Tag Archive | "Vicki Peterson"

THE BANGLES: Legendary 80’s Pop Princesses Announce New Vintage Rarities Album

THE BANGLES: Legendary 80’s Pop Princesses Announce New Vintage Rarities Album

bangles-2014-album-1

Groundbreaking pop-rock band The Bangles proudly announces the release of their brand new album LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…THE BANGLES!, on their own label, DownKiddie! Records, and available for digital download at all major music outlets starting November 27, 2014 (Thanksgiving Day).

Hand-selected by the band members from their personal music archives, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…THE BANGLES! is a 16-track collection of re-mastered 80’s-era rarities, demos, live recordings and more, including the Bangles’ debut single and all of the tracks from their self-titled EP – produced by legendary Ramones/Blondie producer Craig Leon – unavailable since its initial release on vinyl in 1982.

Encompassing the very first years of the band’s development, from their earliest days as the “Bangs” to their incarnation as the Bangles, the tracks include performances by the Bangles’ founding and current members – Susanna Hoffs, Debbi Peterson, and Vicki Peterson – as well as now-retired bassist Michael Steele, and the band’s original bass player Annette Zilinskas.

The Bangles

“We’re so pleased to give our fans and music lovers alike the chance to enjoy the early fruits of our labor. Some of these tracks have never seen the light of day,” states Bangles drummer/singer Debbi Peterson. “We’ve wanted to make these songs available to a new audience for a long time,” adds singer/guitarist Vicki Peterson. “We’ve thrown in a couple of live tracks, and even some of the first demos, all lovingly collected and re-mastered, so you no longer have to dig out a cassette player to hear them.” Singer/guitarist Susanna Hoffs continues, “I feel a very special connection to our early recordings. The garage of my parents’ house was our musical laboratory, and we took all the flavors of our favorite bands and mixed up a concoction of jangly guitars, McCartney-inspired bass parts, grooves powered by punk energy, and harmonies galore! These songs and recordings were our musical manifesto – all that mattered and inspired us, fueled by youthful energy, hope and blind ambition.”

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…THE BANGLES! will be available worldwide starting Thanksgiving Day, (November 27) 2014 on the following digital music outlets: 7Digital, Akazoo, Amazon Music, Anghami, Deezer, eMusic, Google Play, Gracenote, Guvera, iHeartRadio, iTunes, JB Hi-Fi, Juke, KKBox, MediaNet, MixRadio, Muve Music, Neurotic Media, Rdio, Revibe, Rhapsody, Shazam, simfy, Slacker, Sony Music Unlimited, Spinlet, Spotify, Target Music, VerveLife, Wimp, Xbox Music, and Yandex.<

The Bangles are: 
Susanna Hoffs – guitar/vocals
Debbi Peterson – drums/guitar/vocals
Vicki Peterson – guitar/vocals

About The Bangles
Founded in 1980 by Susanna Hoffs and sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson, the band that eventually topped charts worldwide began as the “Bangs” and came to prominence during Los Angeles’ early-80’s Paisley Underground scene. Their attention-grabbing 1981 debut single ‘Getting Out Of Hand’ was followed by national tours with The English Beat and Cyndi Lauper, and the 1982 release of a self-titled EP as the newly re-named “Bangles.” In 1983, Michael Steele replaced Annette Zilinskas on bass, and in 1984 the Bangles released their debut full-length album ALL OVER THE PLACE. During the 80’s the Bangles released two more albums, the Platinum-certified DIFFERENT LIGHT (1986), and the Platinum-certified EVERYTHING (1988), with a slew of decade-defining hits among them including ‘Manic Monday,’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian,’ ‘In Your Room,’ ‘If She Knew What She Wants,’ ‘Walking Down Your Street,’ and ‘Eternal Flame,’ as well as ‘A Hazy Shade Of Winter’ from the LESS THAN ZERO soundtrack. A hiatus from 1989 to 1998 ended with the release of the single ‘Get The Girl’ for the AUSTIN POWERS:THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME soundtrack, and led to the band’s 2000 reunion tour and 2003 release of the all-new album, DOLL REVOLUTION. Following Michael Steele’s departure from the band in 2005, the Bangles have continued to tour and record with several bassists – most recently Derrick Anderson, who featured on the Bangles’ critically-lauded 2011 release SWEETHEART OF THE SUN. The Bangles regularly tour the USA and abroad, and continue to develop new material.

