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It shouldn’t come as much of a shock that last night’s Juliana & Evan show at Mercury Lounge, the second in a two-night stint, was a bit more like therapy than a straight reunion. Anyone who has followed the career of these two ’90s alterna-babes knows that their relationship has always been tumultuous and somewhat undefined, at least in the public eye. Rumors about their relationship have persisted for more than two decades; here, they at least tried to lay them to rest.

“This is explicitly about having sex with you,” Dando mumbled, prefacing the hit “It’s About Time.”

Continue reading at Sound of the City.

TONIGHT

Tangents and the Times throwdown at Bruar Falls with Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, La Big Vic, Sweet Bulbs, 8

The Babies (sans Cassie), Grass Widow, Ovens, Web Dating, Red Romans at Monster Island Basement, 8ish

Teenage Fanclub, The Clean, Radar Brothers at Bowery Ballroom, 8

Forgetters, Shellshag at Death by Audio, 8ish

El Guincho, Lemonade at Mercury Lounge, 8ish

WEDNESDAY

Juliana & Evan (Hatfield & Dando), The Shining Twins at Mercury Lounge, 9:30 (also Thursday with Candles)

The Great Valley, Procedure Club, DDIILLIIAANN, In Buenos Aires, Philip Seymour Hoffman at Shea Stadium, 8ish

THURSDAY

Autre Ne Veut, Zambri at Cameo Gallery, 8ish

Belle & Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub at Williamsburg Waterfront, 7ish

FRIDAY

Human Resources, Gunfight, I’m Turning Into, Slow Animal, Easter Vomit at Don Pedro, 8ish

SATURDAY

Mirah ( all-star band), Tami Hart, “Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot-Grrl Revolution” Book Release Party at Bruar Falls, 8ish

SUNDAY

Casiokids, Brahms, Bikini, VonChina at Glasslands, 8ish

MONDAY

GAYNGS, Glasser at Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8

The Evan Dando/ Juliana Hatfield shows are shaping up to be the most exciting events in the coming weeks… talk about 90s nostalgia!! This is the real deal. There would be no Weezer were it not for Juliana and Evan. Maybe…

In celebration of the shows, Sept. 29 and 30 (SOLD OUT) at Mercury Lounge, a couple of tracks with exquisite harmonies have been made available… “Drug Buddy” (remastered), off 1992’s “It’s a Shame About Ray” is available below, and “Waiting for Heaven” off 2001’s “God Bless the Blake Babies,” here.

The Lemonheads: Drug Buddy (remastered)

Juliana shares  “In the past when I worked with Evan it was always in a strictly auxiliary capacity – backup singing, bass playing – but now that we will be on equal footing I think we could do a lot of damage. I’ve always thought that Evan was an underrated songwriter…..his good looks and antiestablishment attitude have overshadowed his skills.”  And, Evan reminisces “Juliana and I first met and started playing music together when we were 19. Since then Juliana has only gotten better and better. Now it’s like playing with someone I’m a huge fan of and totally revere.”

Juliana Hatfield and Evan Dando. In the 90s those names couldn’t be mentioned without someone asking if the king and queen of alternative rock were a couple. While they did share at least a kiss, which Hatfield mentioned in passing in her 2008 memoir, How To Walk Away, at the time the rumors were vehemently denied. This past Spring, Hatfield mentioned Dando again, this time on her newest album, in a song called “Evan.”

The lyric: “Evan, I just love you I guess.”

And now, Hatfield and Dando are playing at least two shows together, one in their hometown of Boston and the other at NYC’s Mercury Lounge on September 30. On Hatfield’s website it reads, “playing and singing together.” Can I get a collective “YESSSS!”

According to Hatfield’s publicist, Bobbie Gale, after these shows others may be considered. Playing together was something Hatfield and Dando had been discussing, and it “ended up happening.”

Why on earth the two would come together again? The only exception to their chilling relationship over the past 15 or so years was in 2003 when Hatfield toured with Dando as his bassist. Her performance was widely regarded as uninspired. During some shows (including the one I attended at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill club) she leaned against a wall or sat on the floor.

Regardless, these “Juliana and Evan” shows are going to be incredible. At the very least, for their historical significance.

Jonathan Stark

Juliana Hatfield is a rock, a stable and ever-present island. Even though she says she’s “never been completely anywhere,” in the song “Evan,” from her new album, for me, she is as close to a constant as a star.

“Peace And Love” is out today. Completely recorded and produced by Hatfield herself, this is Juliana stripped down and vulnerable. There is sadness all over the tracks…and it’s just, well, really sad. But that’s what Juliana Hatfield does for her fans. She puts herself on the line. Her music allows one to contemplate the depth of her sadness, and to compare their own to hers.

