Susanna Hoffs is awesome, and I met up with her during Sirius XM Radio’s Bangles Artist Confidential event held in NYC.
The singer, who has been married to Bruno director Jay Roach since 1993, hit the big time along in the mid-1980s with Bangles songs including Manic Monday, Eternal Flame and Hazy Shade of Winter.
What was Susanna’s favorite mistake?
“I’ve always sort of brazenly said to other musicians ‘well, The Bangles are good background singers, and we can perform with you if you ever want background vocals – three part harmonies,’” she tells me in the studio after her performance with fellow Bangles Vicki and Debbi Peterson.
“Just as a fluke, back in 1988, we happened to be staying in New York. We were opening for George Michael at a huge stadium, and I’m wandering around the hotel sort of just bored and alone and trying to amuse myself. I’m standing in the lobby, and I see this band pull up and these guys get out of the van. I say to myself ‘oh my God, it’s the Grateful Dead.’ And they had shown up because they were staying at the same hotel.”
“Little did I know but they had a show the same night as us, which was going to be the last night. So, the last person comes out of the van, and I go up to him and say ‘is that the Grateful Dead?’ and he’s like ‘yeah it is. I’m their tour manager.’ And I say ‘oh my God, I’m in The Bangles and we’re here, and I’m such a Grateful Dead fan and bloddy-blah. And he invited us to a party – like a barbecue thing that they were having the next night. So we got to meet them, we’re sitting around, and I say ‘well, we’re opening for George Michael, but we do three-part harmonies if you want girl singers to sing with you.’ And Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir go ‘yeah, sure!’”
“And the other girls are looking at me like ‘big mouth, what are you doing? That’s so crass’ or whatever. Sure enough, they invited us to their show and we sang with them.”
“That was a really great mistake, that I was being really crass and inviting myself to sing with them in some way.”