Find out more at www.thebangles.com

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…THE BANGLES! Track Listing
1. Bitchen Summer/Speedway
(The Bangles/Rodney On The Roq: Volume 3, 1982 – S. Hoffs/D. Roback)
2. Getting Out of Hand
(The Bangs/debut single A-side, 1981 – V. Peterson)
3. Call on Me
(The Bangs/debut single B-side, 1981 – S. Hoffs/V. Peterson/ D. Roback)
4. The Real World
(The Bangles EP, 1982 – S. Hoffs/V. Peterson)
5. I’m in Line
(The Bangles EP, 1982 – D. Peterson/V. Peterson/S. Hoffs)
6. Want You
(The Bangles EP, 1982 – V. Peterson)
7. Mary Street
(The Bangles EP, 1982 – S. Hoffs/V. Peterson)
8. How is the Air Up There?
(The Bangles EP, 1982 – S. Duboff/A. Kornfeld)
9. Outside Chance
(unreleased demo, 1981 – W. Zevon)
10. Steppin’ Out
(unreleased demo, 1981 – M. Lindsay/Paul Revere & The Raiders)
11. The Real World
(unreleased demo, 1981 – S. Hoffs/V. Peterson)
12. Call on Me
(unreleased demo, 1981 – S. Hoffs/V. Peterson/D. Roback)
13. Tell Me
(live performance, Dingwalls London, 1984 – S. Hoffs/V. Peterson)
14. 7 & 7 Is
(live performance, The Palace, Hollywood, 1984 – A. Lee)
15. No Mag Commercial
(The Bangles, 1982)
16. The Rock & Roll Alternative Program theme song
(The Bangles, 1982)

Posted in Blog, MusicComments (0)

The Bangles’ Debbi Peterson Discusses Their Return With ‘Sweetheart of The Sun’

The Bangles’ Debbi Peterson Discusses Their Return With ‘Sweetheart of The Sun’

Debbi Peterson is best known for her work providing the backbeat for one of music’s most loved and enduring all-girl groups, The Bangles. The group arrived on the scene in the early ‘80s and ruled the charts with such classic songs as “Manic Monday,” “Walk Like An Egyptian,” “Hazy Shade of Winter” and “Eternal Flame” that launched them into super-stardom with legions of fans worldwide. In the ‘90s, the band members went their separate ways and Susanna Hoffs took on a solo career where she released two critically praised albums. In the late ‘90s, Hoffs reached out to the other Bangles members to record the single “Get the Girl” for the second film in the Austin Powers franchise. It didn’t take long for the creative juices to flow and the band announced their decision to reunite full-time in 2000. Susanna Hoffs, Vicki and Debbi Peterson set out once more to create what became the band’s fourth album, “Doll Revolution,” which was released in 2003. With well over two decades behind them, The Bangles show no sign of fading away as they continue to tour and are back on the scene with their amazing fifth album, “Sweetheart of the Sun.” Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Debbi Peterson to discuss her past, her influences, the longevity of the band and what the future may hold.

How did music first come into your life?

Oh wow, it came in very early into my life. Actually, my older sister, Pam would get money for allowance, for doing chores and stuff, so the first thing she’d do is go buy records and she was … she bought a lot of Beatles records. So, that was playing constantly in the house. We always had a radio on and we would go on family trips and the radio would always be on. So, I suppose that pretty much got me started on it.

What made you take that big step to make music your career?

I think basically, I was like 12 or 13 and I really, really wanted to be in a band. I was a huge Beatles fanatic and I wanted to play bass or guitar. Actually, bass or guitar, but not even drums originally … funny. My sister had a band. Vicki had a band going with her friends in high school. She had a little high school band and they were sort of playing around and doing little church dates and school dates and stuff. At one point they were looking for a drummer, because they actually had a female drummer for a little bit and she didn’t work out, so they were looking for a replacement. Amanda, who was playing bass at the time with Vicki, suggested me and I’d never played drums before, because that wasn’t really the instrument I was planning on playing. That’s okay; I’ll give it a shot. I started playing and it must have been a natural thing because they all said, “Oh, you’re in the band. That’s great!”

It seems to be working out for you so far!

Yeah, so far so good!

The Bangles have a new album coming out, ‘Sweetheart of The Sun’. What can you tell us about it? What made this time right to get back together for this album?

