Underground Rock Legends: Maya Mother Goddess: At The Headquarters Of A Super Shero Rocker

Photos courtesy of Maya Mother Goddess 

She descended onto the New York Rock scene like a mythical feature holding a fist full of indestructible power chords, vocal lightening, thunderous stage presence and majestic storylines that energized underground Punk in NYC. Her legend soars across time lines that helped to shape-shift a new era of Sista Grrrl Rockers. 

Samantha Hollins: Where are you originally from?

Maya Mother Goddess: I was born in St. Louis, Missouri but don’t remember much about it because we moved when i was a baby….other than awkward summers spent with my grandparents. My grade and high school years were spent in Texas. I went to Booker T. Washington performing arts high school in Dallas at the same time as Erykah Badu and Roy Hargrove. I ran away to NYC when I was 21; in 1994. Now I’m in Austin.

Photo courtesy of Maya Mother Goddess 

Samantha Hollins: What year did you start your music career?

Maya Mother Goddess: I started a band as soon as I graduated high school; when I was 17. The year was 1990 and the band was called What She Said. I played rhythm guitar and sang, fronting 3 Rockabilly guys…playing songs I wrote as a kid. Then I randomly ended up playing guitar in an all-female Hard Rock cover band in Akron, Ohio for like 4 months in ’92; then back home to another version of What She Said.

Samantha Hollins: When was the first time you fell in love with Rock ‘n’ Roll?

Maya Mother Goddess: Man, it’s been part of me for so long I don’t really remember. I do recall my older brother being really into KISS when he came back from the Army. He had a black light poster of them in his room that scared the crap out of me but also fascinated me when I was 4 years old. Later I would discover Joan Jett through someone at school when I was about 8 or 9 and she became my everything. I read every interview in every magazine I could find with her in it and imagined she was like my Fairy Godmother. Before Joan, my biggest inspiration was Diana Ross. She is the one who awakened my vision of being a larger than life stage performer. Then Joan came along and slapped an electric guitar and some attitude on that vision.

Photo courtesy of Maya Mother Goddess 

Samantha Hollins: Your guitar is like a majestic wound with strings when you play. When did you start playing? What was your inspiration? 

Maya Mother Goddess: Oh wow! I love that analogy! That’s amazing! I got my first electric guitar for Christmas when I was 12 years old. That would have been 1984 when lots of magical things were happening in music. I was still religiously obsessed with Joan Jett, but Purple Rain happened that year and that untouchable Prince magic was seeping into my bones too. I might have taken one or two lessons on an acoustic (guitar), but it bored me learning Folk songs from a guy who thought the music I liked was silly. I got the tablature book for the I Love Rock & Roll album and taught myself power chords.

I would study Joan’s hands in videos, play along with the radio, stuff like that. Music like Bo DiddleyJoan Jettthe Ramones & Chuck Berry were where I got my guitar sound from, so once I had power chords down I kinda stopped learning. Looking back maybe I should have been more open to other stuff, but power chord rhythm guitar was my jam and I was happy with that. To this day it bugs me if a song only has one guitar and the rhythm part drops out completely for a solo. Motorhead over Malmsteen all day!

Samantha Hollins: When it comes to rigs and gigs how do you approach your set-up? Has it changed over the years? 

Maya Mother Goddess: My first “real” electric (guitar) I had as a kid was a Les Paul copy from a pawn shop, so I got used to that solid heavy weight and thick sound. I had a few different guitars through the years, my favorite might have been the silver-jet Gretcsh I had when I first moved to NYC. I’ve also played SG’s (Epiphones, anyway) and I love those, too. For amps I have stuck with solid state Marshalls.

Samantha Hollins: Sista Grrrl Riot was the birth of a new era for Black women in Punk. How did it come to life?

Maya Mother Goddess: I had been playing in bands around NYC for a couple years already, when I finally met the force of nature we now know as Tamar Kali after one of my gigs. We knew Funkface in common and I think she came to see them and I had played before them, maybe. Anyway I did a cover of a Betty Davis song that night and she went nuts. We exchanged info afterward and she invited me to see an electric violinist named Simi who was performing soon. Another performer by the name of Honeychild was also there that night and forces were joined. Our first shows together changed the fucking world and that is not an exaggeration. There was a seismic shift and we were the earthquake. I still see the ripples and after effects so many years later. I wish that moment and movement had been better documented, but it still lives.

Samantha Hollins: How are you related to the legacy of Afro-Punk

Maya Mother Goddess: Well honestly, all that came after what the Sista Grrrls did both as a collective and individually as artists on our own…so I would rather ask how Afropunk is related to OUR legacy? In the heart of NYC, Sista Grrrl Riots created a space for other freaks, geeks, & Punk Rockers of color to step out of the shadows; be seen and THRIVE. Afropunk came afterward and built upon what was already happening. The Afropunk that we knew then wasn’t what it is now. It was a docmentary film that captured some of what was already happening. Back then I used to close all my shows with a cover of the Patti Smith song “Rock&Roll N-er”. It blew people’s minds to hear that song reclaimed and thrown back at the word by a Black Woman. Some folks were offended of course, but to others (especially women of color I think) it was the most Punk Rock thing ever. It was a huge fuck you to anyone who had shut us out or made Black Women feel that we didn’t belong in the Rock world. We fucking created that shit.

We gave birth to it so of course it’s ours. I like to think that my live version of that song was a nuclear blast that helped the shift happen. For example: the original full title of the documentary was, “Afropunk: The Rock&Roll N-er Experience”, but it got changed. My version of the song didn’t manage to make its way into the film, but I’m sure that my influence had something to do with that original film title.

