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.
She has also recorded as a solo artist, with the albums Sketchbook (2002), Sketchbook 2 (2006), Scarred (2007), 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 & Johnette 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.
- Johnette 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 Westerberg. 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.
Johnette is currently a resident of Joshua Tree, California. 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.
Non-Concrete Blonde discography
- 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)
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:
- Beavis and Butt-Head (1993) (TV) – “Blood Drive” episode
- Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990) (TV) – “One Man and a Baby” episode
- Girls in Prison (1994) (TV)
- Deadly Love (1995) (TV)
- The Sopranos (1999) (TV) – “Calling All Cars” episode
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
- The Hidden (1987)
- Pump Up the Volume (1990)
- Point Break (1991)
- Me, Myself and I (1992)
- Jimmy Hollywood (1994)
- Losing Isaiah (1995)
- Passions (1999)
- 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, Johnette 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 also 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”.
Johnette 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
Johnette Napolitano joined Marc Moreland and Danny Montgomery to form Pretty & Twisted in 1995. Their self-titled debut, Pretty & Twisted, was produced by Johnette Napolitano and released on Warner Brother Records, Inc..
The track listing for the album was:
- The Highs Are Too High – 6:10
- Mother of Pearl – 5:05 (written by Bryan Ferry)
- Souvenir – 5:09
- No Daddy No – 4:34
- iRide! – 3:40
- Train Song (Edge of Desperation) – 6:30
- Stranger – 2:59 (written by Paul Westerberg & Johnette Napolitano)
- Singing is Fire – 3:11 (Lyrics by Charles Bukowski)
- Don’t Take Me Down – 4:37
- Come Away With Me – 5:55 (words: Janis Joplin, music: Johnette Napolitano)
- Dear Marlon Brando – 3:30
- Billy – 3:39
- Watching the Water – 4:17
Napolitano’s solo album, Scarred, was released May 28, 2007 on the label Hybrid Recordings.
‘Scarred’ track list
- Amazing – 4:08
- The Scientist – (Coldplay cover, with Danny Lohner) – 5:07
- Scarred – 4:09
- Poem for the Native – 5:19
- My Diane – 5:01
- Just Like Time – 4:41
- Save Me – 3:19
- Like A Wave – 4:41
- Crazy Tonight – 5:26
- Everything For Everyone – 4:56
- All Tomorrow’s Parties – (The Velvet Underground cover) – 3:40
- I’m Up Here – 4:27