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Linda Perhacs

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  • Born: California
  • Years Active: 1970s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Linda Perhacs is a California-based singer/songwriter whose first -- and for decades, only -- album, Parallelograms, is regarded as a psych-folk masterpiece, highly influential among songwriters including Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt, Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and many others.

Perhacs was a purposeful but very private songwriter living on Topanga Canyon Boulevard and working as a dental hygienist when Grammy- and Emmy-winning composer Leonard Rosenman (Rebel Without a Cause and Barry Lyndon) walked into her office for an appointment. After ten more, he inquired about what she did with her spare time. She revealed only then that she was a songwriter. He asked to hear what she wrote, and was impressed when he did. He arranged a record deal for her with Kapp, a Universal subsidiary, hired the players (including drummer Shelly Manne), and produced the recording sessions that resulted in Parallelograms.

When Perhacs heard the acetate, she was mortified -- as was Rosenman. In the final mix, the label had deleted all the highs and lows on the record, trying to create songs that would be friendly to AM radio. Perhacs and Rosenman had heard Parallelograms as a decidedly FM album.

She went back to her job as a dental hygienist and dropped completely out of site, though she continued to write.

In the mid-'90s, Michael Piper, whose label The Wild Places reissued obscure psychedelic records, made numerous attempts to contact Perhacs but was unsuccessful. He eventually re-released Parallelograms anyway, making notes in the package about trying to locate her. Contact was eventually made -- she still lived in Topanga Canyon Boulevard and worked as a dental hygienist -- and a deal was arranged for a more official reissue. He used her source tapes which were sonically superior to the badly mastered Kapp album, and re-released the recording in 2003 with bonus material. Parallelograms' reputation and its artist's -- especially among younger music fans and musicians -- spread. Since then, the record has undergone numerous re-pressings.

In 2007, Banhart coaxed her back into the studio to sing on his Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon album. Her song, "If You Were My Man," appeared in Daft Punk's film, Electroma the same year. In 2010, she gave the first live performance of her career.

In 2012, Perhacs signed to Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty Records. Between September and April of 2013, she recorded new material. She co-produced sessions with Chris Price and Fernando Perdomo, and enlisted help from friends Julia Holter and Ramona Gonzalez (Nite Jewel) to sing on various tracks. The finished product was released as The Soul of All Natural Things in March of 2014; it was the first new recording of her music in 44 years.

eMusic Features


Linda Perhacs: God is Saying This to You

By Douglas Wolk, Contributor

"The way I compose music is that I hear it, and then I have to run and write it down," Linda Perhacs says, as we sit on the balcony of a friend's house in the Hollywood Hills. "It's coming this way, so it reflects the universe and God. If we're talking about the creative process, it starts here." She points toward the heavens, then brings her hands down toward her head. Perhacs is about to release… more »