Friday, September 23, 2011

The Bangles 'Sweetheart' album release party

Model Music Group
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend The Bangles' exclusive release party for their new album "Sweetheart of the Sun," due in stores next week. Hosted by the band's new label, Model Music Group, it was held in Hollywood.

The location? The iconic Capitol Records tower, inside a room where The Beatles did a mid-1960s press conference (that was my first time back to the building since interviewing Neil Finn of Crowded House in 1993 at one of Sinatra's old studios).

KROQ/106.7 FM's veteran DJ Rodney on the Roq emceed a fun Q&A session where they recalled how he gave the Bangles (then known as the Bangs) their first LA radio airplay, the price of their first recording session ($35), why they had to change the name, the time when Rodney escorted singer Susanna Hoffs to a music awards show and the band ended up performing on it the next year.

Hoffs also shared her excitement about the time The Bangles played across the street at the Hollywood Palace (now Avalon) and Prince jumped onstage to guest with them. 

Lead guitarist Vicki Peterson (see my July interview with her elsewhere on this blog) talked about what an easy time they had recording the new album with co-producer Matthew Sweet and Hoffs marveled about all the instruments he has at his home studio. Finally, they threw it out to the audience, which asked questions about Desert Island Discs (Hoffs: The Beatles' "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver"; Peterson: Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend") and their kids' favorite music.

Sweet was among the VIPs in attendance at the party, alongside the album's mixer: legendary sound man Jim Scott, the Go-Go's guitarist Charlotte Caffey (she co-penned one of the new songs) and '80s pop star Debbie Gibson. 

Assisted by their regular touring keyboardist and bassist, The Bangles did a short acoustic set including "Manic Monday" and three numbers from the blissful "Sweetheart" release: "Under a Cloud," "I'll Never Be Through With You" (the Caffey co-write, which Peterson joked was about a stalker) and "Anna Lee."

I was in the front row and hearing the ladies' heavenly harmonies up close was simply amazing.  

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