Juliana Hatfield - Biography
As was the case with many youthful alternative rockers of the early 90’s, Juliana Hatfield’s career kicked off with near limitless potential only to wane shortly thereafter. Emotionally forthright, edgily beautiful, and always packed with a truck load of power pop hooks, Hatfield was ripe for the international hype machine as early 90’s alternative music exploded into the mainstream. Unfortunately, there were probably more people who knew Hatfield’s name and face than knew her actual music. Twenty years on Hatfield has become a seasoned music industry combat veteran who has weathered a rollercoaster career. Yet she has remained steadfastly prolific while navigating a snakelike career spanning power pop, late night acoustic folk, and screaming avant-noise compositions.
The child of a fashion editor mother and a medical doctor father, Hatfield was born on July 27, 1967 and raised in Massachusetts. After graduating from high school, she attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston where she formed the Blake Babies in 1986 with drummer Frida Boner and guitarist John Strohm. After three critically acclaimed alt-pop albums together, Hatfield dissolved the Blake Babies and joined fellow Boston based band, The Lemonheads, serving as the bass player on their smash hit full length, It’s A Shame About Ray (1992 Atlantic). That same year, she release her solo debut, Hey Babe (1992 Mammoth Records) but it was her sophomore effort, Become What You Are (1993 Mammoth Records) that put Hatfield on the fast track to alternative super stardom (alongside Lemonhead heart throb Evan Dando), unleashing the hit singles “My Sister” and “Spin the Bottle”.
Instead of being her mainstream crossover album, Only Everything (1994 Mammoth), received a lukewarm welcome from both fans and critics. The paltry sales and lackluster reviews were only the beginning of Hatfield’s troubles, with her label then refusing to release her fourth full length God’s Foot, which still hasn’t been released. Undaunted, Hatfield recorded her next album, Bed (1998 Zoe), in just three days, signaling the beginning of a more daring DIY aesthetic that would come to dominated the majority of her future releases. Hatfield released two albums simultaneously in 2000, the delicate alt-pop of Beautiful Creatures (Rock Records) and the heavy noise rocker Total System Failure (Zoe).
The new millennium saw Hatfield reunite the Blake Babies long enough to release just one more album, God Bless the Blake Babies (2001 Zoe), before once again parting ways. Blake Baby drummer Frida Boner, former Pieces bassist Heidi Gluck, and Hatfield formed a new band called Some Girls, which Hatfield would remain a member of while also releasing solo albums. Hatfield’s next solo endeavor, the slashing avant-noise pop of In Exile Deo (2004 Zoe) showcased a master sonic craftsman at the top of her game and garnered enthusiastic critical praise. Her creative streak continued with Made In China (2005), released on her own label, Ye Olde Records. How I Walk Away (2008 Ye Olde Records) was released with a companion autobiography, When I Grow Up: A Memoir. Hatfield is slated to release her tenth official solo album, Peace and Love (Ye Olde Records) in 2010.