“This tour was brought on by having a new record; and the record, well, the record was a weird fluke,” explains former Concrete Blonde singer/bassist Johnette Napolitano on the heels of a 25-city tour in support of her new solo album, Scarred.
Napolitano, who will play Indianapolis’ Radio Radio Oct. 9, is smack dab in the middle of a highly productive creative period that has peaked with the release of her artsy and epic new album. An album that, by the way, has been receiving some of the best reviews of 2007.
A true patron of the arts, Napolitano had independently released two discs — Sketchbook and Sketchbook, Vol. 2 — in the years since her days with Concrete Blonde, both on her own terms and very limited in quantity. Not until Napolitano’s longtime friend Will Crewdson sent her a few crude tracks did she seriously consider putting out a legit solo album. “[The tracks] were immediately so good that I knew we had to finish something,” she says. “There was no plan, just doing it and realizing that this was good music.”
Scarred could seamlessly spin circles in a five-disc player with any four albums from one of Napolitano’s greatest artistic offspring, P.J. Harvey. With lyrics made to quote, tattoo, repeat and live by (not to mention an ever-youthful voice that at once seems both strong and vulnerable), Napolitano dances over lush, modern/progressive backdrops with the confidence only a living legend can sell.
In addition to her solo work, Napolitano’s setlists will consist of select cuts from her Concrete Blonde days. “Those songs are every bit a part of me as anything I did just last night,” says Napolitano when asked about her former band. “I like to think I work on a balanced set of songs from every record, and four from the new one. It all flows pretty well.”
Ready for the road before going back to work on her various artistic endeavors (recording, writing, sculpture, etc.), Napolitano looks forward to returning to Indiana. “I can’t even remember the last time I played Indiana,” she says. “Touring is a strange state of being for me, but it syncs me up with the bigger picture. I like to see what’s going on out there.”
Johnette Napolitano, clearly, has aged like fine wine.