This song, “Evan,” is about Evan Dando, her longtime friend, collaborator, lover, and source of much confusion, heartache and pain. In a way, this song can wipe the slate clean regarding their relationship. Though Hatfield has answered questions for 20 years regarding the alternative “it” couple of the 90s, this song puts it plainly. There is no need for any more questions.

“Evan, I just love you, I guess.”

Stream the track below. Get the album here.

Milo Goes to College is an album some might consider seminal. I think for early to mid 90s “alternative” rockers the Descendents were probably looked upon very fondly. So it’s no surprise that Juliana Hatfield covered “Hope,” one of the band’s more recognizable songs. Here she is doing it live in Toronto in 1996 with Mikey Welsh and Todd Phillips.

Juliana Hatfield has a rare gift. A birdlike and very female voice, and a punk-rock attitude. She doesn’t try to sound different, she just goes with what she has. This cover has a power to it that is remarkable for just those reasons. Check the original below it.

Juliana Hatfield: Hope

Oh, and remember this? From one of the GREAT films of the 90s, “Pump up the Volume.”

Photo by Joseph Seiders

I’m a big fan of this pretty voiced, guitar ripping, Massachusetts songstress. Juliana Hatfield‘s career is seemingly never ending, and it’s been wildly entertaining to follow. She also just writes the most gut wrenching and perfectly simplistic songs.

The best thing about Hatfield is she really feels things. When bad things happen she is affected and writes about it. And she broadcasts it too. Ever read her twitter??

Hatfield’s last album, How To Walk Away, was a disaster in my mind. The songs were okay but they suffered a great deal under heavy handed production that tried to make them poppy. But that’s Juliana for you. She talked a lot about Kelly Clarkson during those years. She tried things, she changes herself. Anyone remember Made In China from 2005? That was a rip roaring and distorted, messy and almost anarchic album. This next album, Peace and Love, due out on February 16, is Juliana stripped down.

I can’t wait.

Also, for all you Lemonheads fans and gossip mongers there’s a track on there called “Evan” that is going to directly address their long standing and complicated relationship. Some songs are on her Myspace and on her Daytrotter Session.

BONUS: Live Recording from Hatfield’s concert at the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, MA, Aug. 5, 2005. Recording by Bill B.

Juliana Hatfield: Dame With A Rod

John P. Strohm is an example of what happens when you stay positive, you make the best with what you’ve got, you give it your all. Strohm’s first band was Blake Babies, straight outta Boston, 1986, Juliana Hatfield. The band had some minor success and Hatfield went on to stardom. Strohm kept making music and eventually became an entertainment lawyer. He’s a happy man, with positive outlooks for artists AND the music industry. Pretty impressive. Strohm is also still a rootsy musician. Keep reading for juicy tidbits from the Lemonheads years, why licensing is not a bad thing, details on inspiration for songs and mp3s.

You’ve had an interesting career. How did you decide to become an entertainment lawyer?
When the Lemonheads broke up in 1997 I didn’t really have a way to make a living. I’d ended my nearly ten-year run under contract with Mammoth, and my prospects were not very good. Nevertheless, I decided to make one more record in an attempt to establish a career as a solo artist. I decided if the record did not establish a career, I would go back to college and figure out what else I could do.

I made the album Vestavia, which I feel is the best record of my own music by far, but obviously it didn’t end up a career-making record. It received some very nice press and I toured the U.S. and Europe, but by 1999 I was back in school full-time. I was sort of in a crisis time because I really had no idea what I could do other than music. I wanted to find a way to work with musicians, but I really didn’t have a plan. Then I did really well in school, which opened doors. I decided almost on a whim to apply to law school.

I’d noted that lawyers in the music industry have a pretty sweet deal. Lawyers are usually independent of the major labels and publishers, and they get to be involved with a lot of different careers. I hated the idea of working for a major label because I had mostly negative feelings about those companies. My main ambition was to find a way to make a living, but I also really wanted to find a way to help artists in their careers without having to work for a record company.

I went to work for a firm in Birmingham out of school by choice, and I’ve remained in town ever since. Since there are no entertainment lawyers here to speak of, I was really on my own to build a practice. My firm’s been very supportive of my fledgling practice. Some of my clients are quite successful – more successful than I ever was – and some are brilliant but obscure. I feel it’s turned out really well; I wouldn’t have seen myself doing what I do back when I played music full-time, but it’s a really good fit for me.

What’s your role in the Future of Music Coalition?
I started going to the Policy Summit when I was still in law school, on a musician scholarship. Since then I’ve gotten to know most of the people on the board, particularly Michael Bracy, the co-founder and policy director. I’ve done a bit of transactional work for FMC, but mostly I’m just an avid supporter and a member of their advisory board. I’m doing a panel at the Policy Summit next month, which is a huge thrill. It’s a real honor and privilege to be involved and to participate in the policy discussions. It’s such a challenging yet incredible time for this industry.

