LA Weekly's "Sexiest L.A. Musician" Hanni El Khatib Talks Wanda Jackson and Her Upcoming Shows with Jack White at the El Rey (LA Weekly Exclusive Interview)

Rockabilly goddess Wanda Jackson is headed to the El Rey two play two shows next weekend in support of her new album, "The Party Ain't Over," out on the 25th on Third Man/Nonesuch Records (featuring Jack White of The White Stripes!). When I found out local blues/garage rock legend Hanni El Khatib was a fan, I had to ask him a few questions about his love for the Queen of Rockabilly.

Hanni El Khatib
Hanni El Khatib
courtesy Innovative Leisure

What was your first Wanda Jackson show like?

It was at Slim's in San Francisco, I forget when--maybe a few years ago. I heard she was coming in to town and I also heard that a coworker's rockabilly band was going to be her backup band. They're called Red Meat. Sure enough, when she jumped on stage, she was one of my old coworkers. Super rad. I went by myself because I couldn't get anyone to go with me last minute.

Who came to see her?

It was a typical Wanda crowd--older rockabilly type folks. I remember she came out in some kind of Muumuu, frilly dress. Fringe everywhere, and it was all pink. She also had this pink guitar that wasn't plugged in that she played. Pretty awesome.

She's been singing for more than half a century--how'd she sound that night?

Fucking UNREAL! She fucking sang exactly like her records! Nothing changed! It was insane. Nothing but the same spirit and attitude and she just talked shit to people all night. It was rad. You know when you go see a show, and it's someone who's put out records in the like, the 60s, so they're old now and then you're like, "Man, wish I didn't see that"? Like it blows the mystique and sounds like shit? I went there and saw her and thought, "Oh my god--this is probably what her old shows sound like!" Everybody was going crazy. She's sick. I hope that one day when I get older and have a wife or a mistress I can play like that.

What do you think about her working with Jack White? Genius or a total disaster?

I think it's going to be pretty rad. I heard he produced her new record so I imagine it's going to sound sick.

It's kind of funny, she said in an interview I read that she isn't actually a big fan of his--or at least his music's not the type she'd go out and buy.

That's funny. That goes to show you how the matchups can happen. Maybe one person wants to work with this other person who doesn't know who they are, but when they finally get into the studio something just clicks. I'm sure it's going to be pretty sick. I wonder if it's going to have the Jack White sound or stay true to what she typically does. It could go either way. I'm interested either way though.

LISTEN to Hanni here:

SEE Hanni El Katib on January 27th when he plays the Boobs4Food "Together We Can" Benefit Concert with one of our other local favorite, White Arrows.

Where: Mountain Bar, 473 Gin Ling Way (b/t N. Broadway & N. Hill St in Chinatown) Los Angeles, CA

Doors: 9:30pm


$10 Pre-Sale (includes 1 raffle ticket)

$12 at the door (cash only, includes 1 raffle ticket)

Raffle Tickets: 1 for $2, 5 for $5 (all proceeds will be donated to LA Regional Food Bank)


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