Volume 91, Issue 46

Wednesday, November 19, 1997



Juliana's wearing a different hat

©Jim Goldberg/Bar None
LEAVE ME ALONE! Juliana Hatfield brings her gender-neutral rock to The NAC tonight, along with London's Scratching Post and special guests Mysteries of Life.?

By Lisa Weaver
Gazette Staff

"It's not a sellout if nobody buys it. I can't complain if nobody likes it."

Juliana Hatfield has been "largely ignored" as she puts it, by the same music industry which tends to characterize her as one of the forerunners of female alterna-rock. She does, however, have a lot to say about the current state of the modern music industry, after taking a lengthy break before producing her latest EP, Please Do Not Disturb.

The first song from the album, "Sellout," deals with a common occurrence among new bands.

"I'm just talking about people who make an effort to reach a large audience, but in the process they sort of deny their true selves," explains Hatfield. "But it backfires, no one buys it. It's about people who try and sell out, but it doesn't work and they end up with less than they had before – and they end up looking like idiots."

Hatfield spent two years away from the music industry before recording Please Do Not Disturb and the EP's title reflects this. "I retreated a little bit from the music industry, spent a lot of time just writing and recording stuff just for myself."

The EP was recorded on the label Bar/None, which is a move from Hatfield's previous work with Mammoth Records. She explains, however, that Bar/None is just a temporary site for her. The reasons for the change cause Hatfield to wax philosophical.

"It's just like sometimes you realize that a relationship has just come to an end, that both parties need to move on," she muses. "That was what it was – it was just time to move on."

Hatfield also notes a full-length album is in the works. "I don't know if this EP is representative of the album." She realizes her work is moving in a new direction. "It's different than the last album, Only Everything, in that the guitars aren't all so loud and distorted. It's probably more laid back, but it's more interesting because there's more going on, more experimentation with different kinds of instruments. There are some strings and a lot of weird keyboards."

Hatfield is always looking ahead to her next project. "I'd like to have a band on the side," she muses, adding "I think it would be much more heavy."

Hatfield and her band were part of Sarah McLaughlan's Lilith Fair on the East coast in August and although they felt it was a good experience, they weren't comfortable with the venue. "I felt like an outcast," admits Hatfield. "I definitely felt like we didn't belong there. There weren't a lot of bands 'with an edge' – messy, angry people."

She doesn't, however, want to condemn the idea of a women's music festival. "It was all very serene and that was fine, that's what it was. I'm not against it and it never claimed to be anything it wasn't. I don't have a problem with it really."

Hatfield does have a problem, however, with the portrayal of women's music in the media. Her show tonight at The NAC has been billed as a "Girl's Nite Out" due, presumably, to the fact all of the bands involved feature female musicians. She was obviously unaware of how it was promoted. "I think that's really obnoxious, and that really pisses me off," she rants.

But Hatfield has been in the music business a long time and realizes the way the world works. "You know, that's just typical, and it's never going to change. I don't want to waste my energy being mad." Hatfield is in agreement with most other female musicians in the rock industry. "I don't want to be included in the discussion of 'women in rock'," she insists. "I like it more when people compare me to the greats of rock 'n' roll, whoever they may be – male or female – rather than lump me into a category because of my gender. That's just obnoxious."

Hatfield agrees the title should be simply 'musicians,' not 'female musicians,' but also realizes that it will probably never happen. She wants people to know there are two men in her supporting band.

"My band is not an all-girl band," she says. "However, the posters might lead people astray." She finds the whole thing a bit silly. In the words of Juliana Hatfield – "it's obnoxious!"

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997