Juliana Hatfield won’t be swayed by 21st century technology 

click to enlarge The alt-rocking Juliana Hatfield Trio – featuring, from left, Dean Fisher, Hatfield and Todd Philips – released its second album this year, 21 years after its debut. - COURTESY JOHNNY ANGUISH
  • COURTESY JOHNNY ANGUISH
  • The alt-rocking Juliana Hatfield Trio – featuring, from left, Dean Fisher, Hatfield and Todd Philips – released its second album this year, 21 years after its debut.
Like Phil Hartman’s classic “Saturday Night Live” character Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, alt-rocker Juliana Hatfield is unfamiliar with many of today’s modern ways – and that’s how she likes it.

Friends phoning her Cambridge, Mass. home will often get a busy signal because she refuses to get call waiting on her land line: “Because I just think it’s rude – if I’m talking to you, I’m talking to you, period. I’m not going to cut you off to see if the other person is more worth my time. So for me and my pea-sized brain, it’s too complicated to juggle more than one call at a time,” she says.

The singer – who reformed her Juliana Hatfield Three combo after 21 years and plays The City this weekend backing its sophomore disc “Whatever, My Love” – lives an unusually Spartan existence.

Her short-corded phone plugs into the wall, and her one cellular is a decade-old, pay-as-you-go Virgin Mobile with an antenna she keeps in her car’s glove compartment. “People like to text me on it, so I finally had to learn how to text five years ago. But now the phone is dying, and it won’t let me text,” she says.

Hatfield won’t allow herself a bedroom TV set, and she won’t subscribe to cable. The few free stations she does receive beam in through her rabbit-eared digital converter box. “And a couple of them are really great – one plays obscure old movies, and another plays cool shows from the ‘60s and ‘70s. I have a DSL line, so I do have the Internet, which I would love to get rid of, because I have fantasies of being off the grid one day. But right now, I’m still trying to make a living, so I kind of need it.”

Hatfield formed her first celebrated outfit The Blake Babies in Boston back in 1986. Most recently, she anchored the duo Minor Alps with Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws. In between, she had a hit with her 1993 JH3 debut “Become What You Are.”

Regrouping the trio was simple. She had material that needed some primal pep, so she phoned drummer Todd Philips for assistance, who then phoned bassist Dean Fisher. Instant reunion.

“Whatever” feels totally adrenalized, on band re-imaginings of recent solo work like “Dog On a Chain,” plus the whimsical new “If Only We Were Dogs,” with a video featuring a dog-crated Hatfield that underscores her abiding love of animals.

“Because humans just aren’t trustworthy – no way,” she says. “It’s not their fault. They were just born human, and you can never predict how they will act.”

IF YOU GO

The Juliana Hatfield Three

Where: Chapel, 77 Valencia St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. March 15

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.ticketfly.com

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Tom Lanham

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