the other day, i dropped off a patti rothberg shirt at the salvation army. it was a white XL shirt with this image on it.
i never liked the shirt and think i only ever wore it for a few seconds once when it first arrived in the mail: it was way too big for me and looked like a fucking mumu; the artwork was not my thing, way too ‘sensitive man’ or lilith fair-ish; and i don’t like white shirts because they get filthy instantly.
so why did i buy the goddamned thing in the first place? because i used to be the world’s biggest patti rotherberg fan, and this was one of only a few patti rothberg shirts ever made.
rothberg is a rock/folk rock artist from new york who i became absolutely obsessed with in the summer of ’96 when her single, ‘inside,’ became a moderate hit. i bought the album, loved it, and even managed to get in touch with her once when i was writing for a small music magazine (many thanks to my pal josli who looked patti up in the phone book while in new york one day, way back when). i think it was ’98 when i spoke to patti on the phone. i recognized her voice instantly and felt lightheaded. no joke, i almost fainted, that’s how freaked out i was. i mean, here i was in shawnigan lake, talking to this successful artist in new york who was profoundly influencing my teenage life, an artist who had created a large part of the soundtrack to this era of my life, and who i had a massive star crush on. i’m sure i sounded like a real dumbass kid.
i continued to follow patti’s career despite the fact she never again attained the success of ‘inside’. after a few years, i knew that she was technically a one hit wonder but i believed, and still do believe, that she had lots of other work that was just as great as her initial hit. i bought a 7″ vinyl single (my fave patti recording of all, actually), her follow-up album ‘candelabra cadabra’, not to mention numerous CD singles, posters, press releases, and another shirt.
but eventually, patti lost me. her stuff just became too humorous and silly or lacking in great hooks, not rocking or touching or catchy enough. i began to see her continued music career efforts as just plain sad. that was hard for me to admit to myself because of how valuable patti and her work had been to me when i was younger, but there was a point where i couldn’t deny my true feelings on patti rothberg: i was over her.
this was quite a few years ago. 10 years ago now maybe? i’m not sure. and yet i’ve held on to all my patti memorabilia until just a few days ago when i cleaned out my closet. as cherished as my memories of patti and her music are, i can’t justify hanging on to a white oversized mumu with a graphic on it that i don’t even like, that i’ve never even worn. so i took a deep breath and put it in the salvation army pile.
i still kept everything else though.