Well, it was probably playing around for a while, probably doing some shows under the radar and working on songs. We had a bunch of old songs. You know songs from like … some of them from early 1990, some of them from the mid ‘90s, some from early 2000. We just thought, you know we thought let’s just get this together. Let’s make an album. Let’s do this again. We haven’t done one for so long and we’ve just sort of been playing shows and just playing casinos and under the radar shows. We just really wanted to get together and create something new. Actually, this has sort of been a while in the making. It actually started in 2009.

What can you tell us about the writing process of the album? Has that process evolved through the years or how does that work exactly for you guys?

Well, we actually disbanded in ’89 and then we got back together in 1999 and we started writing again. That was really what kind of brought us back together. Susanna and I started working on songs and then Vicki got involved and then Michael. A lot of it was some of the songs actually, from this record are songs that we wrote when we were not together in that sort of little break period in the ‘90s. But a lot of them are sort of early getting back together songs – writing songs like some of them like “Mesmerized” is one that Susanna and I started, I guess mid ‘90s. These songs are a collection of tunes that really help in going on for a while and I think it’s kind of cool, because it says so many different aspects and so many different time periods on this record.

Yeah, it’s really neat, because listening to it … it’s almost like discovering an old friend in a way. It has a familiar feel, but it is new. It’s really kind of an interesting record.

Yes, yes, yes, it’s great! It’s sort of comfortable and just like you get all the vocals and it’s a lot of older Bangles sound to it, but then there is also a lot of new elements put in.

What was the biggest challenge? Obviously, your time-frame here is kind of with the song writing as you just mentioned, what was the biggest challenge in putting this together?

Well, a lot of the challenges. We are a family, so just trying to balance the family and be able to do the work. It’s just trying to balance, that is already hard enough. I’m sure any working parent would understand that. But that and also we had some challenges actually recording it, because we were working in Matthew Sweet’s studio to do the … get the drum tracks down and some of the guitar tracks down, but things weren’t quite working out there. So we moved to, Vicki and Susanna both have Pro Tools setups, so we moved to their houses and kind of there was a lot of shuffling back and forth from place to place, so it was to get it all together, but we managed to do it and I think it sounds really good.

You mentioned Matthew Sweet. What do you think he brings to a project like this?

I think a really creative guy. He is very talented. He was actually … I enjoyed working with him. He was very much like a cheerleader, like egging me on – that’s great, that’s great! I’d sit there and say, “Well now, maybe we should do it again.” [laughs] Things like that. He was very positive, but it’s one of those things where we wanted to try doing things at a different place and he wasn’t willing to really move from his studio. So, he’s one of those guys that he’s kind of like stays put in his one place. He’s more comfortable with that. So, that’s why I think this is kind of working out after a while. But I think he’s a very talented guy and I really liked working with him.

You ladies are obviously known for so many iconic videos. Any plans on doing a video for this at all?

Oh, who knows? Do people do videos anymore? [laughs] We might do a YouTube video, who knows? I mean there are some funny ones out there, I’ll tell you. I don’t know yet. We were just … we’ll see how that goes. See how people react to the record and we’ll see what happens.

What do you attribute the longevity of the Bangles to? Obviously, you took a break there for a little bit, but you guys have been around for a long time and keep moving forward.

Yeah, that’s … I just think it’s because we’re all really good friends. We, I think in the ‘80s it just got so crazy and there was so much work and we were like on top of each other all the time and we had no break from each other. Then, when we took that break, I think it was the time for us to get to work with other artists and to mature and to have families. Now, I think the reason we’re still hashing it out and getting along is because we actually, if anybody has a problem or disagrees with something we talk it out and we try to resolve it and make sure that nobody is unhappy, because I think in the ‘80s we didn’t have enough communication, so we kind of learned from that. So, I think that’s what’s keeping us going – communication.

Looking back on your career, as you kind of mentioned it’s definitely a growing process. How do you feel you’ve evolved as a musician through the years?

I think just because I’ve been doing it for so long, I will or sort of I’m older and wiser. I have a more kind of broad outlook on music and I’ve been able to play some guitar too, which is nice to be able to do that, because I like doing drums, guitar, I like to play bass. I like to play different instruments. So, I don’t know, I guess the more you do it, the more you listen to other music, the more you pick up things is just something that you keep doing it long enough, you just get better and better.

The music industry has changed so drastically from when you guys started out.

Yeah!

Do you think it’s any easier for women in the industry today?

