Bangles photo Ritz 1984 1500 crop

the night I saw the bangles and didn’t know who they were

WAY BACK IN 1984, way back when people ac­tu­ally be­lieved in “trickle-down eco­nomics,” I was living in Scotts­dale, Ari­zona. I had suc­cumbed to the ubiq­ui­tous peer pres­sure ques­tion of “Why do you live in the past when it comes to music?” and pur­chased a couple of al­bums by the Psy­che­delic Furs. While I thought the use of the word “psy­che­delic” in their name may have been ironic, I nonethe­less liked their post-punk British rock-pop. 1

When the Furs came to play at the Mesa Am­phithe­atre, N and I sprang for tickets. This was a big deal for us as we tended not to like live rock music be­cause it had gotten so loud, while the au­di­ences were get­ting equally loud and the often rude and ob­nox­ious. 2

 

This was orig­i­nally pub­lished on this site in 2015 as “I Thought They Were The Bangs, Not The Ban­gles.” It has been rewritten and ex­panded.

 

It was a damn near per­fect Ari­zona evening and we got there early to find choice spots on the grassy in­cline looking down into the stage. I don’t have total re­call, but we were al­most cer­tainly high and pos­sibly sharing a piece of acidized paper (those were the days).

The show got un­derway when a group of girls with in­stru­ments found their way onto the stage. I choose those words care­fully: “girls” be­cause they looked young and they were dressed like girls rather than women. And I say “found” be­cause they looked and acted like they had just been jarred out of a long nap after a long, hard night hit­ting the bars.

The group’s name was not known to us, as they weren’t even listed on the tickets for the show that we had pur­chased. N and I pre­pared for the worst.

 

Bangles GettingOutOfHand 1 ps 500

Bangles GettingOutOfHand 1 label yellow 600

Get­ting Out Of Hand / Call On Me (DownKiddie DK-001) was orig­i­nally re­leased cred­ited to the Bangs on the record la­bels and the pic­ture sleeve. The yellow label record with the pic­ture sleeve has a sug­gested NM value of $100-150. As this seems to be the most valu­able of the two press­ings cred­ited to the Bangs, I as­sume it is the first pressing.

Rough but fine harmonies

I don’t re­member their opening number nor do I care what their “setlist” was. I re­member them doing the Grass Roots’ Where Were You When I Needed You and a few other ’60s clas­sics. We were pleas­antly sur­prised by the lead singers’ ringing voices, the rough but fine har­monies, and the band’s in­stru­mental chops. 3

And how could we not like any­thing that even hinted at sounding like the Six­ties?

While we told each other how much we were en­joying this group, a young woman sit­ting near us said they were the Bangs (sic) and their first album, ALL OVER THE PLACE, had come out re­cently. She as­sured us that if we liked this, then we would like the album. And she was cor­rect: we bought the album and played it all over the place for months.

But their di­sheveled image left a lot to be de­sired, so I jok­ingly sug­gested to N that she learn to shake a tam­bourine and then she could join the Bangs and be their sex symbol. (At 28, she was often too beau­tiful for mere words to de­scribe.)

Their second album in 1986 would present fans with a con­sid­er­ably more pol­ished sound and a con­sid­er­ably more pol­ished image, one that made sex sym­bols of all of them but es­pe­cially of Su­sannah Hoffs, who Co­lumbia was grooming as a solo artist.

 

Bangles GettingOutOfHand 1 ps 500

Bangles GettingOutOfHand 1 label blue 500

The blue label record with the pic­ture sleeve of Get­ting Out Of Hand / Call On Me (DownKiddie DK-001) has a sug­gested NM value of $80-100. As this seems to be the least valu­able of the two press­ings cred­ited to the Bangs, I as­sume it is the second pressing.

I thought they were the Bangs

For a while af­ter­ward, I thought the group that we saw that evening was the Bangs, not the Ban­gles. So I got to brag, “I saw the Ban­gles when they were still the Bangs.” Why a group with a couple of al­bums out as the Ban­gles would re­vert to their ear­lier name for a con­cert in the desert of the South­western United States didn’t dawn on me to ask my­self!

The pos­si­bility ex­ists that we were told the group we were en­joying was the Ban­gles but were too stoned and simply heard “the Bangs.”

Fi­nally, the Psy­che­delic Furs fol­lowed the Ban­gles and made many of us forget the opening act. The Furs had a bigger sound, a far more com­pli­cated pro­duc­tion (I re­member lots of lights), and a fine com­bi­na­tion of pro­fes­sion­alism tem­pered by a punky edge.

 

Bangles GettingOutOfHand 2 ps 600

Bangles GettingOutOfHand 2 label red 500

After the group’s ini­tial suc­cess, DownKiddie reis­sued Get­ting Out Of Hand / Call On Me with the same cat­alog number but with both the record and the sleeve cred­iting the artist as the Ban­gles. The red label record with the sleeve has a sug­gested NM value of $25-30.

The Avid Record Collector

The most col­lec­table record as­so­ci­ated with the Ban­gles was their first single in 1981 they had is­sued when they were a trio known as the Bangs. The mem­bers were Su­sanna Hoffs, Debbi Pe­terson, and Vicki Pe­terson. Their first single, Get­ting Out Of Hand / Call On Me (DownKiddie DK-001), was is­sued with the then req­ui­site homemade-looking pic­ture sleeve. It went nowhere and is a rather rare record today.

 

Bangles GettingOutOfHand 2 ps 600

Bangles GettingOutOfHand 2 label green 600

The green label record with the pic­ture sleeve of Get­ting Out Of Hand / Call On Me (DownKiddie DK-001) cred­ited to the Ban­gles has a sug­gested NM value of $15-20. 4

Bangling in the round place

This brief piece was orig­i­nally written ear­lier this morning as a com­ment on an ar­ticle ti­tled “Ban­gling” at Nondis­pos­able John­ny’s The Round Place In The Middle blog. I ended it with this state­ment: “So I share your en­thu­siasm for their first long-player and thank you for in­cluding the video of I’ll Keep It With Mine, which I may have left this life-cycle without ever having been aware of oth­er­wise.”

I didn’t know who the Ban­gles were when I saw them as the unan­nounced opening act for the Psy­che­delic Furs in 1984. Click To Tweet

Bangles photo Ritz 1984 1200

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page was taken around the time of the Ban­gles’ ap­pear­ance at The Ritz in New York on Sep­tember 28, 1984. It was broad­cast live over WLIR-FM at the time. They would re­main a crit­ic’s fave until Prince heard them and be­stowed the magic song Manic Monday on them, giving them a huge hit and cat­a­pulting them into na­tional con­scious­ness and plat­inum sales in 1986.

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   Wait! I forgot! Tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who con­sis­tently vote Rep*blican still be­lieve in “voodoo eco­nomics” and are still (still!!!) an­tic­i­pating the wealth to trickle down from the pockets of the top 1% of income-earners. This time cour­tesy of Pres­i­dent Trump, who they be­lieve is going to suc­ceed where Pres­i­dents Reagan, Bush, and Bush failed them.

2   The ar­chaic skull and crossed bones (N) is as close as I could come to the un­print­able mystic symbol that is a short­code for TWFKATLOML, an ini­tialism for “the woman for­merly known as the light of my life.”

3   I be­lieve they did sev­eral other songs from the ’60s, in­cluding ones by the Yard­birds and Paul Re­vere & the Raiders.

4   Copies of DownKiddie DK 001 with two other label colors, yellow and blue are sup­posed to exist, but I couldn’t find them on the In­ternet.

 

Subscribe
Notify of
Rate this article:
Please rate this article with your comment.
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments