Juliana Hatfield Might Be In Love: “The Rockford Files”

julianalogoBy the time Juliana Hatfield had reached her mid-20s, she’d become the poster girl for ’90s indie rock. She was looked upon as the thinking person’s alternative to the riot-grrrl phenomenon, and the future seemed rosy. Hatfield had formed revered combo the Blake Babies, launched a red-hot solo career, played bass on the breakthrough Lemonheads album and gained national attention when she told Interview magazine she was still a virgin and wasn’t too worried about it. The backlash from those without much of an attention span was inevitable. In the ensuing years, Hatfield has honed her art and produced a wealth of stirring, self-confident albums. Peace & Love, out next week on her Ye Olde label, is an utterly sincere revelation that proves well worth the wait. Hatfield will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our exclusive excerpt from her 2008 memoir and our brand new Q&A with her.

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Hatfield: When I hooked up my analog-to-digital TV converter box a few months ago, I found that I was able to receive a few channels that my rabbit ears had not ever accessed. One of these channels is RTV (the Retro Television Network), which airs The Rockford Files every weeknight at 10. I remember watching it some as a child in the 1970s, but I am enjoying it much much more as an adult. (It’s not really a show for kids; it moves kind of slowly, and the main characters are not very flashy.) My newfound love for The Rockford Files (and for RTV in general) is partly nostalgia (for my childhood, for the ’70s), but part of it is the fact that Jim Rockford, the self-employed private detective (“$200 a day, plus expenses”), is such a great creation. I love that he lives in a run-down trailer in the parking lot of a restaurant by the ocean in Malibu. (How is it even possible that a person can live in a trailer in a parking lot in Malibu? Today, with real estate the way it is, that would not be believable. Today, the likes of Jim Rockford—anyone who is anything other than super-rich—would not be able to afford to live anywhere near Malibu, dilapidated trailer or not.) I love the chummy, sweet relationship Rockford has with his dad, whom he calls “Rocky,” as everyone else does. I love that he keeps his gun in the cookie jar and wears polyester wash-and-wear slacks that do not flatter his chubby bum. (This was before people worked out, before TV stars had to be all fit and muscly and healthy and botoxed and facelifted and perfect and inaccessible and unrealistic and cookie-cutter boring.) Rockford smokes and eats dollar tacos and drives without a seatbelt. He’s a straight shooter, taking everything as it comes. He’s always getting jumped by bad guys, but he never gets really angry; mostly he sighs a lot, grumbles a bit and gets on with it. I like him. Video after the jump.

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