Saturday, December 27, 2008

When I Grow Up

It was November 1992 when Chris and I were driving to Killington in his Jeep for some early-season skiing. The Lemonheads “It’s a Shame about Ray” had become a hit that fall with their cover of “Mrs Robinson”. On the way home, after a few beers; Chris, in his warm, Texas drawl started singing “there’s still some of the same stuff we got yesterday…” over Evan and Juliana. And so it was through Chris’ atonal mashup of “My Drug Buddy” that I discovered Juliana Hatfield.

I quickly discovered the Blake Babies– I had probably heard them on WFNX in the late 80s. And with “Hey Babe” and “Become What You Are” I was hooked. Juliana’s music would be the soundtrack to many 90s summer weeks on Hunter Cove in Rangeley. Well Juliana, PJ Harvey, and The Golden Palominos. Through the 90’s I made it to perhaps six JH gigs. Most memorable: 1995 at Avalon with Jeff Buckley opening.

For well over a decade Juliana’s music has been a catalyst for reaching my emotions. Sometimes pleasantly painful, like listening to her early 90’s work when I’m just pissed at Chris for being dead. Sometimes deep, like the riff at the end of “Ten Foot Pole”, which to me, is the quintessential, instantly-identifiable JH guitar vibe. Sometimes pissed-off – why didn’t Gods Foot get released? And how do I fix that?

Juliana’s memoir “When I Grow Up” was an enjoyable, illuminating read. The cadence of the book is not unlike a Beckett play; especially if you have some suspicions on how things might turn out… or not. Keep going!

Juliana (Manchester, NH - May 12, 2000)

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