The Bangles brought 80s music fans a wealth of buoyant toe-tapping pop hits and poignant ballads. In 2003, after taking a decade apart, the band reformed and is continuing to share their magical signature sound with fans old and new. On July 24, the Examiner caught up with vocalist and guitarist Susanna Hoffs for a conversation about her California musical roots, The Beatles, the making of her new album, and the journey that brought her to “Someday”.
Many things have changed since The Bangles broke onto the rock and pop scene in the 80s, not the least of which is the music industry. One thing that hasn’t changed much at all is Hoffs. Sure the diminutive songstress has matured, married, and had kids. However, she still looks exactly the same as she did over a quarter century ago. She still plays her trademark Rickenbaker guitar. Her voice is just as unique and dynamic, and her personality and songwriting remain as upbeat and accessible as ever.
In 2011, Hoffs and her Bangles sisters, Vicki and Debbi Peterson released a new album, “Sweetheart of the Sun”. This year it’s Hoff’s turn to offer fans her third solo album, “Someday”, which was released on July 17 through her own Baroque Folk label.
“Someday” showcases the essence of who Hoffs is as a person and a songwriter. Her 60s musical roots shine through and remind us all of better days. The singer is thrilled to finally have it out for people to hear.
“It’s very exciting. I’m getting a very nice response. I can’t express how wonderful it is to get feedback when you’ve been sort of in a bubble working on something and then you release it to the world and hope for the best. It’s like the birth of a musical baby. To know that it’s connecting with people just means the world to me.”
Hoffs is a true California girl, and she is quick to acknowledge the impact that it has had on her as a person and a musician.
“I think when you’ve grown up in California there is a kind of aspect to that experience that is unique to the culture here. We don’t really have good rapid transit so you’re in a car and the radio is on, and that became the soundtrack for my childhood. That’s when I fell in love with music, as a little toddler sitting in the back of my Mom’s station-wagon, and listening to pop radio, which was so wonderful in the 60s.
I think that some sort of combination of the exposure to the music, not only on the car rides from here to there, but the fact that music was always playing in my household: For whatever reason it became not only kind of a soundtrack for my whole childhood—it just kind of put to music all of the experiences of growing up, and even through the 70s, the kind of coming of age years— it sort of informed everything. I became kind of obsessed with trying to teach myself to sing in my own little way of playing my favorite records at home on repeat, and singing along. And wanting to learn how to play guitar. And being kind of in the folk tradition of getting together with friends, and we would all teach each other songs we knew, with not really any formal education, but with kind of a passion that never really went away.”
For “Someday” Hoffs tapped into that 60s vibe like never before, and she co-wrote the majority of the album with a Nashville songwriter, Andrew Brassell who is only 27.
“It was interesting when I started this writing process with Brassell. I was just amazed that he was so familiar with music of the 60s. Because it had always been the musical glue for me with my partners in The Bangles. That’s what started the band. It was the beginning of the 80s, but we were all obsessed with The Beatles and the 60s. Cut to however many years later, I ran into this young musician from Nashville and we’re both talking about and referencing 60s music. So it’s just one of those things that stands out as a Golden Age of music and culture.”
Hoffs also talked about the writing process behind “Someday”, working with producer Mitchell Froom, the free EP she made for fans, her favorite Beatles records, and she even divulged a secret about herself.
Listen to the entire interview at left. Pick up your copy of “Someday”, and go download your free copy of “Some Summer Days” at NoiseTrade.com
Hoffs is married to film producer and director Jay Roach who made the “Austin Powers” films, the “Meet the Parents” trilogy, and the new film, “The Campaign”.