They invited the Femmes to their gig, I think at the Inn-Square Men’s Bar in Boston, because they had recently signed to Slash and wanted to welcome us to town. I remember playing the finished record of for the R. I don’t think the song missing a chorus was a problem. To me, it just seemed like the most natural thing in the world to write about a sister that I never had, a sister that I wanted to have.We became friends and did a lot of shows together over the years; Storyville must have been one of them. Litt: I remember thinking that it was like the song “The End of the World” by Skeeter Davis.There was a mattress, a boombox, a guitar, water bottles. Philips: That intro drum part took a while to figure out. I was listening to this record by Game Theory all the time. What sucked about it was, I think people thought I was hating on Juliana, and I wasn’t coming from that place at all.I was obsessed with a song called “We Love You, Carol and Alison,” because the drummer, Gil Ray, played the verses with his toms instead of the hi-hats. It was meant more as a general statement on the scene at the time.We were auditioning Mary Timony, who went on to form Helium, as our bassist. He later directed a movie called ] Fisher: Juliana and I would spar sometimes before a show. I didn’t try to fool anyone into thinking I had a sister. It actually really sucks because Melissa was making her record in L. when we were, and we were staying in the same place and we’d go out and have drinks with her.Juliana broke it out at the practice, and the second I heard it, I thought it was just awesome. I don’t know why, but we were roughhousing with each other on the set. Philips: When it became an MTV Buzz clip, we were shocked, but also we were so goddamned busy I wasn’t really aware of what was happening. She was really cool and really friendly, and lo and behold she’s recording this fucking song a year later. Melissa Ferrick: It actually wasn’t meant as a “diss” at all. We were both on Atlantic along with about 14 other female songwriters.
I’d drive to the store to get groceries and I would hear that song on the radio and I just kept thinking about some life that I couldn’t even remember having lived. It was flattering that a young artist was not only influenced by us but also namechecking us in the song. Todd Philips, drummer, the Juliana Hatfield Three: The first time I heard it was actually before Dean joined the Juliana Hatfield Three. Hatfield: [For the music video], I was trying to copy the Police video for “Roxanne.” We copied a shot where Sting is sitting and holding the microphone and the mic chord is leading out from him up toward the camera. Philips: It was with our friend Phil Morrison, who is this great film director. All this attention was suddenly on me and it was bewildering. She was pissed that Atlantic was putting more effort and marketing into Juliana than into Melissa Ferrick.1 Modern Rock single, and the cover of SPIN’s March 1994 issue.It was so popular, in fact, that Hatfield’s label, Atlantic, allowed another of its artists, folk singer Melissa Ferrick, to release a track titled “The Juliana Hatfield Song (Girls With Guitars)” that complained about its title character’s success.When Hatfield is calling her sister “such a bitch” or “the best,” she’s drawing from an amalgam of ideas — some real, like her friend who took her to her first all-ages show (the Violent Femmes and the “Del Foo-way-goes”), and some personal, such as wondering how others saw her.Ultimately, “My Sister” became a sensation anyway: A spot in MTV’s coveted Buzz Bin, a No.