Click the link below for this specific internet radio music stream available only on Saturdays. Join us every Saturday 8PM to 11PM East Coast Time / 5PM to 8PM West Coast Time as we let our hair hang down in
  • The Time Machine Radio Chat Room
  • . Live every Saturday.




    Nushu's Lisa Mychols and Tom Richards from The Waking Hours welcome you to The Time Machine



    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Adam Marsland and His Bangles Blog




    Rocker Adam Marsland drops by in a reflective mood.

    I've got that fall feeling lately -- that beautiful melancholy that makes you look back and forward simultaneously, being aware of what's gone by and bringing the desire to accomplish more.

    OK, some people call that a depression. But I prefer to think of it as inspiration.

    So why am I obsessively watching Bangles videos on youtube?


    The Time Machine


    It's not because I think they're a good band -- I do, but they're only on my all-time favorites list if you limit it to the '80s. I'm not particularly obsessive about girl bands either. And when I went to see them play at the House of Blues earlier this year, I enjoyed myself but wasn't blown away (and though I'm glad Abby Travis got the bass gig with them, I missed seeing Michael Steele, who I always thought was kinda hot. Although Debbie Peterson has aged awfully well...she could almost be the poster girl for MILF). Actually, their strength as a live band was their weakness -- they sounded for all the world like a scrappy garage band from the South Bay, for better or for worse. Which, once upon a time, they were.


    The Time Machine


    So I've been thinking about what the Bangles represent to me and why I'm watching all these videos and realize that in a funny way they sum up a sense of a time lost that I was just prescient enough to be aware of at the time but completely missed. The early LA music scene that the Bangles sprung out of has always fascinated me, from the first time I saw "Valley Girl" as a teenager in upstate New York and marveled at that cool band that were playing at the seedy bar -- a band that ten years later I'd be opening for just down the street, the Plimsouls. It always seemed like it must have been such a magic time, and the music was incredible. Later, I was to encounter and become friends with many of the architects and fans of that scene...Joe Nolte of the Last (who supposedly had a bit of a fling with Susanna Hoffs), Michael Quercio, Gwynne Khanne, Paul Collins, Kim Shattuck, not to mention people like Gwynne Garfinkle and B. Belinda who saw the whole thing... I even was casually friends with onetime Bangles bassist Annette Zalinskas for awhile. So in some ways, from the oral history and from playing around and with all these people, and also from taking part in the Poptopia movement which was something of an early '80s revival, it feels like I could have been there. But I wasn't. I was a kid, in upstate New York...granted, I was pretty young then, but I had a hip older brother who was a musician, and if I'd been more of a partier, I could have at least been down in New York watching the east coast new wave bands happen. But I wasn't.


    The Time Machine


    I have a VHS tape of the Bangs (later Bangles) playing with the Salvation Army (later the 3 O'Clock), bashing away at some little dive in Huntington Beach and I really do relate to it. Watch the earliest videos on youtube of the band playing local music shows...you see how scruffy and authentically retro they were...Susanna Hoffs was a total ragmuffin, and a real spaz to boot, completely different from her later persona. Short, poofy early '60s hair, teardrop guitars, scarves...not for nothing was this scene called the Pasiley Underground.

    The Time Machine


    If the early Bangles represent an era that I couldn't possibly have been a part of, the later, glossy, major label Bangles represent an era that I just missed, caught a glimpse of but could not be a part of because I was too young and too confused about who I was. And come to think of it that line in "My Kickass Life" about "looking stupid in front of my heroes" refers in my mind mostly to a time, before I learned how to behave like something other than a fan boy, when I accosted Vicki Peterson at Club Lingerie and asked her what her favorite Beach Boys album was (although asking Peter Case if he wrote "World Shut Your Mouth" is a close second in the making an ass out of yourself sweepstakes).

    The Time Machine


    The Time Machine


    When I arrived in L.A. I was just out of high school and I witnessed the tail end of the staggering L.A. hair band movement. Back in New York, the Bangles had been one of the few tolerable bands on hit radio, and since I had yet to be exposed to anything recent that was really good (lucky me, I lived in the only part of the northeast that didn't have a good college radio station), the Bangles served as a bridge between the world of art and commerce. The Bangles themselves were in a similar situation -- forced by the suits to doll up in full '80s garb, dominated in the studio by outside songwriters, producers and session musicians -- in the completely unorganic environment of the '80s record industry, the fact that the Bangles managed to negotiate this divide and in fact make some classic records AND hold on to some of their dignity is remarkable. That's because, as is obvious both from their early work and from Hoffs' recent album with Matthew Sweet, they never lost track of what their roots were. But for a time, it must have been hard to remember with all the big hair and '80s pageantry. But it can't be denied they also summed up that era of glitz as well. So I relate to this version of lost L.A. -- one I caught a glimpse of as a new arrival before it vanished -- in a more bittersweet way, because this time, I really was there, if only for a few moments.



    The Time Machine


    And then, the Bangles were gone...and I finally found Raji's, and Vicki Peterson's and Pete Holsapple's new project, the Continental Drifters (one of the inspirations for the Chaos Band), with people like Darian and Probyn hanging out in the audience, and at long last I found the place I should be. Of course, it took quite a few years after that to find the kind of social skills to actually take my place in that world and not just be an odd interloper -- to, like Susanna Hoffs did 10 years before, go from the scruffy spaz to the glamor persona to just being me and doing my thing.


    The Time Machine


    So I guess I relate to the Bangles -- but not just to how they looked, or what they represent to my own personal timeline, but to how the best of their music reached back into the past and pulled something out moving, poignant and aching. Ludlow 6:18 was my best album, and it was all about that fall sense of loss...but the Bangles had already done it. "Dover Beach" -- wow. Or how about "The Real World," a fierce guitar pop tune with Susanna Hoffs showing real grit -- who knew she could sing like that? Or "Hazy Shade of Winter", which completely stomped Simon and Garfunkel's original into the ground? Or "Hero Takes A Fall" with that incredible major-to-major 7th chorus and Vicki Peterson's wonderfully dissonant guitar solo (no question she played that one!). Hell, on their final album (until their recent comeback), they even looked back on their own lost L.A. with the "Glitter Years," which told tales of Rodney's English Disco, Kim Fowley, and the kind of streetsmart, pubescent feminism that defined that era of L.A.


    The Time Machine


    So, yeah, it's fall. There are a lot of things that we've experienced, first and second hand, that it makes us happy to think about and reflect on, and to be sad about that they're no longer there. And sometimes it feels good to feel a little sad. The Bangles taught me that.

    The Time Machine


    Official Website for The Bangles



    The Time Machine





    Posted by Adam Marsland


    Adam was a great guest on "The Time Machine" a few months back. You can hear this talented singer-songwriter rock out in the form of Adam Marsland and His Chaos Band during his interview with Michael McCartney all this week at The Best and The Worst of The Time Machine online at Live365.




    Official Website for Adam Marsland



    The Time Machine

    The Time Machine

    Friday, November 10, 2006 at 5:48 PM

    As one of our most played artists (what radio programmers refer to as "core artists"), their music has filled our lives for the last 25 years with much joy and appreciation. Their last album "Doll Revolution" and the latest from Sue and Matthew continues that tradition.



    0 Comments:

    Post a Comment

    << Home