Pure Volume

There was this shampoo a Nashville hairdresser turned me on to about a dozen years ago: Pureology Pure Volume. Designed to  lift fine locks like mine, it was truly worth the exta money it cost, when I could find it. I hunted it down when I went to Nashville or New York and imported it to France when I moved there.

One time on tour I left a just-purchased bottle in a Days Inn bathroom outside of Rochester. I remembered a few hours down the road and called the front desk of the motel to plead with them to send it on to me in Chicago. “You don’t understand,” I practically cried over the phone. “I need this stuff…I’m – I’m an -ENTERTAINER!”

“Oh I know that brand quite well,” the desk clerk huffed. And then, a little too bitchily, proving his guilt: “Anyways, we don’t steal expensive shampoos here.” I could hear his hair thickening and lifting through the phone line; smell the botanicals. No Gideon bible ever changed a life quicker. Internet searching helped me find another bottle in a mall outside Wheeling.

When money was extra tight, I’d try and skimp with John Frieda or some drugstore brand but there was no comparison. Good hair equalled confidence – and Pureology equalled good hair.

I saw the writing on the wall when I learned the small company had been bought by L’Oreal. The packaging stayed the same but suddenly it was a lot easier to find. Still smelled the same, still worked.

Until – it didn’t. My hair turned to straw. It was agony getting ready for gigs and even worse, looking at photos people would post after the shows. I knew, but I searched the internet anyway to find confirmation they’d changed the formula. “HOW COULD YOU? BRING BACK PURE VOLUME ORIGINAL FORMULA!!” mild hysteria registered on beauty forums (yes there are such places).

L’Oreal buckled. For a while they reinstated the old formula, calling it condescendingly  the“Extra Care” version. Until a couple months ago, when they stopped. The website says Extra Care is Discontinued. How could they? I have a new album to promote!

This is how it is then. I will soldier on.

I lost a piece of my nose a few weeks ago. It’s the second time I’ve had to have Mohs surgery for skin cancer, and in terms of symmetry maybe it’s best – left side, then right side. The doctor’s office was full of eighty year olds who all seemed to know each other from previous surgeries. Oh great, I thought. Do I have to join this club? Will I be back, again and again, to this (very competent) doctor’s office across the street from a bagel place in Fishkill? I texted my brother Patrick, who’s been through a Mohs procedure or two of his own. He texted back, “On my way in for Mohs today,” he wrote.

We went back and forth all morning, sending each other pictures of our bandaged faces. They got us both pretty good, worse than expected. It always is, I think. They downplay the procedure – “you can return to work in the afternoon!” Yeah, right. Not until I curl up trembling into a ball for a few days. The discomfort and distress had me way down. I mean hair products are something I have a little control over (not enough though: “BRING BACK PURE VOLUME RECHRISTENED EXTRA CARE FORMULA – NOW!”) but these little bits of ourselves that get chipped away, what can you do? At a low point I picked up my guitar and played and sang and it was like a miracle:  pure volume for the soul. I was myself again.

All as a roundabout buildup to promoting my new album. I’m excited and proud and thankful to Eric who really pulled me through the studio process. It took a while but it feels like it all fits together. And with limp hair and battered nose, I  look forward to getting out there and playing for people and having a chance to do something I really love to do. It’s too late to stop now.

You can pre-order The Old Guys here.  Tour dates below with more to come soon

tour post



14 thoughts on “Pure Volume

  1. Steven Manning

    Amy, just pre-ordered the LP. It’s been a joy and privilege to hear you previewing and singing you’re new songs over the past two years and to have had the opportunity to talk to you about the record’s progress. And yes, I too have had my very own Moh’s (and post procedure ball curling day or two). I fully expect you’ll find a way to get a song out the experience…Looking forward to seeing you at El Cortez.

  2. Charlie Bent-Marshall

    Hi Amy

    Sorry to hear you have suffered an MOH, glad you are OK though.
    May have to have a similar procedure soon.
    Have just purchased tickets for Leicester UK.
    Looking forward to seeing the show, and your hair.
    Best wishes to you and Eric.

    1. amyrigby

      Thanks Charlie! A wonderful friend in Canada just tracked down some of the special discontiinued formula, so now I’ll have no excuse! See you in Leicester.

  3. Clyde Kaplan

    Have you heard Al Kooper’s song, “Going, Going Gone” on his Black Coffee record? It’s about things you love that aren’t there anymore. In his case, it’s a pair of boots. “Al, they don’t make any boots like that no more.”

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