An Interview with Josh Haden: 'Sargent Place'

For nearly 20 years the music of LA-based Josh Haden and Spain has provided a soundtrack for the dreams and waking life of fans the world over, with a singular style that often stirs something deep in the soul of the listener. Now their new release Sargent Place, builds on that decades long legacy and pushes it into inspiring new directions. Another clear inspiration on Sargent Place is the music and life of Haden’s father, jazz legend Charlie Haden. “To Be A Man” and “You And I” were songs written with the elder Haden in mind, with “You And I” featuring the final studio recording from the acclaimed and beloved musician.

 

ConciergeQ spoke with Josh prior to the release of Sargent Place about his musical family, the new album, his hysterical brother-in-law Jack Black, and more.

 

ConciergeQ: You have an extremely musical family. What was it like growing up with not only your dad, but musically gifted triplet sisters?

 

Josh Haden: As a kid, I thought it was normal. We had a deep collection of jazz records at home. It was, and is, a very diverse, artistic family. In my head, my belief was that everybody had the same thing as me… I thought that everyone had musical parents, and soon after I realized they didn’t, I saw how fortunate I was to have a profound family of musical artists. My sisters are truly my girls, I love em’. I am so proud to watch them perform. Recently, they played the Skirball Cultural Center at dusk-–it was an extremely magical night… Yes, it was…

 

CQ: You recently lost your dad, Grammy winner and jazz icon Charlie Haden. What is your dad’s legacy?

 

JH: My father’s strongest legacy is in teaching artists that in order to be great musicians, one must be a great person first! My dad lived and taught by example. We talked about everything: music, life, politics and girls… He shared his own life’s experiences, such as his uncompromising standards of his work. He sought the best out in everyone.

 

CQ: You have a new album coming out. Can you please share a bit about Sargent Place

 

JH: It was recorded at a studio located on the street named Sargent Place in Echo Park, Los Angeles, California. That is where the album title comes from. My inspiration was to just create a work that sounded good, period. I do throw away a lot of material. If I set the bar too high, I’m afraid it won't sound the best it could be at the inception. I guess I am the kind of artist who is happy to please me and my fans.

 

CQ: ConciergeQ is a travel magazine. What is your favorite travel song and why?

 

JH: George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue”, AKA “The United Airlines Theme Song”. United Airlines reportedly paid $500,000 to play this song in all of its airport terminals, and it was worth it. I hear this song every time I’m walking into, inside, or away from an airplane and it has become ingrained in the music-hearing portion of my mind.

 

I’ve also been listening a lot to The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Revelation is my favorite album of theirs. They evoke a mood that is conducive to touring by bus on the road to the next gig through long stretches between shows. I find it to be very introspective music.

 

CQ: Your sister is married to Jack Black. Will you share a good brother-in-law story?

 

 

JH: I met Jack Black at Crossroads School, we both attended in Santa Monica. He was much younger than me, my sister’s age, a few grades behind me. He had brown, spiky hair and was involved in theater at the time. Even back then, I thought he looked cool. He was cool… I love having him in my family because he makes me laugh. He supports me musically, and goes as far as wearing our promotional tee shirts on late night talk shows. Thank you, Jack!

William Pattnosh