Avant Guitarist Turned Oncologist Karen Haglof Releases Rootsy New Single On Realistik Studios
“Devastation Completed” is a new song from guitarist / songwriter / oncologist Karen Haglof. It was written by Haglof and features her on acoustic guitar and vocals joined by CP Roth on bass, piano, Hammond organ and percussion and Mitch Easter on Moog with Jonathan Kane and MK Gotti providing a drum loop. It was recorded at Cowboy Technical in Greenpoint, mixed at Fidelitorium in NC with Karen and Mario Viele co-producing. This is the first of several tracks she’ll be releasing in 2021
“Devastation Completed” is the latest in a flurry of music activity by Haglof that came after many years away from the recording studio, a period during which she earned a medical degree and joined the hematology/ oncology department of New York University Hospital where she still serves. Prior to her career in medicine, Karen had been an active participant in the much-vaunted Minneapolis indie rock scene that gave the world the Replacements, Soul Asylum and Bob Mould’s Husker Du among many others. Eventually, she left the MidWest for Manhattan and joined renowned avant-garde composer Rhys Chatham’s Ensemble, one of the city’s seminal guitar army / orchestras, leaving to join the Band of Susans with other veterans of Chatham’s crew. After serving a stint a kitchen staff at the early years of East Village institution the Great Jones Café (and creating its legendary brunch menu), she entered medical school and didn’t seriously pick up a guitar for decades.
The impetus for making music again came from two directions. The first was the untimely passing of Karen’s friend and mentor Jeff Hill, an old friend in Minneapolis who Karen calls “my first real guitar instructor and inspiration. We had kept in touch and he was encouraging about playing, and also picking up old interests beyond a workaholic medical career. His death was a huge blow.” Later that same year, Karen caught the music documentary It Might Get Loud at an East Village theater. “The old Jimmy Page and The Edge footage brought back all the early excitement about playing. I hadn’t kept up with rock or guitar music at all, and seeing Jack White was a bit of a revelation. I felt like I wanted to play again.” Karen says: “I [now] work in a field where very often I have to deliver bad news to people who thought they had more time to do all they’d planned. If you think you want to do something, you’d better do it now.”