I don’t think so, no. I mean, I think it’s as far as like the diva lead signer type thing, yeah, or your Disney girl or something, but as far as a band with all female musicians it doesn’t seem to be any easier, which surprises all of us. Because we were thinking oh, us and the Go-Go’s and other people that maybe, there would be a breakthrough and women would finally get a chance to be accepted in rock for what they are as opposed to just being sex symbols and sex icons. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened like we thought it would anyway.

You definitely made an impact. I’ve talked to so many female groups and the majority of them do bring up the Bangles when asking about their influences.

Well, that’s great. That’s really great. Yeah and I know they’re out there and I just, I hoped more and more of them get to get heard because I know there is some out there that are truly amazing.

I’m sure you guys have seen a lot in your time over the years and probably have a tale or two to tell. I was curious if we ever might get some sort of autobiography out of the band, where you could share some of those stories?

Ah, that’s sweet. Actually, that’s something we keep talking about – the Bangle’s coffee table book with pictures and stories! [laughs] We’ve actually sat down and recorded some of our little tales, tall tales, that we have! [laughs] But yeah, that’s definitely something we’re working on!

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone looking to start out in the music industry and make it a career like you have?

Well, it’s getting so different than it was, because back in the old days you used to have to tour and tour and you sort of break … go from the ground up kind of thing and nowadays, there are so many different ways and some ways it’s good, because you got the Internet to get yourself out there with YouTube and whatever and Facebook. All I can say is do what you believe in. Stick to it and don’t give up, because sometimes some people will say stuff about your music or your, you know, personally about you and you just have to go for it. Just go for what you believe in and stick to it.

Do you have any tour plans in the works for this album? I know you’ve been doing some shows on the side.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! In October we’re going to go to the East Coast and do a little bit of the Midwest and come back to the West Coast in November.

How do you guys keep that interesting and exciting for yourself, as well as the fans? Is that something you even have to give any thought to?

Oh yeah, yeah, we’re always giving it thought. We’re always thinking okay, what else can we do to make this better? Usually a lot of times it’s switching songs around and trying to make it a better set – something that works better. Maybe if it’s more energetic or that finding out which song goes with which song, you know, just to make it more interesting. Sometimes we do write little medleys in the song, like “Walk Like an Egyptian” we’ll throw in a different song in the middle and make it more interesting. Things like that and we want to, for this next tour unfortunately, money wise we haven’t got a lot to do a major presentation, but we’re definitely going to get some kind of lighting so it looks a bit more interesting and exciting for all.

Is there something in your mind that pops out as a maybe a career defining moment for you?

Yeah, well this is one example. We were – it was 1986 or ’87 – it was ’87 and we, there was a BPI Awards in England that they had and they have at least one international artist who would win the Best International Artist and we got it that year. It was like Peter Gabriel was there, Kate Bush, Eric Clapton and all these people were there and we just felt like wow, we’ve been accepted with our … these amazing, amazing artists and that was quite a defining moment, I think.

Do you feel there are any misconceptions about The Bangles?

Yes, definitely. I don’t know about so much anymore, but it definitely in the early days or even in the mid ‘80s people – no one believed that we could play our instruments. They just thought yeah, oh look at those pretty little girls onstage and they don’t even play and it’s like yeah, we do. So yeah, that was a big misconception too.

What do you think the future holds for The Bangles? Obviously you have this album and the tour, but hopefully no plans on packing it in anytime soon.

No, no, no, no, we’re not planning that! We’ll keep going. We’re going to try to think of a way here. No, it’s who knows, but the way the music business is these days and the economy and everything who knows what’s going to happen, but we’re going to keep on doing it. I mean, we made this record, because we wanted to make a record and our fans want to hear new material. So, we just keep hoping that people will like what we are producing and we just keep going out there and doing shows, because we love to go out and play.

Is there anything you want to say to your fans before I let you go?

The only thing I can say is YAY! Finally you guys get to hear some new stuff and sorry it took so long, but enjoy!

It’s been a pleasure talking to you. I really appreciate your time and like I said, we will be spreading the word. Thank you so much.

Great! I appreciate that, Jason. Thanks.

 

For all the latest news and tour dates for The Bangles, be sure to swing by their official site at www.thebangles.com. ‘Sweetheart of the Sun’ hits stores on September 27th, 2011!

Posted in Blog, Featured Stories, Interviews, MusicComments (0)

The Bangles Return With ‘Sweetheart of the Sun’ On September 13th!

The Bangles Return With ‘Sweetheart of the Sun’ On September 13th!

