Johnette Napolitano

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Johnette Napolitano
Birth nameJonette L. Napolitano[1]
Born (1957-09-22) September 22, 1957 (age 63)
OriginHollywood, United States
GenresAlternative rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsBass guitar, vocals
Years active1982–present
LabelsHybrid Recordings, Warner Bros.[2]
Associated actsDream 6, Vowel Movement, Pretty & Twisted, Concrete Blonde

Johnette Napolitano (born September 22, 1957, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California) is an American singer, songwriter and bassist best known as the lead vocalist/songwriter and bassist for the alternative rock group Concrete Blonde.[3]

Early life[edit]

There were five children in her family growing up.[4] Her parents recognized early that she had talent, possibly when they and she watched "The Wizard of Oz," and then she went to the piano and picked out "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" note for note.[5] Her mother loved show tunes.[5] The family also listened to Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, and the Rat Pack.[5] At age five she enrolled in a gifted kids art program at UCLA.[6]

When Concrete Blonde first started, she found it difficult to sing and play bass simultaneously.[citation needed]

Co-founding and tenure with Concrete Blonde[edit]

See article on Concrete Blonde. For Concrete Blonde discography, see Concrete Blonde#Discography (within full article on Concrete Blonde)

Solo career[edit]

She has also recorded as a solo artist, with the albums Sketchbook (2002), Sketchbook 2 (2006), Scarred (2007), and Sketchbook 3 (2010), and as a member of:

  • Dream 6 (a precursor to Concrete Blonde).
  • Vowel Movement, a side project; a semi-improvisational musical collaboration with Holly Beth Vincent.
  • Pretty & Twisted, a side project; a band that also featured former Wall of Voodoo guitarist Marc Moreland.
  • Lead singer for the album tour for The Heads, the re-formed Talking Heads' project, with Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. She is featured on the 1996 album No Talking, Just Head. This was, at the time, intended to turn into a full-time project, with further studio albums and tours. A live CD-video of the first tour was planned, featuring performances from many of the album's guest artists and Napolitano on vocals for the songs originally recorded by Talking Heads. David Byrne sued the band, saying their name and presentation was too evocative of Talking Heads, and put an end to those plans.[citation needed]
  • Napolitano also recorded a solo album titled Sound of a Woman around 1996–1997, and performed many of the songs on a solo tour opening for Paul Weller.[7] The album was set to be released on IRS (a subdivision of Island Records), the label of her old band, Concrete Blonde. 1997–1998 was a bad time for Island, starting with the sudden departure of founder-CEO Chris Blackwell and ending with the total reorganization of the label. Sound of a Woman was, effectively, lost in the shuffle, and at this point is unlikely to ever be officially released. Bootleg copies of this album are rare and highly valued.[citation needed]

Napolitano is a resident of Joshua Tree, California.[8] She composes music for films and works as a gallery artist, specializing in working with discarded and reclaimed materials. She also takes care of rescue horses.[9]

Non-Concrete Blonde discography[edit]

  • Johnette Napolitano and Holly Vincent Vowel Movement (1995, Mammoth Records)
  • Pretty & Twisted (1995, Warner Bros. Records)
  • Sketchbook (2002, independently released)
  • Johnette Napolitano and Buzz Gamble "Cheap Tequila" single (2004, independently released)
  • Sketchbook 2 (2005, independently released)
  • Scarred (2007, Hybrid Recordings)
  • Sketchbook 3 (2009, Happy Hermit/independently released)
  • "Naked" EP (2015, independently released)
  • "The Naked Album" (2015, independently released)

Other projects[edit]

She has contributed music to many films, including the 2006 Australian film Candy, and "Suicide Note" from Underworld. The following films and TV programmes also feature songs performed by Concrete Blonde:


  • Dead Silence (2007) ("Who's Holding You Now?")
  • Candy (2006) ("Wedding Theme From Candy")
  • The Third Watch (2004) (Season 5, Episode 17)
  • The Sopranos – "Nobody Knows Anything" (1999) ("Highs Are Too High")
  • Foxfire (1996) ("Dancing Barefoot")
  • The Basketball Diaries (1995) ("Dancing Barefoot")


  • West (2007)
  • Pep Squad (1998)


  • Cry Radio (1998) – Narrator

In 1996, Napolitano produced an album by Australian group In Vivo.

