The Bangles en The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs Discusses New '80s-Themed 'Under the Covers' Album with Matthew Sweet <!--paging_filter--><p>For <em>"Sid 'n Susie Under the Covers, Vol. 3: The '80s</em>, Susanna Hoffs' third album of cover songs with power popper Matthew Sweet, the Bangles vocalist/guitarist stuck to a decade that was very kind to her — the 1980s.</p> <p>Unlike the duo's two previous albums, which focused on material from the '60s and '70s, <em>Under the Covers, Vol. 3</em> relies less on mainstream hits and focuses more on deeper album tracks. </p> <p>Along the way, Hoffs and Sweet paint a broad spectrum of sonic art — complete with totally gnarly renditions of tunes by artists including Roxy Music, the Smiths, XTC, Lindsey Buckingham and R.E.M.</p> <p>I recently spoke to Hoffs about the new album, which will be available November 12. We also discussed a few of her favorite memories from the '80s.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How did you and Matthew Sweet decide which songs to cover for this album?</strong></p> <p>Because we're both fans of the music, it was so easy to pick songs. The hard part was actually trying to stop [laughs]. Musically it was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun finding ways to reinvent the songs and put our own stamp on them. We also got to think outside of the box because we approached things as a duet. It gave us a chance to really get into the emotion of the songs. </p> <p><strong>What was the recording process like?</strong></p> <p>We did a lot of the writing and arranging via Skype. Matthew would put together tracks in various stages and send them to me and then I would go crazy on harmonies. The whole project was really full of many spontaneous moments.</p> <p><strong>Can you give us an update on your tour schedule?</strong></p> <p>Matthew and I will be doing some touring for the new album in 2014. The Bangles will also be reuniting with a group of bands that formed the Paisley Underground on December 5 and 6. We'll be doing two shows, and I'm really looking forward to that as well!</p> <p><strong>Can you tell us how the Bangles originated?</strong></p> <p>I was in college majoring in dance and theater and it just so happened to be around the same time that Patti Smith, the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads all came out. I was living in the Bay area at the time and remember going to see all of these really great bands. </p> <p>I decided to switch my major to art and figured out that what I wanted for my art project; the thing that was a combination of theater, dance and visual was being in a band. Once I got back to LA in 1980, I saw an ad in the local throwaway that eventually hooked me up with Vicki Peterson [Bangles guitarist]. We instantly bonded over the Beatles and '60s music. Even though it was the beginning of the '80s, our sound was all '60s influenced. That's how it started.</p> <p><strong>What was it like for you when the Bangles opened for Queen on the Magic tour in 1986?</strong></p> <p>It was the most amazing memory I have of my whole Bangles career. It was festival season in Europe and we opened for Queen, playing in front of 100,000 people. Then we got to watch them perform their entire set from the side of the stage. It was like a religious experience [laughs]. When Freddie Mercury was on stage, it was like his whole being was in complete absorption. Just his connection with the audience, his showmanship and body language. Every cell in his body was into that performance. For me to see that at close range is something I'll never forget.</p> <p><Strong>Do you have any advice to offer up and coming musicians?</strong></p> <p>Writing is key. That's your true, authentic expression. But also make sure that you learn to play your favorite songs and learn from other musicians. I spent much of my youth playing and singing along to records by Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt and the Beatles. I think most musicians start out as fans, but the passion becomes so great that you can't contain it. When you love something that much, it's not enough to just listen to it. You have to be a part of it.</p> <p>Have you ever given thought to writing a book about your life?</p> <p>A lot of people have asked me about writing a memoir, but right now I'm into just being in the present. I feel fortunate to have records out three years in a row now [2011's <em>Sweetheart of the Sun</em> (Bangles); 2012's <em>Someday</em> (solo) and 2013's <em>Under The Covers, Vol. 3</em>]. It's keeping me so busy that I don't really want to stop just yet, but I also don't want those memories to fade. I like thinking back, but also want to keep moving forward.</p> <p><em>For more about <em>Under the Covers</em>, visit the project's <a href="">Facebook page.</a> Visit on Facebook <a href="">HERE</a> and Sweet on Facebook <a href="">HERE.</a></em></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></p> James Wood Matthew Sweet Susanna Hoffs The Bangles Interviews News Features Fri, 25 Oct 2013 21:40:18 +0000 James Wood Interview: Guitarist Vicki Peterson Discusses Influences and The Bangles' Latest Album, 'Sweetheart of The Sun' <!--paging_filter--><p>Bangles' guitarist Vicki Peterson is no stranger to royalty. The stunning beauty has rubbed elbows and played alongside some of the giants of rock and pop over the course of her career. </p> <p>Her tasty guitar work, soulful vocals and songwriting prowess continue to be an inspiration to male and female musicians.