back to part I
antiMUSIC: When did you move out to
the desert? What is it about your surroundings there that made more sense
Johnette: LA was just getting so
crowded. I got tired of sitting in traffic. It's as simple as that. And
it was also becoming expensive. And I was thinking….I'm capable of thinking
20 years into the future and being able to see exactly how everything will
play out. And I was looking after some family members…financially and whatever….so
I was thinking how could I possibly sustain this in so many years. I don't
know what I can do. I was born in Hollywood and know very well that you
have to have a back-up plan. Desperate Housewives notwithstanding, this
business has not been kind when you're over 40. So I had taken the time
to learn ProTools and the technical end of things so I could continue doing
this because the way things were changing with technology and the Internet
and everything else. The record industry was changing and people were not
giving record deals to people in my position so I knew I was going to be
moving. I knew that I had to look for a place to live that was going to
be less stress-inducing, less crowded, just a better quality of life. So
I came out to the desert and I just fell in love with it. I have three
dogs and I couldn't find anywhere to live in LA with three dogs. There's
a definite magic vibe which is why people come out here. I have five acres
and my little wood stove and a little cabin and my dogs. I have my drums
and everything set up so that I can just wake up and play any time I want
to…any time of the night of day. I don't have to worry about anything.
My insurance dropped by a third. The cost of living was just crazy before.
I couldn't have done this 10 years ago because we didn't have the technology.
I mean now…I work on a track for two days and then I send it by satellite
to the composer and it's done. It's just amazing. I mean, I tried it before
in Mexico but I couldn't work. It just wasn't possible. Now it is. So it's
a really wonderful time. But I really love it out here. It gives me space
to hear myself think. I can just hear myself think. It's peace. And it's
healthy. I rescued two tortoises since I was here. And there are some beautiful
snakes and owls. It's just wonderful. Nature is a really healing thing
and I'm so lucky that I can live here and do my work. I still have a lot
of friends in LA so I go up sometimes to see them and eat in my favorite
restaurants. But then I get to come home. It's a good balance. I like LA.
I just don't like the traffic. There's just too many people.
antiMUSIC: What does 2006 and beyond
hold for Johnette Napolitano?
Johnette: I know very well that
I can make all the plans in the world and then something will come along
to get thrown at me. So I loosely plan out a year. I’m really introspective
around my birthday and New Year’s. I want to get a lot of music done this
year. And I want to get a book done this year. I meant to do that last
year but I’ve been a bit lazy about it. So I’m really working at that now.
I’m a reader and really admire good writing so I really don’t want to be
a bad writer so I’m really shy about it. But people seem to like it and
I have developed a straight-forward style and just tell stories. If I do
get a book out, I’ll be really happy with this year. I want to get this
other film done and I would like to do a tour on my own. Just get an acoustic
guitar and go out there with or without anybody else. But I like playing
that way. I like the statement it makes. I love flamenco and studied in
Spain this summer. I’ve been studying for many years but finally decided
to do a residency in Spain. To be abused every day in four classes…it was
But to me, what the country is going through
right now, I really feel like the statement I need to make right now is
one of minimalism. I need to go out there with an acoustic guitar and my
voice and just show the power that can be had there. I don’t want to be
part of a circus right now. I really don’t want to tour with an entourage
and do the hedonistic party thing. I just don’t feel like it’s appropriate
for me right now. I’m very concerned about the state of this country. I
really think that the medium with me this year…is going to be the message.
I want to get up, travel minimally. Take my stuff, get out and talk to
some people. When we went out right after the war started….the confrontations
were incredible. There were 18 year old marines…girls…coming up to me and
saying “I’ll never buy your records again.” And I said, “You know what?
Don’t. I don’t want you to buy my records. I care more about your kids
then you do.” And I’ve got to do it with actions and words. And I really
want to represent that this year. And present it with all the power and
emotion that I have. But I don’t really need the other stuff right now.
I mean, I’m not beating anybody over the head. I don’t think anybody needs
that really. That’s what I like so much about Flamenco. Most of it originally
was just about hands and feet and voice. And that was it. The closest you
have to flamenco in the United States is blues. And that’s the only American
music that Flamencos respect because it’s slave music and that’s what Flamenco
is; the music of oppressed gypsies and everything else back in the day.
So I really do appreciate that power and that legend of it. And I tell
you, Flamenco really gets it on. It makes me cry. It just blows my mind.
I’m just not really into the recreational use of electricity. It’s as simple
as that. It may sound really dramatic but it’s just what I would like to
convey right now. So I’m just hoping that we get through this period in
some sort of way that’s intact. I’m sure we will but we will because of
So I kind of want to move about on my own.
Also, my politics aren’t necessarily the same as Jim’s or Gabriel’s, or
the band’s. And I can’t really speak for them. So I would like to be on
my own and stand up and say what I want to say without having to be responsible
for other people.
antiMUSIC: Well, I could talk to you
all night…I mean that literally, but you’ve been so great with your time.
Thank you for talking with me. You’ve made my year and we’re only in January.
Johnette: (laughs) You’re really
kind. It was fun. Thank you so much.
antiMusic and Morley Seaver thank Johnette
for taking the time and wish her all the best with Sketchbook 2
the Johnette's homepage
the official Concrete Blonde site
and Purchase "Sketchbook Online
and Purchase Concrete Blonde Cds online
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