Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Hello, My Name is Dorothy

| April 20, 2022



You can blame it, indirectly, on Henry Ford and the assembly-line-enabled industrial revolution. But somewhere along the hurtling timeline of so-called progress, folks just stopped viewing miracles with any sense of wonder. One day we’re told, “Here’s the Internet — you may now log on and have instant access to the entire world and all of its information.” And in response, we merely nod casually and step into this unfamiliar but truly magical new portal. As if it had always been there, just lying dormant, waiting to be stumbled upon. Dorothy Martin doesn’t like the insensitive way history has been going. And this fiery frontwoman for an eponymous blues-metal outfit Dorothy would like to help humanity reconnect with its lost appreciation for everyday miracles because she’s actually witnessed one. And it truly transformed her whole existence and paved the way for her band’s latest Gospel-celebratory album, the aptly-titled “Gifts From the Holy Ghost.”

Martin isn’t kidding. She is reverend-serious as she tells the tale — or fable, really — of one post-concert night in Philadelphia three years ago when she stepped onto the tour bus to find her longtime guitar tech not dying but actually dead of an apparent overdose. She could recognize the blue-tinged physical appearance of a corpse, she’s said, and she had no doubt — it was most likely far too late to save her friend.

But she made an urgent plea to God, the Universe, whatever Higher Powers were out there for mercy, for the blood to start pumping through the man’s veins again. And miraculously — she thinks that’s the exact appropriate word for what occurred — he sputtered back to life, to the amazement of everyone present. “And this is a horrific story, but I am so grateful to have had that experience,” recalls Martin, still dumbfounded. “Because from that day on, I was like, ‘God is real, and there is nothing you can say that will change my mind.”

Even spookier, the rasp-throated belter adds, was the fact “that I was praying the night before, ‘God, if you’re out there and you can hear me, I need You to reveal Yourself.’ And then, the next day, this experience happened with my guitar tech. So I don’t believe that there are any coincidences in our Universe or accidents, and we’re all on a journey, so I was shown that for a reason. And that kinda planted the seed for the system of hope and inspiration that I wanted to put on this new album.” Missionary mission accomplished. “Gifts” opens with huge AC/DC guitars propelling the optimistic, stop-and-smell-the-roses lyrical message of “Beautiful Life,” then sweeps low into the Gothic swampiness of “Rest in Peace,” and chant-along chucka-chucka anthems like “Hurricane,” “Black Sheep,” “Made to Die,” and “Top of the World.”

Then the set pounds the pulpit a final on the closing title track, which succinctly summarizes the sermon you just heard. “Let the spirit move ya!” Martin invites (demands?), and listeners really have no choice — the music is so powerchord-kinetic, in classic Dorothy style, simultaneously nodding to punk, pop, R&B, and classic arena rock, you can’t help but shout an affirmative ‘Amen!’ Not that she’s started preaching from the Bible, Martin clarifies, but she has certainly gone through a conversion of sorts, which she outlines below.

IE: When this incident happened, did you make the usual bargain with God, like, “Save this mam, and I swear — I will NEVER sin again.”?

DOROTHY MARTIN: Yes. First, I was completely convinced that there was a God, a Higher Power. And He’s got different names, but they’re all different names for the same thing — the Creator. And we all look different, we all look and think different, but we’re all here on this planet, and we all come from the same source, which is this creative intelligence that surpasses our understanding. But it’s a source of wisdom and love, and anything that doesn’t align with that is not from God, in my opinion, and my experience. So it was such an eye-opening experience, on a cellular level, on a spiritual level, and it just changed everything. And after that, I was like, “Wow. This is real.” And I realize that some people really struggle with their faith or are like, “What am I here for? What am I doing in life?” But I was asking all those questions, and they say, “Ask, and you shall receive” and “Knock, and the door shall be opened.” I was knocking a long time before I was shown that experience, so I believe it was all divine timing. It happened when it was supposed to happen, and now here we are with “Gifts From the Holy Ghost.” I was struggling with alcoholism, and I was supposed to believe in a higher power, but I didn’t know what that was. So I believed there was something out there, but I just wanted conscious contact with it, or Him, or whatever you want to call it. I wonder if you can’t even put a gender on it.
IE: Did you then follow through and start attending church?
DM: I continued my journey in the recovery program and got into meditation. But I actually did not attend church. Not until I had a relapse in 2020 and went to rehab in Nashville. And because of Covid, they isolated everybody in a medical building, and you had to wait for your tests to come back. Well, I checked in on Halloween, under a full moon — it was crazy. And my relapse wasn’t that bad, but I knew where it could potentially head because I know enough about alcoholism to know that I can’t really take one drink – I’m wired a little differently than the person who can have half a glass of wine and walk away. So I thought, “We’re in the middle of this Apocalypse, so I’m going to rehab before this gets any worse.” And I believe that God allows us to go through things that shape and mold us. So I was sitting in my room at rehab, waiting for my Covid test – which was negative, everything was fine – and I had a Joel Olsteen book called I Declare. And I could not stand Joel Olsteen, but I loved the messages in the book – they were really uplifting and inspiring. So I started watching his sermons on a tablet because we didn’t have our phones, and I was not Christian, I didn’t like church, I didn’t like religion, and I didn’t understand the Bible — none of that stuff. But I loved the stuff he was saying and the messages he was imparting. So I’m watching his sermon, and he invites us to say the prayer at the end, and I don’t know what came over me — I just did it. And it was funny because we were so isolated, and without human contact, you kind of lose it a little bit. So we weren’t allowed to leave our rooms, but I was outside on the patio where we could go, and there are two gardeners within earshot, talking about the plants and the shrubs. And one of them said, “This one can still be saved.” And that sentence hit my ear, and I started sobbing. It was another powerful experience, just like the tour bus. And after that, things really opened up for me, and I did start going to church.

