Concrete Blonde celebrates 20 vampiric years of "Bloodletting"

Though the core duo of Johnette Napolitano and James Mankey disbanded in 2006, the band has maintained a cult following ever since. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its most commercially successful album “Bloodletting,” the band reunited for a tour that comes to Atlanta next week.

Napolitano took a moment to discuss the future of Concrete Blonde and her other endeavors.

Q: It’s been while since we’ve heard many of these songs live. Will you be performing the songs in their original form or will there be any kind of creative changes made?

A: We haven’t gotten together and played in about seven years, so that’s a good question. My drummer Gabriel Ramirez has been our drummer for a long time and was on our last two records, and he and I play together when I do solo shows. But as far as Concrete Blonde, it’s been a few years.

Q: Are you playing “Bloodletting” in its entirety or showcasing your entire catalog?

A: I think we’re going to do, like, 45 minutes of “Bloodletting,” but we have a lot of other records out. It would be really uncool for us to go out and not play songs for the fans that were there before “Bloodletting.” There’s a lot of people coming from a long way to see these shows, so we’re going to try to make everybody happy.

Q: You’ve worked with several other musicians since you last toured with Concrete Blonde. Are you still doing any of those projects?

A: I’m working on something with David J [of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets] and Shok from L.A. called Tres Vampires. I’m collaborating with a band in New Orleans called Ven Pa’ Ca, which is a flamenco group. It’s a serious goal of mine to have a flamenco club in New Orleans by the end of the year. If I can get that going, I’ll be really happy.

Jim and I are having a good time because there’s no pressure on us. We’re doing this because we want to do it, not because we have to do it. One of the things I can say about the old days is it was not fun a lot of the time…. So we’re having our fun now.

Q: Outside of music, you also do a lot of visual art using found objects. Do you have any current art projects?

A: I’m working on a book right now, which is satisfying on a whole different level. I’ve been wanting to do a book, but when I got to the final stages of the technical aspects of actually publishing, I really wasn’t feeling it. Then I remembered when I used to do old punk rock fliers like the liner notes from the first album where I was cutting and pasting lyrics and illustrations. Now I want to do a series of books of collage-style art, which I find more satisfying creatively to work on than just text on a page. I’ve got about 20 years of stuff to write about and I’ve been waiting until I had the perspective that I have now to do that.

Concrete Blonde

8 p.m. Wednesday, June 16. $27.50 in advance, $30 day of show.

Variety Playhouse

1099 Euclid Ave.

Atlanta, GA 30307


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