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Bangles frontwoman speaks about ‘Someday’

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 5:03 p.m. CDT
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(Provided photo)
Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 6 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago.

The Bangles frontwoman Susanna Hoffs shows a more introspective side on her new solo album, “Someday.”

Hoffs will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 6 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets start at $40 and are available at www.citywinery.com.

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Hoffs about her new album.
Eric Schelkopf: Of course, you are touring on the back of this new solo album, “Someday.” I understand you have been trying to release the album for a while, but touring with The Bangles got in the way.

Susanna Hoffs: It was a long time coming. It was a dream I was kind of holding in my head and my heart, I guess. I was just waiting for the right time. And then I just got lucky. Things fell into place.

ES: I see that The Bangles still have two dates this month, on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, and that you kick off your own tour on Oct. 29. Is that going to be weird?

SH: A little bit, only because I do different reinventions of Bangles songs. It’s going to be fine. I hope I can just switch gears in my head and not make mistakes while I’m performing, because it could be a little bit confusing if I’m not careful.

ES: With this new album, I understand your goals were to release something honest and something really coming from your heart and soul. Do you think you achieved that?

SH: I do. The first goal was just to make a solo record. I kept putting it on the back burner. A lot of the songs I had been writing ended up on Bangles records, and that was all fine, and I was so thrilled to have the band back in business and touring the world, and it’s been great. Because it is a different thing when you do a solo project versus when you make music within a band context. It’s an opportunity to dive into a little more personal perspective on things.

ES: The Bangles released a new album last year, “Sweetheart of the Sun,” which kind of has a ’60s vibe, like “Someday.” Is that just a coincidence?

SH: I think the ’60s has always been kind of the musical glue for The Bangles, and it’s always been the era that stands out for me particularly. For me, the ’60s was the period where I kind of fell in love with music. I think The Beatles were kind of my first musical crush, and so you don’t ever get over that first love. I don’t think I ever have, and probably never will.

ES: I understand you are also heavily influenced by the ’70s music scene.
SH:
The music scene at that time, in the late ’70s, is very much what made me want to be in a band. It was bands like The Ramones, Blondie, The Talking Heads, The Jam, Patti Smith and The Sex Pistols. I don’t think I would have actually made music my career if it wasn’t for those bands.

ES: What did they do for you?

SH: Well, I just started to go see this music live and I started to realize that there was this very vibrant scene that was very much like an art project versus commerce. It didn’t seem like it was even the music business. It felt like a genuine art movement to me that was happening from the streets. There was a cultural revolution, almost like when the British Invasion happened, and bands from the club scene in the U.K. took the world by storm. I was fortunately in college at the time, when your life is still ahead of you. It was a very impressionable era for me, falling in love with music and seeing it in a new way, like in a real way. I went and saw Patti Smith and I was like, “I want to do that.” It was a very big part of my life.

ES: So, what is it like being a member of The Bangles today versus when the band first started out?

SH: Well, so many things have never really changed. A lot of the things that inspired us to be a band in the first place continue to, and I think that’s why on the album, “Sweetheart of the Sun,” we are kind of going back to our musical roots as kids growing up in Los Angeles area in the ’60s and ’70s.

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