I’m not a fan of religion, but sick people go to a hospital, spiritually sick people come to a church. And they’re not there because their life is going great – They’re looking for something, looking for a feeling, looking for a release from their shame and guilt and torment. And so this whole other world was opened up to me, and now I understand that side of things. And my church — the Awaken Church in San Diego – happens to be about having a relationship with the Creator, and not religion, and it’s just really cool. I went there to see a guest speaker that I really liked, and when I first walked in, they were singing worship music, everyone was smiling, and it felt like a rock concert. So I just kept going. And it’s not for everybody, but that’s just where I ended up. And I don’t think that’s an accident – God is definitely showing me something.IE: There’s a lot of natural imagery on the album — rain, storms, thunder, and lightning. Did weather play a significant part?

DM: It did. And I don’t know why that is, but I think it’s fascinating. But it just happened. But I think that when you have a relationship with the Creator, you can go through any dark season, any storm, and there’s calmness and stillness and peace, and you can speak to the storm and tell it to be still. We have so much more power than we’re aware of. We’re told on a daily basis that we’re not enough, that we need to buy things to fill that hole inside of us, that we need to put drugs and alcohol in our body, that love comes from another person — the messaging in this world is really twisted and upside down. So I’m just trying to do my part and get a little bit of the messaging through the music that gives people hope and points them toward the light, you know? I’m not trying to be self-important — I just want to serve. It’s not like, “Oh, I’m so holy! I’m so great!” No, I have to serve, or I relapse. I have to serve, or my tank becomes empty. So I do what I can in my limited human capacity to just be helpful to the human race – that’s really so deeply satisfying for me.

IE: I feel the same way about rock journalism – it’s never been about me. It’s just about getting good music into the hands of listeners who deserve to hear, and the career chose me; I didn’t choose it.

DM: It DOES choose you, your destiny. I feel like it’s not an accident, so it does choose you, and it’s such a gift if you know that, and you’re in sync with that, because there some people out there who are still searching that are in effect killing that — they’re killing their souls. They have so much potential to do something that’s so fulfilling and giving back to the world, and yet they’re sitting in a cubicle all day instead. So I’m just grateful that I’m not doing that!

IE: You chose “Beautiful Life” to open the album for a good reason, right?

DM: It just felt like a really great opener. It felt like a really strong message, and I wanted to come out swinging, to kick the barn doors open. It’s an uptempo rocker, but it’s got these bright lyrics that I love. And “Don’t let the demons get you down” –that’s the message of the whole album and my favorite lyric. So it’s gotta go on a T-shirt, or I’ve gotta get that tattooed somewhere. And I love coffee, so I was thinking of making a “Don’t let the demons get you down” coffee mug — I think that’s a good idea.

IE: Spiritually, though, how can you explain a nuclear country invading a defenseless smaller nation, mid-pandemic? Humanity has learned nothing during lockdown and keeps showing why it no longer deserves to be on this planet.

DM: Yeah. That’s a really complicated question and really requires a lot of thought. But really, the only answer I can come up with is we’re allowed to have free will, and some people choose evil. Some people just choose the darkness. But there are so many other people that choose love, and that’s why evil never wins, ultimately, and our world does not get overtaken by darkness. There’s always light there. But some people just choose to be assholes, and they’re usually in some pain and are so disconnected from the sunlight of the spirit, from the source, it’s like, Forgive them, for they know not what they do. They’re really deep in the darkness.
IE: What are your daily affirmation rituals now that keep the darkness at bay?
DM: I get up early, thank God for my life, and I get on my knees and pray, “Do with me what You will, send me out into the world, and use me to accomplish Your will.” And I have Zoom early in the morning, maybe a 12-step meeting, and then I exercise my ass off, and I get that natural dopamine high, and I train, I do Muay Thai and martial arts, and I do yoga, and I just try my best.
Just like you, just like anyone else, I’m just doing my best. Because really, I was so selfish and vapid and anxious and scared and full of shame that I was not contributing anything to society, the planet, or the people. I was so sick, spiritually, because I was strung out on Xanax, coke, pills, alcohol that it’s amazing I’m not dead because I overdosed. Twice. This was in my twenties. So I can’t live that way anymore. My eyes have been opened, and once that seed has been planted? It’s really tough to go back. So I encourage anyone who’s thinking, “I need to change – I’m looking for something,” just to ask because you will receive. Knock, and the door will open – I promise you.
-Tom Lanham

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