Submitted by Ed Condran — Correspondent
Characters in rock are dwindling. Yet Concrete Blonde vocalist-bassist Johnette Napolitano is indeed a character.
The charismatic figure is calling from her home in the California desert, which is on 5 acres and two hours from her prior residence, Hollywood. When Napolitano isnt on tour or recording, shes happily tending to her goats and horses in her remote location.
I really love it here, she says. Im in a great space. If I need to go to Los Angeles, I can get there from here but this is home. I didnt have to live in Hollywood my whole life.
Besides goat tending, the quirky bard does psychic readings and toils as a medium. Its a gift Ive had since I was 2 years old, Napolitano says. I hear and see things and much of that inspires my music. Not everybody has this gift but its something Im very thankful for.
The colorful rocker, who also has traveled to Morocco to study flamenco guitar, is adept at crafting moody, brooding, gloomy pop-rock. Concrete Blonde, which will perform Tuesday at Cats Cradle, has a deep and dark canon to explore.
1990s Bloodletting, which includes the bands biggest hit, the melancholy Joey, the gorgeous Caroline and the stylish title track, is the bands high watermark. But 1993s Mexican Moon, 2002s Group Therapy and 2004s Mojave are each filled with solid, catchy, well-constructed songs.
That the cuts work so well, is partly due to Napolitanos clarion call of a voice and passion. I have so much fun every time I go onstage, she says. It doesnt matter whether I play new stuff or God is a Bullet. I can play that song unconscious and I have.
She punctuates that sentence with a loud, hearty laugh. The giddiness continues when she talks about the bands two new singles, Rosali and I Know The Ghost.
I loved making the new ones, Napolitano says. Why go back and just play the older songs? Its 2012 and Im still vital. Part of what Im doing is bringing everybody up to speed.
Concrete Blonde, which also includes longtime guitarist James Mankey and drummer Gabriel Ramirez, is returning to the East Coast just before Christmas. Thats a great time to be playing that part of the country, Napolitano says. Everyone is in a great mood. Theyre receptive to good times and thats what well provide.
We havent been around there in awhile. Itll feel fresh. Well go all out like we always have when we hit the stage.