On their forthcoming album, SWEETHEART OF THE SUN, THE BANGLES capture the two crucial elements that created the bond that formed the group:  their common love for rock’s golden age and the crystalline sound they quite naturally created.

SWEETHEART OF THE SUN (Model Music Group), the group’s first album of new material in nearly eight years, is filled with a fresh batch of definitive BANGLES songs.  Due out September 13, SWEETHEART OF THE SUN reveals THE BANGLES–guitarist/singer Susanna Hoffs, guitarist/singer Vicki Peterson and drummer/singer Debbi Peterson–at their equally beguiling extremes, as soaring folk-rock harmonies coexist with adrenalized rave-ups inspired by the band’s roots in Nuggets-era garage rock.

“As we were finishing the record,” says Vicki, “we started to realize there was a unifying theme–paradise lost in Southern California, the perception juxtaposed with the reality of it.” Susanna picks up the thought: “L.A. is like paradise–the sun shines 360 days a year, the flowers are always in bloom–but meanwhile, so many people are walking around alienated, depressed and anxious.”

Some of the 10 original songs on this 12-song album are new, while others had extremely long gestation periods, tucked away, but not forgotten, as Susanna puts it. The oldest, dating back to the early ’90s, is Debbi’s high-revving aggro kiss-off “Ball N Chain”; while the three of them jointly came up with the newest song, the shimmering opening track “Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun),” during the recording sessions.

“I think it’s important for all of us to keep moving on and creating,” says Debbi.  “Because that’s why we got into this in the first place.”

SWEETHEART OF THE SUN was recorded by Matthew Sweet (Susanna’s frequent collaborator) at his home studio in the Hollywood Hills, with much of the overdubbing done at the home studios of Vicki and Susanna, and mixed by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco).  THE BANGLES cut the album with bassist Derrick Anderson and keyboard player Greg “Harpo” Hilfman, both of whom have been playing with the band for some time. String wizard Greg Leisz, one of the most in-demand players in contemporary music (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Matthew Sweet, Lucinda Williams, Bon Iver) adds pedal steel, lap steel and mandolin to a number of tracks.

Thirty years ago guitarists Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson and drummer Debbi Peterson formed THE BANGLES in a Brentwood, California, garage. Their 1984 debut All Over the Place captured the group’s inventive incorporation of’60s folk rock, sunny SoCal harmonies and Beatles/Byrds/Beach Boys/Big Star godhead.  Throughout the 80s, the group went on to dominate the charts with hits like “Walk Like An Egyptian,” “Eternal Flame,” “Manic Monday” and “A Hazy Shade of Winter” before they disbanded in the late 80s.  They officially reformed in 1999 to record “Get The Girl” for the soundtrack of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

The complete track list for SWEETHEART OF THE SUN is as follows:

Annalee (Sweetheart Of The Sun)

Lay Yourself Down

Under A Cloud

I Will Never Be Through With You

Through Your Eyes

Ball & Chain

One Of Two

What A Life

Mesmerized

Circles In The Sky

Sweet And Tender Romance

Open My Eyes

Posted in Blog, MusicComments (0)

Susanna Hoffs Talks ‘Under The Covers Vol. 2’ And The Bangles New Album

Susanna Hoffs Talks ‘Under The Covers Vol. 2’ And The Bangles New Album

feature_susanna_hoffs

Susanna Hoffs is best known for her work as a member of one of music’s most loved and enduring all-girl groups, The Bangles. The group arrived on the scene in the early 1980s and ruled the charts with such classic songs as “Manic Monday,” “Walk Like An Egyptian,” “Hazy Shade of Winter” and “Eternal Flame” which launched them to super-stardom and earned them legions of fans worldwide. In the 1990s, the band members went their separate ways and would see Hoffs take on a solo career where she would release two critically praised albums. In the late 1990s, Hoffs reached out to the other members of The Bangles to record the single “Get the Girl” for the second film in the Austin Powers franchise. It didn’t take long for the creative juices to start flowing and the band announced their decision to reunite full-time in 2000. Together again, Susanna Hoffs, Vicki and Debbi Peterson set out once more to create what would become the band’s fourth album, ‘Doll Revolution’, which was released in 2003.  With well over two decades behind them, The Bangles show no signs of fading away as they continue to tour and are currently working on their fifth album.

