Bangles bandleader Susanna Hoffs says she had no recent plans to record a solo album. But the new, 1960s-sophisticated “Someday” boasts the Petula Clark-jangly “November Sun,” a Lulu-delicate “Picture Me” and Beatles-bubbly “Raining” and “One Day”— all produced by her old pal Mitchell Froom.
She had been busy promoting her group’s 2011 comeback “Sweetheart of the Sun,” and looking after her two sons with her filmmaker husband Jay Roach.
“I was rushing around like this crazy mother-Bangle person who was always multitasking way too much,” she says. “But maybe I landed in the exact spot where I was supposed to be at this point.”
How did “Someday” spark to life? Blame it on her family’s open-door policy with their Los Angeles guest room, says Hoffs, who plays Red Devil Lounge on Thursday.
First, her Tennessee niece Miranda Hoffs came out to stay, after graduating from Vanderbilt. Then, her friends started flying in too.
“One of them was this 27-year-old guy, Andrew Brassell, a guitar player from the indie club scene in Nashville, and we all took to him right away,” she says. “Then he decided to move out here, and our room was available, so we said he could stay there for a while. And he kind of distracted me, his always being around with a guitar — he had nothing else to do but play music.”
After watching his benefactor scurrying to and fro each dizzy day, Brassell finally told her to stop, sit down and grab her six-string so they could compose some songs: “Something happened when I started writing with this kid — he kind of snapped me out of that reality and into a new one,” Hoffs says.
“Picture Me” was their first collaboration, and it snowballed from there. Still, she didn’t go public with her project until she bumped into Froom at the Largo club.
“I first met Mitchell back in the ’80s, when he played keyboards on the Bangles’ ‘Different Light’ record — he played that famous riff on ‘Manic Monday,’” says Hoffs, who tentatively informed him of her new solo material.
“He said he wanted to hear it, and I thought he was just being polite. But two days later, he called me up, saying, ‘Yeah — I really meant it!’ So the whole thing was very organic. Everything just fell into place.”
Hoffs — drop-dead gorgeous at 53 — also cut four bonus tracks with Froom, covering songs by Rockpile, the Beatles, the Zombies and the Janettes. “I went to his studio and we did a song a day, live, just singing in a room with a band,” she says. “It was sooo old school, and the most fun week, ever.”