Napolitano collaborated with Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Black Light Burns) on the horror film Dead Silence. The pair had successfully collaborated previously for the films Underworld and Wicker Park.

Napolitano contributed vocals to an album by John Trudell, and performs backing vocals in "Struck a Nerve" by Bad Religion on the Recipe For Hate album.

Napolitano performed the main vocals on the score of the Australian film West, written and directed by Daniel Krige. She also sang the title song, "Falling in Love".

Napolitano also performed the duet "My Little Problem" with Paul Westerberg on The Replacements "All Shook Down" release.

Napolitano provided vocals on the track "I Am Where it Takes Me" by metal band Black Light Burns.

Napolitano is credited as co-writer of the Ashes Divide song "Too Late".

Napolitano wrote and sang, with Steve Wynn, the song "Conspiracy of the Heart" included in the Steve Wynn's album Kerosene Man (1990).

Pretty and Twisted[edit]

Johnette Napolitano joined Marc Moreland and Danny Montgomery to form Pretty & Twisted in 1995.[10] Their self-titled debut, Pretty & Twisted, was produced by Napolitano and released on Warner Brother Records, Inc.

The track listing for the album was:

  1. "The Highs Are Too High" – 6:10
  2. "Mother of Pearl" – 5:05 (Bryan Ferry)
  3. "Souvenir" – 5:09
  4. "No Daddy No" – 4:34
  5. "iRide!" – 3:40
  6. "Train Song (Edge of Desperation)" – 6:30
  7. "Stranger" – 2:59 (Paul Westerberg, Johnette Napolitano)
  8. "Singing is Fire" – 3:11 (Lyrics by Charles Bukowski)
  9. "Don't Take Me Down" – 4:37
  10. "Come Away With Me" – 5:55 (words: Janis Joplin, music: Johnette Napolitano)
  11. "Dear Marlon Brando" – 3:30
  12. "Billy" – 3:39
  13. "Watching the Water" – 4:17


Napolitano's solo album Scarred was released on May 28, 2007, on the label Hybrid Recordings.

Scarred track list

  1. "Amazing" – 4:08
  2. "The Scientist" – (Coldplay cover, with Danny Lohner) – 5:07
  3. "Scarred" – 4:09
  4. "Poem for the Native" – 5:19
  5. "My Diane" – 5:01
  6. "Just Like Time" – 4:41
  7. "Save Me" – 3:19
  8. "Like a Wave" – 4:41
  9. "Crazy Tonight" – 5:26
  10. "Everything for Everyone" – 4:56
  11. "All Tomorrow's Parties" – (The Velvet Underground cover) – 3:40
  12. "I'm Up Here" – 4:27


  1. ^ "Family Tree Legends". Family Tree Legends. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  2. ^ . October 27, 2009 Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Amy Linden (September 1990). Concrete Blonde's Ambition – Concrete Blonde leaves a little blood on the tracks. Spin. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
  4. ^ "A Blonde Who Had Less Fun : Pop music: Johnette Napolitano tells why she walked out of the successful Concrete Blonde. Her new band, Pretty & Twisted, plays the Galaxy in Santa Ana on Saturday". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 1995. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Sanchez, Esther (August 13, 2015). "Johnette Napolitano". Coachella Valley Weekly. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  6. ^ "The art history of Johnette Napolitano is a 'Rough Mix'". Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  7. ^ "Songkick listing". Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  8. ^ Aila Slisco (January 17, 2009). "Interview: Johnette Napolitano". Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  9. ^ Johnny Price (December 18, 2012). "INTERVIEW: CONCRETE BLONDE". RockRevolt Magazine™.
  10. ^ Craig Rosen (July 15, 1995). "Napolitano Makes Warner Her Pretty & Twisted Nest". Billboard. Retrieved August 20, 2010.