Jazz legend and Grammy Award–winning bassist Charlie Haden moved from New York to Los Angeles in the mid-’70s, when his children were still young.
Now all musicians in their own right, son Josh and triplets Petra, Tanya and Rachel grew up singing harmonies together as kids while being raised by Haden’s ex-wife, therapist Ellen Haden, in Pacific Palisades.
Daddy played bass: From left, Tanya, Petra, Josh, Rachel, Ruth and Charlie(Photo by Kevin Scanlon)Petra’s 2005 Petra Haden Sings The Who Sell Out, an entirely a cappella version of the Who’s The Who Sell Out, was critically acclaimed and established her as one of today’s most intriguing, and angelic, voices. Currently working on the follow-up, Petra at the Movies, featuring a cappella selections from iconic film soundtracks, Petra, who also plays violin and mandolin (her first mandolin was given to her by her maternal grandmother, a mandolin player in the Pacific Palisades Orchestra), spent much of last year touring as a member of the Foo Fighters.
This month, she appeared at the Disney Concert Hall as a part of the L.A. Philharmonic’s Shadow of Stalin series. She also has two side projects, one with Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto, the other with Minutemen bassist Mike Watt.
Rachel has played keyboards and drums with Jimmy Eat World and Beck. She also spent six years with Petra in the ’90s band That Dog and was a founding member of the Rentals. She recently re-formed the Rentals and is also working on her first solo project.
Cellist Tanya, who has played with the Silversun Pickups and Let’s Go Sailing, earned her master’s degree in experimental animation from CalArts, and is a painter and a puppeteer of sorts. Her magical ability to breathe life into stuffed animals, including her longtime character Imaginary Bear, has earned her a cult following. Preparing for her next gallery show of paintings and drawings, Tanya is busy, along with her comedian-actor husband, Jack Black, raising their first child, 1-year-old Sam.
Under the name the Haden Triplets, the three sisters often perform live and intend to one day record an album.
Older brother Josh recorded albums with his former band Spain, and is presently touring his first solo album, Devoted. The album is produced by hip-hop producer Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, Josh’s frequent collaborator, and is self-released through Josh’s Diamond Soul label. Last month, he performed at the Getty Museum.
This summer, there are plans for the whole clan, including Charlie’s wife and manager, Verve recording vocalist Ruth Cameron, to head to Nashville and record a Haden family album, which will feature Carter Family tunes, and Haden family favorites dating back to the Haden Family Radio Show, which aired in the 1940s on KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa, and later on KWTO in Springfield, Missouri, when Charlie was just barely old enough to sing.