In 2006, music fans were in for a real treat as Hoffs teamed up with power-pop master Matthew Sweet for one of her most memorable projects to date. The duo set out to create a powerful album of their favorite songs of the 1960s which was titled, “Under the Covers, Vol. 1”. With the success of that album and the fact that they had so much fun creating it, it was only a matter of time before the duo would reconvene to create ‘Under the Covers, Vol. 2.’ This time around they have set out to explore the diverse sounds of the ’70s from power-pop, glam rock, progressive and classic rock. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Hoffs to discuss her past, her influences, her collaborations with Matthew Sweet and the status of the upcoming album from The Bangles.

How did music first come into your life?

My Mom says that as a baby, I had would rock and move around in the crib when I heard music and she would find the crib across the room. I have always been totally affected by music and I have always loved music. I think it was in elementary school that I got my first guitar. My uncle was a really good guitar player and he started to teach me how to play. I started writing songs when I was eight years old. I was always transfixed by music. I don’t know what it is about it but it has always moved me.

What drove you to make music your career?

hoffs_4When I was growing up I was very, very much involved with dancing, theater and all of the arts really. I was sort of exploring all of them. I was a very dedicated ballet dancer, starting in elementary school and into high school. I ended up going to UC Berkeley after high school and I started in the theater department. Then I switched to dance and then I ended up in the art department. It’s funny that a lot of musicians go to art school, but that is my story too. I think it was a combination of things. I think it was what was happening in the late seventies with punk rock. There was something about bands like The Ramones coming to prominence that made it feel like it was an obtainable goal, I think. [laughs]  As opposed to earlier stuff in the seventies where you would go to these giant stadiums to see bands like The Who or Led Zeppelin, where it seemed so far away and unreachable. There was something about the bands that were starting to emerge in the late-seventies that made you feel like “Wow! I could do that! I know four chords!” It was something that I had always dreamed of in away but I didn’t think that I could go for it until then. At that time, with a lot of those bands coming out of New York, it didn’t feel like it was about the music business or anything like that. It felt like it was coming out of an art movement. So for me, as a student of art, I connected with that. For me being in a band was kinda like doing an art project. I sorta thought of it in those terms. I never thought “I need to make a demo and get signed.” I wasn’t thinking about it in that way. I was thinking about it as an art form and how to express myself and using it as an extension of everything else that I had been studying and exploring.

Who and what were some of the influences that have helped shape you, the musician, that we know today?

I would say the Beatles have been one of the biggest influences all the way through. My parents were always into music. My mother particularly was into pop music and my father was more into classical. She brought home all of those records right when they came out, so my brothers and I were very obsessed with the Beatles. Growing up in Los Angeles, you are in the car a lot. You find yourself going from one end of town to the other, stuck in traffic and listening to the radio. My mom always played Top 40 radio, which was pretty amazing in the sixties! I got to hear everything from Bob Dylan to the Beatles to a lot of the great female singers like Petula Clark, Lulu, Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick singing all the great Burt Bacharach songs. I was influenced by a lot of things. In the seventies, I graduated into more rock stuff but also lots of singer/songwriter stuff. That is one thing that Matthew Sweet and I discovered in covering songs of the sixties and now the seventies on Under The Covers Vol. 2, is that the seventies were a very diverse era for music. It really covered everything. Including disco! [laughs] Rock, more mellow singer/songwriter stuff, punk rock and progressive rock, that decade it had it all. When we decided to cover the Yes song, “Your Move/All Good People,” that was a turning point in our way of looking at the record. We ended up recording 39 or 40 songs because we wanted to dive into all of those different genres. It was very difficult to figure out how to put them all together and which songs would end up on the record. We have a bunch of bonus tracks that will be coming out over the next month because we have covered so much material.

Under The Covers Vol. 2 is your second collaboration with Matthew Sweet. How did the two of you first get together?

