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Motorbaby lead singer/guitarist Sharon Middendorf has been down the musical road several times. In the last few years she has fronted several bands--The Blacklight Chameleons and Ten Wings--to name a few, the latter even going so far as to release a disc on Cargo Records in '92. Along the way Middendorf tirelessly logged in experience as writer, producer, manager, and booking agent for all of her bands. Her experience may explain why on the eve of her band's major label debut--an event which would have most quivering in their Doc Martens--Middendorf does not feel any nerves. "I'm numb, I don't feel nervous," she says, "I'm feeling very matter-of-fact. I know to get to certain places in your life you've got to have some luck happen to you. I'm happy, I'm excited, but my feet are on the ground."

Middendorf's feet first hit musical ground in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where at age seven she picked up a guitar. "I'm self taught," she confesses, "when I was little I could hear a melody and pick it out immediately. I'm lucky I have a good ear." It wasn't long until Middendorf started going to concerts and pillaging her music-teaching mother's record collection, taking in heavy doses of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Doors. A life-altering experience came at a Pretenders show of which Middendorf says, "It was too great. Chrissy Hynde was so commanding, it changed my life."

Motorbaby is pretty commanding itself. Formed by Middendorf in New York's Lower East Side in '94, with bassist Ron Mancuso and drummer Lez Warner, the trio plays a heavy mix of grinding laconic pop, spiked with a dreamy ambient churn and dark underwater grooves. The twelve songs on the eponymously titled disc, from the deep melodies of the first single "Keep On," to the inspired buzz of "Lose Your Mind," are fueled by a moody bliss and a heart that believes in itself. "The theme of the songs come from anything that moves me emotionally," Middendorf says, "love, life, death, pain, beauty. When I sit down to write a tune my head is in a strange place, music for me is a very healing thing."

Middendorf doesn't confine the healing just to her music. "I do a lot of yoga, I work out, I'm into being healthy, strong, and clear," she says, "I'm very focused, very organized--it's almost weird."

Speaking of weird, here's four things you probably don't know about Motorbaby...

Sharon is never late. ("I always show up a minute before.") Drummer Lez Warner used to be in the Cult and Spinal Tap, and bassist Ron Mancuso was in Beggars and Thieves. She uses a shark shaped pick. The band would love to work with Brian Eno someday.

So, in four words what does Motorbaby mean? "Strong, fast, sexy and female," Middendorf says. Female, yes, but this isn't Lilith Fair. Just because Motorbaby is led by a woman, you will find no folksy anthems about making breakfast. "It's not about being female," Middendorf says, "it's rock and roll; we're all doing it."

As for what the name of her band really means, Middendorf offers a simple explanation, "I've always loved the word "motor," and I wanted a name that represented the band and represented the music. As for "baby," I'm a woman and after all this is the music business; I've got to keep a sense of humor."

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