Photo by David Doobinin
Juliana Hatfield performs at Rumba Cafe with special guest On Being An Angel (duo) on Friday, October 6. Doors are at 5pm, music starts at 6pm. Tickets are $25
Where does the time go? It’s hard to believe that Juliana Hatfield has been releasing music and touring for (just barely) over 30 years. I like to think of all of us in that age range as mature and well-seasoned, certainly not old although the targeted ads on social media for the “I Might Be Old But I Got to See All the Cool Bands” t-shirt feels more and more true with every passing year.
While radio may be stuck playing the same handful of songs as they did in the mid-90s (namely “My Sister” and “Spin the Bottle”), Juliana’s had a steady recording career, releasing (if I’m counting correctly) nineteen albums with the twentieth – an album of ELO covers – due out November 17. It was something we talked about when I interviewed Juliana for a Big Takeover magazine feature in the spring of 2021.
“I don’t really think about it but people lately really try to remind me of how many albums I’ve made. I lost track of the count but every time I make a record, the record company guys want me to say, “Oh, the next one, Blood, is my nineteenth solo album, not including all the collaborations,” and I’m like, “Oh, is it really? Okay. Sure, we can tell people that.” I realize that people think that’s a lot but I just compare myself to people who have “real jobs” or people who are working a minimum of 40 hours a week and, when I’m not on tour, I don’t work that many hours a week. I guess you could say that the artist’s life, everything is work. Ideas are always germinating and I’m always working on stuff throughout every day, but it’s not like 8 hours chunks usually. I feel lazy, actually. My last album came out at the end of 2019 and I hate missing a year. I missed 2020 because of being shutdown. I like doing an album a year, I just made the edge of 2021.”
At this point in her career, Juliana no longer has the desire – or need – to hop in a van and crisscross the country for months at a time. I suspect the touring she’s doing now is for fun and to get out of the house. Last December, she played bass on the Lemonheads It’s a Shame About Ray album tour and has picked up one-off shows in the last year with artists like Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo) and the Gin Blossoms. Starting this week, she’ll be doing a solo/electric Midwest run starting on Wednesday in Pittsburgh and ending October 15 in New York City. On Friday, October 6, Juliana makes a return visit to Columbus for a special Happy Hour show at Rumba Cafe with support from On Being An Angel (check back soon for an interview with singer Paige Applin).
With 20 albums to choose from, it’ll be interesting to see what songs Juliana has planned for Columbus. It’s wouldn’t be a huge surprise if she pulls some material from the two cover albums (Olivia Newtown-John, The Police) that have already been released as well as the forthcoming ELO cover album. No matter what the setlist comprises, it’ll be an honor to see a legendary performer grace the stage for an early show and for all of those (us?) feeling our age, you’ll be home before the 10pm news!