With raw elements of Motown, surf/punk-inspired beats as well as their trademark jangly guitar sound, The Bangles “new” album, Ladies and Gentlemen… The Bangles is a tasty time capsule of groove from the most recognizable band to come out of the Paisley Underground.
The album features all of the tracks from the The Bangles’ original EP (unavailable for more than thirty years) as well as their debut single, “Getting Out of Hand” – from when they were still called The Bangs. The 16-track collection also includes re-mastered rarities, demos and live recordings.
In celebration of the album’s release, The Bangles - Susanna Hoffs (vocals/guitar), Vicki Peterson (guitar/vocals) and Debbi Peterson (drums/vocals) will embark on an intimate East Coast summer tour that will showcase the music to their legions of diehard fans as well as introduce a side of the band many may not be aware of.
AXS recently spoke with guitarist Vicki Peterson about The Bangles “new” album and summer tour as well as Peterson’s side project, Action Skulls.
AXS: How has reaction been to the new album, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Bangles?
Vicki Peterson: We’ve had incredible reaction and it’s been great. People love the idea that this is a band you thought you knew but now come to find you may not really know them at all. It’s a cool album for the diehard fans, but it’s also cool for fans who’ve only known one side of The Bangles. To me, this is an authentic take on what this band is all about. It reminds me of where we started and the things that brought us together in the first place. That’s a powerful thing to hold on to.
AXS: What was it like getting a chance to revisit some of the music you made together so early in your career?
VP: I love this music. It’s really near and dear to my heart. It’s fun to play and is fast and loud. It’s all of those good things!
AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from the album. What can you tell me about the track, “I’m In Line”?
VP: That one started as an idea that Debbi had –and as many of these songs were, this one was based on a true romantic situation. Susanna and I got together with her and helped her develop it.
AXS: “Mary Street”?
VP: When Susanna and I would get together to write, we’d often write about an imaginary universe of fictional stories and characters. “Mary Street” was our version of the song “Georgy Girl.” She was a young woman who hadn’t figured out what her super powers were yet. She wasn’t sure how to be in the world, but she was on the verge.
AXS: “Getting Out of Hand”?
VP: That was a song I wrote even before The Bangs. It’s an old song, but has a great groove and the way it feels and plays is very “Banglish.”
AXS: What’s your songwriting process like - does it begin with a melody or lyric idea? A guitar hook? What inspires you when you write?
VP: It’s all of the above. Sometimes I’ll become intrigued by something I’ll overhear and it will spark an idea. Then I’ll write a story in my head and translate it into music. Other times, it may just be from playing around on guitar and finding a cool riff. Recently, I’ve been investigating the other side of the universe where you get together with someone you really don’t know and you just write a song in a hour. It’s interesting because I’ve never really written like that before.
AXS: This summer marks the 30th anniversary of The Bangles performance at Slane Castle opening for Queen. What was that experience like?
VP: We all cite that day as one of the highlights of our career. It couldn’t have been any stranger or more wonderful. It was this rain soaked, muddy crowd of tens of thousands of people. From the stage, it was so huge that you couldn’t see the humanity at the end of the expanse of crowd. People were having the best time, and then the sun came out. Then getting the chance to stand in the wings and watch Queen perform was such a huge gift!
AXS: Can you give me an update on your new project with John Cowsill and Bill Mumy - Action Skulls?
VP: We’re putting the finishing touches on guitars and then will begin the mixing process. We’re hoping it will be finished by the fall and will be ready to escape. It’s loose and guitar driven with a lot of harmonies.
AXS: Are there any other projects you’re working on?
VP: Things seem to be popping up all the time lately. I’ve got several projects I’m currently working on with music and film. It’s always fascinating to experience life when it’s full of twists and turns and surprises. You never know what’s going to happen!
The Bangles 2016 Tour Dates
August 19 – Huntington, NY
August 20 – Philadelphia, PA
August 21 – Washington, DC
August 23 – Annapolis, MD
August 24 – Annapolis, MD
August 26 – Ridgefield, CT
August 27 – New York, NY
August 28 – Newton, NJ