How do you feel about the music industry in terms of file sharing? Do you believe it’s good for bands to give away their music for free?
Since I’m essentially a copyright lawyer and I represent copyright owners and rights-holders, I take a dim view on unauthorized copying. But having said that, I think we’re in a time of transition right now, and obviously the old way of looking at the sale of recordings as the core of the industry is over. I don’t think so-called file sharing will be an issue for very long, because as I’ve believed for most of this decade I think we’re quickly moving towards a new paradigm where ownership will be mostly irrelevant. It should be amazing for the music fans, because we’ll legally have access to all music (and all entertainment product) all the time; the issues that need to be settled are how to charge for the access and how to pay the rights-holders.

I’ve observed that people – even prolific file sharers – will pay for music if it’s cheap and easy. Some won’t pay under any circumstances, but of course some people will shoplift CDs as well. What most people won’t do at this point is drive to a store and drop seventeen dollars on a CD – that represents the greedy, outmoded model of scarcity that led to bloated profits for the majors. Once the major companies realize that’s over and fully embrace the new paradigm, and once all of the parties get together and devise a system to pay the owners and creators, the industry will be healthier than ever for the long haul. Music is more popular than ever- all of the issues arise as a result of the problem of competing with “free.”

That said, free has worked quite well recently for all sorts of artists (including some of my clients), and I have absolutely no problem with artists giving away their music, assuming they control all of the rights. Most artists don’t make their money from selling recordings and never have, so it makes sense to use the recordings as a loss leader to generate interest and increase other revenue streams, such as live concerts, merchandise, and licensing income.

What about the idea that once you sign on with a company and represent a product, you’ve lost your authenticity? What about the claim that art should be for arts sake and not to sell products??
That was the prevailing school of thought among “indie” musicians back in the 80s and early 90s. Over the late ’90s and into the new century that specific branch of indie purism has fallen away somewhat as many musicians and fans now accept that musicians must have a way to underwrite their “art,” and licensing money is more readily available than, say, profits from touring and artist royalties. Also, in contrast to labels, licensees don’t generally exert any creative control over the actual music.

I typically choose to remain silent on the topic, because I represent different musicians whose attitudes differ wildly. It’s not my place as an artists’ attorney to express attitudes about authenticity, but rather to help my clients make a living. Some of my clients have found that certain types of placements piss off their fans, so the market really sort of reigns in what they can get away with to an extent. I consider ALL of my creative clients to primarily be artists, and my role (in addition to protecting property and risk management) is to help them find a way to make their art work in streams of commerce. And, for the record, I generally agree that on balance media licensing is a great thing for creative musicians because it helps them to stay truly independent and make a living.

The whole quest for authenticity is tricky, because a lot of the music that most everybody considers authentic (such as early 20th Century blues and hillbilly music) was primarily commercial music in its time. Popular music is necessarly in commerce, and it’s difficult to pinpoint which sorts of commerce are appropriate and which are not. If you contrast indie music with, say, commercial country, the big difference is that indie is art first, commerce second, whereas commercial country is pretty much all commerce.

Click here for more and mp3s

While Paste’s brief bit makes it sound like it’s been awhile since JH has put anything out (not true, she generally puts an album out every year and last year released an autobiography as well), the story does reveal two bits of info that are of GREAT interest. 1. It’s going to be “more acoustic- based.” 2. A song named after Evan Dando will be on it. Oh shit. Her book, “When I Grew Up” revealed a lot about Hatfield’s past, including her past with Dando, will this song go even further?

Her most recent album, How to Walk Away was a little light for me. Here’s hoping this new record will be more biting. I think it will be. I follow Hatfield on Twitter and she is very, very open about her life and feelings. Her dog was recently hit by a car, for one thing.

The album is called Love and Peace and is out Jan. 12 on Hatfield’s own Ye Olde Records.

Pic by mat mat mat

Pic by mat mat mat, JH3, Manchester Academy, 1993

“Tell me something I really wanna know. Take me somewhere I really wanna go. Introduce me to someone really cool. Not another crazy fool.”

She said it. In the simplest terms possible Hatfield says she needs stimulation. She can’t live life bored. She just wants to be entertained. Just like….Nirvana? “Here we are now, entertain us!”

This is a typical 90s slacker theme that you won’t find in much of today’s music. Times were better then and so rock music rebelled against complacency. In these times we’re not rebelling against complacency- we’re struggling to be different in a much bigger and more accessible world.

Wow, it’s always J.H. that makes me like this.

The Juliana Hatfield Three: Feelin’ Massachusetts

The Juliana Hatfield Three: Feelin’ Massachusetts

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