Catching Up With Petra Haden

Catching Up With Petra Haden

your move, hadenBetween her work with The Decemberists, The Rentals, Beck, Foo Fighters, Miss Murgatroid, Sean Lennon and Yuka Honda, her duets with Bill Frisell, her critically-acclaimed acapella undertaking of The Who Sell Out and the rest of the numerous projects she’s involved in at any given time, there’s no getting around it: Petra Haden stays busy. When she’s not touring she calls Los Angeles home. We recently threw a few questions her way to prepare for Saturday’s concert at the Jensen Rec Center.

We’ve noticed that Mike Watt is on Saturday’s billing, and further, that duets will be performed. Any insight as to what we might expect?

Old standards.

Is this a one-time show, or are more dates planned?

There might be more shows in April. Not a lot though.

Pete Townshend has called your rendition of “The Who Sell Out” exquisite. Have you heard a reaction from the Brian Wilson camp regarding “God Only Knows” ? [ mp3 ]

The only person from the Beach Boys who has heard it, as far as I know is Bruce Johnston. He was a touring member. And from what I’ve heard, he likes it.

Will you be recording more Beach Boys songs? Should we expect, say, a full Petra Sounds album at some point?

It has been suggested to me several times to do an all A-cappella version of Pet Sounds. But..I don’t think so. Maybe in the near future I’ll record another song by them because it’s so fun.

Let’s talk about the album you made with Bill Frisell briefly. Were there any songs that didn’t make the final album that you wish would have?

Well, we didn’t record any other songs for that record. But I really wanted to record any Pink Floyd song.

(Let it be known that I do like the idea of Frisell and Haden on Floyd.)

What was your favorite moment of the Decemberists tour last year?

Dancing with John Moen on stage.

Your website says you’ll be part of an acoustic Foo Fighters tour this year. Have you been rehearsing with them?

No, not yet. It’s 95% happening. So if it’s REALLY happening, I’ll be rehearsing with them for the month of May.

Primarily for the techies and Tape Op readers: What’s your favorite piece of home recording gear?

Hmmm…Well I’m not a “techie”. Really. I would have to say my favorite piece of home recording gear would have to be a really good sounding microphone. Is that gear?

That is definitely, unequivocally gear. Ok…In your car. What’s your most dreaded LA freeway or intersection? Mine might actually be the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s parking lot.

Well, I don’t have a car.


But when I’m in a car with someone else driving, my most dreaded intersection is where Wilshire and Santa Monica cross.

That is a massive intersection, any way you slice it. Ok, here it is. If Losanjealous were able to raise the money to sponsor, what are the odds ’that dog’ would reform for one night only and play a gig at Oki-Dog, Fairfax? Ballpark odds. . .

Uhh… I don’t know.

(That is definitely not Ø %.)

I had a dream once that we played a show. It was strange.

(Let it be known: We may revisit this topic.)

I’ve recently taken a “food review” intern under my wing. Any plans to take on a Petra intern? You seem incredibly busy.

Well, let me tell you if I had an intern, they’d want to go out the window.

(Let it be known that I have not ruled out loaning or subcontracting Mair the Intern to Petra for a spell.)

Best coffee in LA?

I’ve never thought of that. Any LA coffee I’ve had tastes the same to me. Well, The Tropical Cafe makes their coffee with espresso. AND they don’t have nonfat milk. They should.

(I knew I liked Petra Haden. Tropical is hands-down my favorite cup of coffee in Losanjealous. Cafe Tropical: Offer nonfat milk, what’s wrong with you.)

Petra Haden with the Sell Outs
Jensen Rec Center, Echo Park

Saturday, April 1, 730pm
Special Guests Dos (Kira, Mike Watt) and Octopus Project
Buy tickets now

Petra Haden’s Official Site:

Checkers Photo by Jed Johnson