hoffs_6I met Matthew in the nineties. I was a big fan of his music, particularly the Girlfriend record. I thought it was an astounding record, the sound, the songs and everything about it. The voice and the production were amazing. I had an opportunity to work with Fred Maher, who produced Girlfriend. I think I met Matthew in the studio and we just stayed in touch over the years. I was working on a solo record with Greg Leisz , who is all over the Under The Covers records. He is a phenomenal player who plays great pedal steel and lap steel. Matthew was doing a little acoustic show and Greg was playing with him. They invited me to come sing with them and I thought to invite Mike Meyers to see the show because I had a feeling that Mike would really like Matthew’s music. It turned out that I was right about that and Matthew, Mike and I started a little band, Ming Tea, just for fun. That band ended up being a way for Mike to work out his Austin Powers character. We approached the band as if it were in the sixties where we all had pseudonyms. It was a funny little thing but we ended up doing quite a bit of music for the Austin Powers movies. My friendship with Matt grew from that. The Bangles were doing a show for a charity at that same little venue where we had seen Matthew, called McCabe’s, we invited him to come sing with us. Matthew pulled me aside and said that he had heard, funnily enough, a couple of cover songs that I had done way back in 1983 or 1984. I had done a couple of Velvet Underground songs. One was a song that had been written by Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground had done back in the sixties called “I’ll Keep Up With Mine.” He had heard that song when he was in high school. He said that he had always had the idea that he wanted to work with me. I said “That’s fantastic! I would love to work with you on something!” It morphed from there to “Lets definitely make a record together!” and that became this series of cover records.

You have quite a few talented guest musicians on the new album, what can you tell us about that and how it came about?

hoffs8When we started approaching the song  “Your Move/All Good People,” we started to have this fantasy “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get Steve Howe from Yes to play the guitar parts!” Those parts are so specific to him, so difficult and he is so amazing. So, Matthew decided to explore on the internet and see if he could somehow find Steve that way. He went on the internet and found a site called something like “The Steve Howe Appreciation Society” and he wrote them an email. Sure enough, he got a response and it went from there. We were able to send the tapes to England and Steve played. It really felt good when he responded to our track and our vocals. We had all of the vocals on there and scratch guitars, but everything else was on there. It was so exciting for us! When we got the music back from him, it was just so magnificent, what he did. To me, only Steve Howe could play those parts. That started us thinking about getting in touch with Lindsay (Buckingham) who both Matthew and I know. Lindsay came over to my house, where I have a little studio, thanks to Matthew. He helped me put together a little studio at home so that I could occasionally work independently on our record. With the technology now, you can actually email stuff back and forth. It is quite amazing compared to how things were in the eighties. Things have really changed! Dhani Harrison (son of George Harrison), who I have known for a number of years because he came to a bunch of Bangles shows in England to our great delight and surprise, is on the album. I have stayed in touch with him through the years and have gotten to know him a lot better in the last year. I called him up and asked him if he would want to perform on one of his Dad’s songs, “Beware Of Darkness,” and he was so happy to come over and play guitar on that. It worked out really well!

hoffs_2Could we expect to see an
Under The Covers Vol. 3 in the future?

I would love it! That would be great!

Will you and Matthew be hitting the road in support of the album sometime soon?


The record comes out on July 21st, 2009 and we are singing and doing a Q&A at The Grammy Museum in LA. I have never actually been there before but they tell me that it is a very nice place. It is going to be a kinda of ‘Inside The Actor’s Studio’ type thing. That will be our first performance and we will be playing six or seven songs. Then we have a short run of shows, starting in September. We will be doing New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. We are also going to Chicago next week to play an acoustic thing. So far it is all very intimate venues with me, Matthew and probably one other guitar player, so we are approaching it as an acoustic thing right now and we’ll see what happens. Last time, when Under The Covers Vol. 1 came out, we played with a whole band and that was a lot of fun! This time we are just starting out with the acoustic shows and hopefully there will be more!

I understand that you are also headed to the studio to work on a new Bangles album. What can you tell us about that?

Yeah, The Bangles have been touring on and off for almost the last ten years now, but we have been focusing on playing live and not recording. We made a record in 2003 but it has been quite a few years now and we realized that we really have to buckle down and focus on it. We have been collecting songs for years for this record. We started the record a few months ago and we are about three songs in and are sorta doing them in batches of three and are about to dive into the next three. It is going incredibly well. I don’t know, I don’t want to put a deadline on it because I am going back and forth between doing the stuff with Matthew and doing Bangles stuff and doing my own stuff and I have got two kids so it is kind of a busy time! [laughs] Hopefully by the end of the year, at least the recording part of it will be done.

I am sure you have seen a lot over the years and probably have a tale or two to tell. Will we ever get an autobiography out of you to share any of those stories?

