Born in Los Angeles into a creative family, Susanna Hoffs grew up in the company of writers, thinkers, painters, and filmmakers with an ever-present soundtrack provided by the Beatles and other artists of the 1960s. As a young girl, she loved to sing and play guitar and went on to study theatre, dance, and art at University of California, Berkeley. The Bay Area music scene was in full bloom during her college years, and Susanna was stirred by the punk rock and new wave movements. Transformed by seeing the last-ever Sex Pistols show and the Patti Smith Group at Winterland, Susanna was inspired to start a band as a way to combine her loves for music, theatre, and art.
Upon her graduation and return to Los Angeles, Hoffs placed an ad in the Recycler which led her to sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson. On a fateful night in December of 1980, they met in the garage of Susanna’s parents’ home and it was love at first rehearsal… they were a band. The girls hit the club circuit hard and signed to Columbia Records in 1983. With their unique blend of ’60s garage rock, lush harmonies, and jangly guitars, the Bangles became a seminal band of the ’80s. Platinum-selling albums — and a string of hit songs like “Manic Monday,” “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “In Your Room,” “Eternal Flame,” and “Hazy Shade of Winter” — have ensured their place in rock and roll history. Over the decades since their ’80s heyday, the Bangles have continued to tour and release records (2003’s Doll Revolution and 2011’s Sweetheart of the Sun).
Stepping away from her work with the Bangles, Susanna released two solo albums in the 1990s which featured collaborations with an impressive array of musicians including Jon Brion, Mick Fleetwood, John Entwistle, Jim Keltner, Matthew Sweet, Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), David Lowery (Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven), and Petra and Rachel Haden. In an effort to capitalize on the Bangles’ momentum, Columbia Records put Hoffs straight to work on a pop-heavy solo album with 1991’s When You’re a Boy (produced by David Kahne). Five years later, Susanna’s eponymous 1996 release (produced by Jack Joseph Puig) brought the singer closer to her musical roots than she’d been in a long time and she was met with critical praise for it.
After working together as members of Ming Tea in the Austin Powers film trilogy, Susanna and Matthew Sweet formed Sid ‘n Susie. The duo have recorded and released three volumes of their highly acclaimed Under the Covers series, culling selections from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. The magical blend of their voices, combined with a roughly hewn power pop sound, has turned the Sid ‘n Susie project into a cult favorite, as well as a critics’ pick.
In 2011, Susanna stole away to the studio to capitalize on a burst of creative energy sparked by the presence of a new songwriting partner in Andrew Brassell, an indie musician from Nashville. The collaboration resulted in her third solo project, 2012’s Someday. Painted with catchy-as-anything melodies using a palette of horns, flutes, and strings — and produced by Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Paul McCartney, Randy Newman, Elvis Costello) — Someday conjured up an era when melody was king while remaining ever-fresh and contemporary. The retro modern song cycle served as a stylish homage to the 1960s pop sounds that Hoffs grew up listening to and loving.
Recently, Susanna has performed with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s Portlandia Live and Mike Campbell’s Merry Minstrel Circus, and at the 2014 Stagecoach Festival. Renewed and inspired by these experiences, she now looks forward to playing shows in intimate settings where she has the freedom to pull her favorite songs from her entire discography, as well as some choice covers. With special guests stopping by to jam with her, each show will be a one-of-a-kind adventure for both her and the audience.