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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chicago music couple Michael McDermott, Heather Horton inseparable, will perform Friday at Mayne Stage in Chicago


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Chicago music couple Heather Lynne Horton and Michael McDermott are inseparable.

And as I learned, they like it that way. Horton has been a member of McDermott's band since 2005, and they were married in 2009.

Horton and McDermott also both have birthdays this week, and will celebrate by performing at a birthday bash Friday, Aug. 26, at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave., Chicago.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and general admission tickets are $20, available at www.maynestage.com.

I had the chance to talk to Horton about a variety of topics, including how they balance being musicians while tending to the needs of their 1-year-old daughter, Rain.


Q - The birthday bash is coming up, I see.You guys both have birthdays this week. And your daughter Rain just had a birthday, right?

She just did, yeah. She turned 1 on July 19. And then we took off for Europe.

Q - Yes, I understand you were just in Italy. How was that?

It was amazing. It was extremely challenging, and we knew it would be. But it was just amazing.

I'm doing a documentary on Michael, which was less about the music and more about an American traveling through the center of Italy.

We've been there several times, but each time we go there, it solidifies our belief in what our roots can really do for us.

We've gone there and seen a 1,000-year-old castle. It's just a whole different way of life over there, and it really makes you put things in perspective when you come back here.


Q - Michael McDermott is kind of a legend in Italy. They really love him there.

They are really hungry for really deep and passionate stories and lyrics, which is what my husband is all about.

Q - Michael has talked a lot about his past demons. Do you think you have been a stabilizing force in his life?

He was told he was God, and given a million dollars in a publishing deal and record contract. And then he was introduced to booze and finally drugs by the same people who gave him all this money and wanted him to manage it at a young age.

He says that I saved his life. I think he was always going to be OK, but it was taking him just the wrong way, and I cut it short.

People say that I led him to the light, but I don't think it's that simple, and I don't want to take credit where he deserves the credit.
 
Q - And then you have the recent death of Amy Winehouse.

I'm not a fan of destructive behavior, but I was a fan of her soul and her music. I just thought it was sad that no one could get in there.

Q - Has Rain been to a show yet?

Her first show was when she was two weeks old. But that was an outdoor thing, with very low volume. It was out in Orland Park, where Michael's family is from.

That was hard for me. I felt that I needed to be with her. Everything in my being told me I needed to be holding her.

She was fine, sitting next to her grandmother in her stroller. She was awake the whole time.

But she's been going to concerts since she was in my womb. I toured the whole time I was pregnant.

We literally came off a tour, and I went into labor two hours later. So she has felt the music and has been part of it for a long time.

We have headphones for her to muffle the sound because her ears are still developing.

Q - Of course, you have your own music career. Your album, "Postcard Saturdays," was released last year. Are you working on new material?

Yep. It's funny that you ask, because from the time I had the baby until this week, I haven't slept more than three hours at a time.

It's been hard to have her sleep through the night. I have not been able to be alone and write, and it's been somewhat depressing.

It's been pretty challenging for me. So for the first time last week, I took three hours, went to a coffee shop, and I wrote a decent song.

I didn't care if I wrote a letter, I didn't care if I wrote the alphabet, but I had to write something. I've only written three songs this year, and I'm used to writing three songs every other week.

Q - Being married and being in a band together, how does that work?

We are so pitiful in the most beautiful way.

We do everything together. Right now, I'm in the back and he's in the front distracting the baby so she doesn't miss me.

We don't like being apart. We really are each other's best friends.

We cherish when the baby goes to sleep, and we can just hold hands watching TV. All through the day and every day we're always together, and to us, it's still not enough.


Q - I guess it's love.

It's love, it's respect, it's just that feeling of when someone knows what you are thinking without saying it.

It's that best friend thing when you are a kid. That's the only way I can describe it.