Hand-selected from their personal archives, the Bangles’ new album, Ladies and Gentlemen . . . The Bangles!, is a 16-track collection of re-mastered Eighties-era rarities, demos and live recordings from the band that would burst out of the Paisley Underground music scene and into pop/rock super-stardom.
Unavailable for nearly 35 years, this “new” album, which is set for a June 24 release, includes their debut single, “Getting Out of Hand” (when they were called the Bangs), as well as all of the tracks from their self-titled EP, which was produced by Craig Leon (Ramones/Blondie).
With elements of Motown and punk-inspired beats as well as their trademark, jangly guitar sound and deep harmonies, Ladies and Gentlemen… The Bangles is as real and raw as it gets. Reminding us all just how connected Susanna Hoffs (vocals/guitar), Vicki Peterson (guitar/vocals) and Debbi Peterson (drums/vocals) still are to the music that inspired them.
I recently spoke with Hoffs and Peterson about the project, their careers, gear and more.
What made you decide to revisit your first EP?
Hoffs: It was the right time and we really wanted to make the music available to people. We had originally released the music digitally a few years ago but never got around to putting it into any other format. So when Omnivore Recordings approached us about revisiting it, we knew it was a cool idea.
Peterson: Part of the charm of this record is the distance of looking back and the perspective of what it sounds like. A lot of these songs were covers that we actually played in our live set at the time, and some of them like “Outside Chance” and “Steppin’ Out” pre-date The Bangs. I wanted to get the EP back out into the world again because I’m really proud of it. This album is very reflective of the things we love musically and why we became a band in the first place.
Hoffs: Whenever we do those songs in our set they take us full circle, but they’re just as fresh to us now as they were then. It’s the most core Bangles material that exists.
Let’s discuss a few of those tracks. What can you tell me about “Bitchen Summer/Speedway”?
Hoffs: That song actually pre-dates the Bangs. David Roback (Rain Parade/Mazzy Star) and I were really into surf stuff and started my very first band. David took that sound and “Mazzy Starred” it into a song we called “Speedway.” It was one that I brought in during the early period of the Bangs and we crafted it more.
“I’m in Line”
Hoffs: That was one of the first songs that we all wrote together as a band. It had Mamas and the Papas harmony but with a Motown feel underneath in the rhythm section.
How much influence did being part of the Paisley Underground have on you?
Peterson: It was a huge influence. Part of it was because it was a community of friends who were all inspired by the same kind of music. There was a musical aspect where I’d just get blown away by the anarchy and freedom that I heard on stage. It definitely influenced the way I approach guitar.
Hoffs: All of the work that we did to form the band and create our sound stemmed from our influences, and that’s what we shared with many of the bands we found ourselves working with. The fact that we found other like-minded musicians and that it caught on as a scene was an acknowledgement that things were going our way. It really developed a big following and there was this great feeling of community and camaraderie.
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Interview with Susanna Hoffs & Vicki Peterson By Clicking Here!