No one has ever asked me that! That is a really interesting question! Maybe! It is funny how you start to see things differently as you get older and you do have more perspective. I find myself realizing that I am forgetting stuff, so it is probably a really good idea to start writing stuff down before I do forget everything! [laughs] The Bangles have worked with many of the same crew that has been on the road with us for 25 years and sometimes one of them will say something like “Don’t you remember meeting Keith Richards?” and I’m like “Really? I met Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones?!!!” and he is like “Uh yeah, don’t you remember?!!!” I don’t know! [laughs] A lot happened! That was a very busy time for The Bangles! It could potentially become an absolute blur if I don’t think about it. It’s a good idea. Maybe Vicki, Debbi and I could write “The Bangles Story” or something. It’s an interesting question!

hoffs_9I was just curious if you personally or The Bangles have been approached for any reality television projects, especially with something like the recording of a new album.

I have been many, many, many times! [laughs] I have never really wanted to do it. There was a period of time where Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine, Vicki Peterson and I had an idea where we wanted to do a television show related to all girl bands. It was a concept that we had and were working on for a little while. We are good friends with those girls. It always struck us as strange that there weren’t more all-girl groups. I don’t mean girl singing groups, I mean bands that play and sing, write their own songs and play the instruments. I don’t know why there haven’t been that many. It is just so strange to me. You can count them all on one hand, the all-girl bands that have survived in the music business. I am not sure why it hasn’t become more of a natural thing. We never thought it was that big of a deal to be girls in a band. And we never thought of it as a novelty thing by the way. But yes, I have been approached but it is not something I want to do, at least not right now.

Looking back on your experiences with The Bangles, to what do you attribute the longevity of the band?

I think that it is because there is a certain chemistry between all of us and we have been so lucky that the records that we have made have somehow managed to stay in the culture. They represent something that continues to mean something to people. It is interesting to me, now that I have more perspective, how the eighties and songs like “Walk Like An Egyptian,” “Manic Monday,” “Hazy Shade of Winter,” and “Eternal Flame,” have a certain nostalgia that people have very strong memories toward, and a whole new generation of kids are discovering all of the songs from that period and they are very intrigued by it and the whole feeling of that era. That is a phenomenon that I have been noticing, because I have a 14 year old and a 10 year old son, and they are very aware of songs  because they keep resurfacing. The Bangles are constantly getting requests for the use of their music on things like ‘Family Guy’ and other things like that, ya know? They are out there and they are still played on the radio, so it’s great for us. There is a connection to the music and I think that there is something about that time period and the eighties that is kinda fun, fairly light hearted and a bit escapist. I think that now with things like the economy and the different situations going on in the world, people are looking for entertainment.

hoffs_5I would definitely agree with you on that.

Times are hard and I think that when times are hard there is something really appealing about escaping into fun music. I recently got satellite radio in my car and they have so many choices, ya know? For the sixties, the seventies and the eighties and so many cool stations. I find myself drifting to the eighties channel and I never thought I would say that because I am so obsessed with music from the sixties and seventies! Maybe it is a cyclical thing. I remember back in the seventies, there was this whole fascination with everything from the fifties. There were shows like ‘Happy Days’ and I remember that there would be school dances with fifties night and everyone would dress up in bobby socks, saddle shoes and the skirts. I don’t know, I wonder if it isn’t because things tend to go in cycles like that.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to those who are just starting out and considering making a career in the music industry?

I was talking about this recently and it ties into the covers records actually. I think for me, I came to music because I loved it and I am a music fan. I never really took lessons. I always kinda learned music, I don’t read music, and I learned by the old fashioned folk way of singing along to your favorite songs and learning to play songs that I liked. In a way, it was by learning to play covers of things that I liked that I figured out who I was. I taught myself that way, so I always suggest to people that if there are songs that you love, learn them! I think for Matthew and I, we sort of experienced music very much the same way. He was obsessed with music as a kid. In doing these covers records, we have gotten to deconstruct many of our favorite songs and figure out what they are all about and how they work, instead of just sitting back and listening to them. Now we have a new way of seeing them because of the way we had to learn and record them. Matthew played all the bass parts and it was really an interesting learning experience and process. So again, I always recommend to people that they learn how to play their favorite songs and it will help you when you sit down to write a song, having sort of studied your favorite songs.

Thanks for taking the time out to talk with us, Susanna!

Thank you so much!

– –

Want more of Susanna Hoffs and The Bangles?

Check out all the latest happenings with Susanna Hoffs and The Bangles by visiting their official site at www.thebangles.com.

Check out the official Myspace page for both volumes of ‘Under The Covers’ at www.myspace.com/sidnsusie.

Posted in Blog, Featured Stories, Interviews, MusicComments (2)