Samantha Hollins: CBGB’s is world famous! What did it feel like the moment you walked on that stage full of Rock-star energy for the first time? 

Maya Mother Goddess: I still remember the first time I walked through those doors to see other bands. It was my first trip to NYC in September of ‘94. It was like I was on a pilgrimage and CBGB’s was Mecca. When I stepped through the doors of that venue for the first time, it was a hundred percent like the moment Dorothy stepped into technicolor out of her busted old house in the Wizard of Oz. Every cell in my body came alive. I don’t remember specifically what my first gig was there off the top of my head. I ended up playing there many times and never lost that sense of reverence for the holy place it was. It also had arguably the best sound of all the stages I played in New York…and of course, the nastiest bathrooms!

Photo courtesy of Maya Mother Goddess 

Samantha Hollins: You’ve been a creative force over the years. Did you take a walk out of the spotlight? If so what motivated that decision? 

Maya Mother Goddess: It wasn’t an intentional exodus but the music force inside me has definitely been in stasis for longer than I thought possible. Music was my whole life and all that I had ever planned on doing. Unfortunately my life in NYC took a sour turn when I spent too much of my energy being emotionally tormented by a junkie. People saw the stars and the strength but no one knew the struggle that was happening privately. I had big dreams and was on the right path in most ways, but ultimately I was young and foolish with my heart and ended up in the most toxic relationship ever that almost killed me. By the time I escaped that situation, I was starting to have health issues as well. Long story short, I made my way back to Dallas to stay with my mama “for a while” as I got my health sorted out. That was over 14 years ago. Holy shit. 14 years? Yep.

Samantha Hollins: What did it feel like to land back on stage in December 15, 2019 at the Bowery Electric with the likes of 24-7 SpyzHoneychild Coleman and many more? I so wanted to be there. What was the vibe like? 

Maya Mother Goddess: Man, that night was such a powerful homecoming. It was a birthday party for the unstoppable Luqman Brown of FUNKFACE and his birthday shows are always a great party…but that one was also the fundraiser to help with medical bills for the open heart surgery he had just endured. So there was this send of Big Love and togetherness which was palpable. 24-7 Spyz of course are legends and they kicked the night off with their massie sound that I really thought was going to blow the place up! Then the Funkface guys hit the stage, and all the rest of us performers stepped in to do the vocals in tribute to Luqman. I know I keep using the word “magical” but holy shit that night was unreal. It definitely reignited the fires to make me want to be back onstage…aaaaand then 2020 happened, so…..

Photo courtesy of Maya Mother Goddess 

Samantha Hollins: I was so mesmerized by your short film “RAIN”. I keep watching it in awe. What is your storyline that connects with such a brilliant piece of art? 

Maya Mother Goddess: Thank you so much! Part of the reason I wanted to make the film was because at the time I started working on it there were zero Black women with any significant superhero representation in film. I loved the character of Storm and at the time I had never seen the mohawk version of her character brought to life either. But more personally the story I wrote was about a tragedy I had experienced which knocked the life out of me for some time. At the end of 2011 my son Orion was born still. His name appears at the very opening of the film. The journey of the character in the story parallels parts of my own journey: from hopelessness and powerlessness to anger to renewal. The journey for me isn’t over of course. Grief that heavy comes and goes in cycles. But making and sharing that film was great catharsis.

Samantha Hollins: You embody an abundance of strength through your artistry. What do you consider to be your Super Powers to get through the -isms in the industry over the years?

Maya Mother Goddess: I think all Black women have to have certain underlying awareness and preparedness, because we got the whole world trying to kick us around and convince us we don’t matter from day one. I also know that we are the original Mothers and the first creators. That’s just science. That’s who we are. We are the Earth herself. Black and brown and soft and hard and growing and flowing with water and fire; always renewing. That kind of Absolute Truth can never stay buried for too long no matter who thinks they are in control.

Samantha Hollins: What are you passionate about outside of music and art? 

Maya Mother Goddess: This may not sound very Rock’n’Roll but I love being around animals kinda more than most humans. One day I want to have a little rescue ranch where I can provide shelter and love for random misfit creatures who might not have found it elsewhere. I have cats now but we’re planning to get goats soon. I want like alpacas and pigs and whatnot…and like a random blind zebra. I also started some pretty intense martial arts training after the loss of my son. That is still a huge part of my heart even though I haven’t actively trained in way too long. Again dealing with health crap slowed me down in a lot of areas…but I’m still kickin’.

Samantha Hollins: What is the next chapter for your immense artistic expression?

Maya Mother Goddess: I never know. I had no idea I would ever make a film but now I’m kinda in love with that process and would love to do it again. I also have some weird sci-fi-ish novels I need to get out of my brain at some point. I would love to just spend my time writing and taking care of animals and then randomly jumping onstage with my guitar to blow minds and remind these kids what’s up! I also draw and paint silly little things a lot just to keep some kind of flow going, even when i feel like shit. Depression is a real force in my life that I am constantly working to keep in check. Creating helps. So I’ll keep doing that in random, weird ways for as long as I can.

Photo courtesy of Maya Mother Goddess 

Samantha Hollins: No void was felt when she left the music business behind because she left it all on the stage…and what she left grew into a profound legacy. That legacy made room for Maya Mother Goddess to evoke many creative forces. 

Check out Maya Mother Goddess mind blowing film “Rain” here:

A fan film created by Maya “Mother Goddess”Glick, directed by Zane Rutledge and Jeff Stolhand, and produced by Matt Joyce. Inspired by the “punk” incarnation of the Marvel superhero Storm of the X-Men.

To learn more about Maya Mother Goddess check her out on her Instagram page @Mayasokora.

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