Concrete Blonde

Concrete Blonde
Concrete Blonde
Origin Los Angeles, CA, USA
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1982–1995, 2001–2004, 2010-
Labels I.R.S.
Associated acts Roxy Music, Sparks, Wool
Johnette Napolitano
James Mankey
Gabriel Ramirez
Past members

Harry Rushakoff
Paul Thompson
Al Bloch

Music sample

Concrete Blonde is an alternative rock band based in the United States. They were initially active from 1982 to 1995, and again from 2001 to 2004, and once again in 2010.



Singer-songwriter/bassist Johnette Napolitano formed the band Dream 6 with guitarist James Mankey in Los Angeles in 1982, releasing an eponymous EP in France on the Happy Hermit label in 1983. When they signed with I.R.S. Records in 1986, labelmate Michael Stipe suggested the name Concrete Blonde,[1] describing the contrast between their hard rock music and introspective lyrics. A "Concrete Blonde" is also a derogatory term for the heavily hair-sprayed, permed and big haired appearance adopted by "Sunset Strip Metal" bands, such as Poison and Ratt. During an MTV interview, Napolitano can also be quoted as saying that the name Concrete Blonde is just "two words that sound good together." They were joined by drummer Harry Rushakoff on their eponymous debut album. Roxy Music drummer Paul Thompson replaced Rushakoff on Bloodletting and several tracks on Mexican Moon, while Rushakoff was in treatment for drug addiction. Rushakoff rejoined the band to record 2002's Group Therapy, but was kicked out of the band for failing to show up for shows.[citation needed] He was replaced by Gabriel Ramirez.

Concrete Blonde was featured prominently in the film The Hidden (1987). Clarence Felder's character Lt. John Masterson rocks out to Concrete Blonde after being taken over by the alien.

Concrete Blonde's "Your Haunted Head" was also used in Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 in 1986. When L.G. Returns to the Radio station he pulls up listening to it on the radio then while walking to the staircase he sings "Ghosts Inside Your Haunted Head!"

The B-side to the single of Joey, "I Want You,"[disambiguation needed ] was featured in Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 cult film Point Break. The song plays as Lori Petty's character changes out of her bikini and into her clothes in the beginning of the film.

Their most commercially successful album was Bloodletting (1990), fueled by the top 20 radio hit "Joey," which in turn inspired Sugarland's 2009 single of the same name. The band broke up in 1993, but reunited in 1997, and again in 2001, releasing the albums Group Therapy (2002) and Mojave (2004). On June 5, 2006, Napolitano announced in a MySpace blog entry that the band has officially retired.[citation needed] From the Concrete Blonde website, there is the following open message: "Thanks to everyone who heard and believed in the music. Music lives on. Keep listening. Keep believing, keep dreaming. Like a ripple, the music moves and travels and finds you. Drive to the music, Make love to the music, cry to the music. That's why we made it. Long after we're gone the music will still be there. Thanks to everyone who helped us bring the music to you & thanks to every face and every heart in every audience all over the world."

In 2007, Napolitano performed the main vocals on the score of the new Australian film West written and directed by Daniel Krige. She also sings the title song, "Falling in Love". West had its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. According to the SXSW music website, she also supplied music for another Australian movie titled Candy, and for two other films, besides touring the United States to promote her solo work entitled Scarred in an acoustic set featuring Concrete Blonde classics.

On November 25, 2008, "Long Time Ago" was used during the final credits during the series finale, Season 7 of The Shield.

On July 13, 2010, Shout! Factory released a remastered 20th anniversary edition of Bloodletting, compiled without blessings, input, or involvement from the band, it features six bonus tracks: "I Want You," "Little Wing," the French extended version of "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)", and live versions of "Roses Grow," "The Sky Is A Poisonous Garden," and "Tomorrow, Wendy." An error in the packaging of the re-release uses early non-album period photos featuring original drummer Harry Rushakoff, who had been replaced the night before the first studio session for "Bloodletting" by Roxy Music drummer Paul Thompson. The essay included in the booklet also gives incorrect release dates for the band's previous albums.

Current drummer Gabriel Ramirez is featured on "Live in Brazil," "Mojave," and the CD single "The Real Thing," and toured with the band during the summer of 2010 on the "20 Years of Bloodletting: The Vampires Rise" North American tour and on select international dates through the rest of that year.


Studio Albums

Compilation and Live Albums

  • Still in Hollywood (1994) – a compilation of live recordings, B-sides, and previously unreleased material
  • Recollection: The Best of Concrete Blonde (1996) - Includes 17 tracks from first five albums, plus a live cover version of Mercedes Benz.
  • Classic Masters (2002) - 24-bit remastering of 12 tracks from their first five albums
  • Live in Brazil 2002 (2003) – double live album
  • The Essential (2005) - Remastered by Capital Records Essentials Series, includes 13 tracks from first four albums, with a slightly different version of the song Sun.

Re-release Album

  • Bloodletting: 20th Anniversary Edition (2010) – with six bonus tracks

Chart singles

Year Title U.S. Hot 100[2] U.S. Mod rock[2] U.S. Main rock[2] UK[3] Album
1989 "God Is a Bullet" - 15 - - Free
1990 "Joey" 19 1 20 - Bloodletting
"Caroline" - 23 - -
"Everybody Knows" - 20 - - Pump Up the Volume: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1992 "Someday?" - 8 - - Walking in London
"Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man" - 2 - -
1993 "Heal It Up" - 16 - - Mexican Moon

Related albums

  • Dream 6 – Dream 6 (1983) – reissued in 2003, Pre-Concrete Blonde group featuring Johnette Napolitano and Jim Mankey
  • The song "Everybody Knows," written by Leonard Cohen and performed by Concrete Blonde, originally released on Pump Up The Volume : Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1990) and re-released on Recollection: The Best of Concrete Blonde (1996) as well as on Still in Hollywood (1994)
  • Andy Prieboy...Upon My Wicked Son (1990) – Johnnette sings backing vocals to Andy's lead on "Tomorrow, Wendy"
  • Contributed the song "Endless Sleep" to the compilation Fast Track to Nowhere (1994).
  • Vowel Movement – Vowel Movement (1995) – Johnette Napolitano and Holly Vincent
  • Pretty & Twisted – Pretty & Twisted (1995) – Johnette Napolitano and Marc Moreland of Wall of Voodoo
  • Johnette Napolitano – No Talking, Just Head (1996) – Lead Singer for The Heads, re-formed Talking Heads project with Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth
  • Johnette Napolitano – Sound of a Woman, (1998) – unreleased solo album
  • Johnette Napolitano – Sketchbook "Arms to Heaven" (2002)
  • James Mankey – Jam (2002)
  • Johnette Napolitano – Sketchbook 2 (2006)
  • Johnette Napolitano - Scarred (2007)
  • Johnette Napolitano - Sketchbook 3 (2010)

Other work


Further reading

  • Huey, Steve. "Concrete Blonde" Allmusic Guide. Retrieved on May 20, 2007.
  • Golde, Kimberlye (2002). "Almost Famous" San Francisco Herald. Retrieved on May 20, 2007

External links

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