Juliana Hatfield Responds to Post

If I had a dollar for every time a girl/woman told me it’s not me it’s her…

Our friend from way back, Juliana, graciously offers her version/explanation of the events described in my Dreaming post.

Bill, it’s not you; it’s me. Don’t take it personally that I said I would sing on “Dreaming” and then I took off. You see, I suffer from a sometimes crippling disorder called “Rock Club-itis”. It is a phobia; a fear of being in any rock club for even one second longer than I absolutely have to, in order to do my work.

Like an alcoholic develops a sick liver after years of tippling, a touring indie musician can develop an intensely strong physical aversion to being in rock clubs. A drunk is affected, over time, by too many drinks, too many hangovers; I have been damaged by too many hours hanging out in the darkness, sitting on too many dirty, beer-stained, puke-scented couches in cramped, freezing-cold and stifling-hot backstage kennels. I guess you could call this affliction a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. Or post-rock stress disorder. PRSD. The inevitable result of all my years on the club circuit; years of forced exposure (work; touring) to that stifling, harsh (everything always so LOUD! Too loud! Hurts my ears!), unsanitary and uncomfortable environment. (I won’t even get into how a gig schedule screws up one’s circadian rhythms.)

This is how bad it is: When I’m walking down a street and I spot rock club in the distance, I get queasy and nail-bitey and I have to cross the street in order to avoid passing too closely to the venue lest my growing anxiety (proportionate to how close I am to the club) overwhelm me and, like, throw me into a fit of hysterics or something.

And that is my explanation for bailing before you guys played “Dreaming”. I wanted to sing with you, I really did, but as I stood waiting for the song to come up in your set list, I started to feel that old familiar nauseous/frightened feeling and the flashbacks started happening and the walls started closing in on me and I knew then that I had to flee the venue, for sanity’s sake. I had hoped that I could stick it out until “Dreaming” rolled around but I failed. I failed you, Buffalo Tom, and I failed myself. I am weak.

Plus, I am really shy. Jumping up on stage with a band during their show always SOUNDS like a good idea in theory, but when showtime rolls around and my guest appearance looms, I sometimes chicken out. I can’t speak for Westerberg, but maybe he experienced something similar.

Oh, and FYI- I did actually play guitar in the first incarnation of the Blake Babies; you were correct about that. We were originally a quartet, with Seth White on bass, myself on rhythm guitar, and John Strohm on lead (Freda on drums). I later switched to bass, when Seth quit the band. From then on, the Blake Babies were known as a trio.


Juliana Hatfield

3 thoughts on “Juliana Hatfield Responds to Post”

  1. Heeee heee, you said it all Bill with your opener: “If you had a dollar for every time…” -that is the concentrated truth!
    But surely you’ve been around her enough to know that she’s a little bit solitary.. so she’s giving you a kernel of truth.
    But, the whole point is, of course, that that was a moment, and in your line of work and in setups like that, once the moment’s gone, it is gone, and she did, in fact, conveniently dodge the moment. All we’ve learned for sure is that some people just are not the life of the party, or the one to go to for spontaneity! Next time, look around for an egomaniac.
    Still, since you live relatively close, keep asking her every chance, because as a fan of BOTH, it would be a sonic Dream…

  2. I enjoyed Juliana’s post, and while I’ve never toured or played 1/10,000 the number of clubs that housed “dirty, beer-stained, puke-scented couches in cramped, freezing-cold and stifling-hot backstage kennels”, I think I can relate.

    But as someone who would give anything to play a tune with the likes of Buff Tom, I would’ve jumped at the chance to join in, even if only to polish guitar picks or something. 🙂

    I do like PRSD, I think Juliana should copyright that expression and register it as a new ailment with the Disease Control Centers.


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