</p> <p>The Bangles’ latest album, 2011's <em>Sweetheart of The Sun</em> (<a href="">Buy on iTunes</a>), pays homage to their '60s-era music roots and proves they're still a force to be reckoned with. </p> <p>With a catalog of hits, catchy guitar riffs and the crystalline harmonies of Vicki, sister Debbi Peterson and Susanna Hoff, the eternal flame The Bangles lit 30 years ago shows no indication of ever going out.</p> <p>I had the chance to speak with Peterson and discuss the new Bangles album as well as her journey from garage to rock royalty; including the time the band performed at a castle opening up for Queen. She also gives words of advice to aspiring female guitarists and the story of how a Prince once told her "Manic Monday" was going to be a smash.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: A lot of people may not know this, but The Bangles once opened for Queen back in 1986. What was that experience like?</strong></p> <p>That definitely remains one of the highlights of my career. It was a magical setting for a concert. At a castle and in a muddy, rainy meadow (It was in the afternoon and raining while we were on). From the stage, there were people for as far as the eye could see. After we played our set, which was so insane and surreal, we got to stand on the side of the stage and watch them do their thing. They were the ultimate band.</p> <p><strong>Your latest album, <em>Sweetheart of The Sun</em>, pays homage to the band's shared love of '60s-era music.</strong></p> <p>We really enjoyed the process of making that album. We worked with Matthew Sweet in his home studio and tracked most of the songs there. He is such a pure rock spirit, an enthusiast on so many levels.</p> <p><strong>Who were some of your musical influences growing up?</strong></p> <p>Artists like Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt and The Beatles all inspired me. I was really listening a lot to what George Harrison was doing. I wasn't the kid in the room learning the solos as much as I was just learning the song craft. In high school, I became a big fan of Joni Mitchell and still am to this day. She continues to amaze me on every level, especially with her tuning. It really gave me the sense that you can approach the guitar on many different levels creatively.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Did you find it difficult being a girl and growing up playing a sort-of "male dominated" instrument?</strong></p> <p>It didn't feel that way to me. To me, guitar was an accompaniment. My early days were more about writing; I learned how to play to write songs. That morphed into high school and being in a band. It was an easy call for me to be a musician and an easy call to be in an all-girl band because it just made sense to me. My idols were The Beatles; I knew I wanted that.</p> <p><strong>How did you get connected with Susanna?</strong></p> <p>Debbi and I were in a band back in high school and that year, our bass player went off to London to attend school and our lead guitar player just wasn't working out. So, it was basically just Debbi and me and through a crazy series of communications, I ended up "meeting" Susanna over the phone.</p> <p><strong>What was it like the first time you three got together?</strong></p> <p>I still remember the first time we went over to Susanna's house. We sat down in her parents' garage and played together, and I realized immediately how well Susanna's voice blended with Debbi and me. Susanna has such a beautiful tone, and she also played rhythm guitar. It was just the perfect fit.</p> <p><strong>Do you have any advice for aspiring female players?</strong></p> <p>I want to encourage girls who are thinking about playing to just do it. If you're apprehensive because the guitar feels big and scary, check out Daisy Rock guitars. We have a signature model that I play at every show. It speaks so nicely and has a great, pure tone. It's very playable. I didn't have that when I was nine and learning how to play. Also, don't get discouraged. Learning to play is a process, so enjoy it. Find others to play with because that makes it more fun too!</p> <p>My hope is there will come a day when no girl ever has the issue of walking into a guitar store and the guy behind the counter looks at you strangely and says, "So, what kind of strings does your boyfriend use?" That's when you can say, "I don't know about him, but I use light tops and heavy bottoms!" [Laughs]</p> <p><strong>What’s next for The Bangles?</strong></p> <p>We have a few dates coming up in October and are planning something more expansive for next summer! In the meantime, I'm hoping to get started on writing another album. It's an exciting time.</p> <p><strong>Tell me a good Bangles rock and roll story.</strong></p> <p>We had several encounters with Prince. He sent over the song "Manic Monday" and after we had heard it, we decided to record it.<br /> One day, shortly before the song was released, we were in rehearsals for the tour when all of a sudden, in walks Prince. He was with Wendy [Melvoin] and I remember they both just kind of walked in really quietly and sat down. We were all a bit in shock looking at each other and were like, "Oh God ... Prince is at our rehearsal!" [Laughs]</p> <p>It was just the four of us and we didn't have our keyboard player with us at the time. The keyboard player plays the little harpsichord riff in the song, so what I did was emulate the riff on the guitar. We played the song for him and afterwards he just looked at us, put his finger up and said "It's a hit!" and then walked out as mysteriously as he came in. [Laughs]</p> <p><strong>Keep up with The Bangles on <a href="">Facebook.</a></strong></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href=""></a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.</em></p> Daisy Rock James Wood The Bangles Vicki Peterson Interviews News Features Tue, 25 Sep 2012 15:20:07 +0000 James Wood