band Thee Silver Mt. Zion touring across Canada and the U.S. But this rock doc includes little Ezra, the son of violinist Jessica Moss and singer-guitarist Efrim Menuck. The musical parents change his diapers between shows, often at the most inconvenient times.

“There’s a scene in the film,” recalls director Klodawsky from Montreal, “where we follow Jessica and Efrim after a very long day of traveling and prepping their show, take on the task of tucking-in their mischievous not-wanting-to-stop toddler into his tour bus bunk. It’s way past bedtime and the crowds are waiting.”

Andrea Blaugrund Nevins’ The Other F Word (2011) explored middle-aged punk rock dudes who compromise their values (no cussing, no drugs, no late nights) when they become dads. Come Worry With Us! takes the mother’s point of view.

“When I learned that Thee Silver Mt. Zion was touring with a nanny and child, I was intrigued by the idea of a group of politically engaged musicians trying to combine art-making, parenting and being on the road.”

Moss is the centre of the film. The audience sympathizes with her juggling act, but also shares in her joy when she plays with little Ezra. Other musician-moms, such as Natalia Yanchak of fellow Montreal band The Dears, lends credence to Moss’ struggles. As for Thee Silver Mt. Zion’s politics, this tangent is unnecessary and feels forced into the film. (One scene where Moss and Menuck participate in the 2012 students protests in Quebec looks particularly out of place.)

Throughout Come Worry With Us!, touring exerts a constant pressure on Moss and Menuck, who have no choice but to constantly gig now that they live in the age of plummeting record sales and illegal downloads. Says Klodawsky: “It was a time when I was asking myself a lot of questions about the relationship between creativity, freedom and responsibility—particularly for young artists working within a rather unforgiving economic context.”

Documentaries about mothers juggling work and family are nothing new, but they are to rock. It’s surprising that nobody has broached this subject until Come Worry With Us! This film’s significance will only mature in the future as more women play in bands and balance motherhood.

Check out Come Worry With Us!’ final screening on Thursday, May 1, at 1:00 p.m.

[magazine month=”May” year=”2014″]

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