Calling All Questions: Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

After the success of our request for reader questions to Andy Partridge a few weeks ago, we decided we’d give it another go and let our dedicated Popdose readers have the opportunity to offer up queries to another pair of pop music legends: Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs.

The duo are on the cusp of releasing their second collection of cover songs – Under the Covers, Vol. 2, scheduled for a 7/21 release on Shout Factory – and have agreed to answer your questions as part of the promotional blitz for the album. The deadline for submission is June 18th, so if you want to know about their collaborations, their respective solo careers, or their band work (the Bangles, Rainy Day, Oh OK, Buzz of Delight, the Thorns, or even Ming Tea), leave your questions below. And, yes, asking about this film is considered to be fair game:

Only one word of warning: don’t expect me to ask either of them, “Why are you such a wanker?” Trust me when I tell you that, based on my recent experience, artists do not like it when you ask them that.

  • DwDunphy

    I've asked a bunch of questions already, but here's one more: What cover would be too far-out for them? For instance, I've been on a Guided By Voices kick this week and their “Fly Into Ashes” from the Hold On Hope EP is a nice bit of jangle-pop that I think they could do up well.

  • WHarrisBullzEye

    That actually sort of ties in to one of my own questions: given that the first album was '60s covers and the second is '70s, is the plan to keep movin' on up the decades…and, if so, do they have their eyes on any songs in particular?

  • Daburcor

    I was hoping someone would do something like this! I have a few:

    1.) During promotional interviews for Sunshine Lies, Matthew mentioned a few covers that didn't make the cut. Namely (Don't Fear) The Reaper, Werewolves of London, and Beast of Burden. Are these going to surface somewhere down the line; Maybe on another Pillowcase-style EP or iTunes?

    2.) Now that you have covered the '60s and the '70s, what are the chances of an original 'Sid & Susie' album?

    3.) I have heard that not only are The Bangles working on a new record but Matthew is as well. Any juicy tidbits you can share about either record?

  • Bill

    Was there a nugget that you both loved and wanted to record for this record but didn't record because the song was just too obscure?

  • Michael Holloway

    Dear Susanna & Matthew

    I'm Michael from South Australia, I write for “Living Life…Boomer Style” magazine, based in California although I work from home. Here are a couple of things I would like to ask.

    1. Will “Sid 'N' Susie” come to Australia for a tour. I saw The Bangles perform here in 2005 and LOVED the show, and I would love to see Susanna and Matt perform “Under The Covers 1&2″ live.

    2. Will there be a “Sid 'N' Susie” live DVD in the future? I've heard you guys do great shows, and for those of us on the other side of the world, this might be an awesome way to get more international fans to see you rock live.

    3. Also, I hope Susanna likes the article I wrote for her, solo and with The Bangles.

    Cheers, Michael

  • Chris X

    I don't suppose you could forward my marriage proposal to Ms. Hoffs? That counts as a question, right?

  • Daburcor

    Oh yeah! There was one other I forgot!

    4.) Before “Sunshine Lies” was released, there was a preview for the album (under the name “Rock Bottom”) on Matthew's MySpace which had a few tracks that didn't make the album. Will these tracks ever see the light of day? They sounded awesome!

  • Sartana

    Why did the Bangles fire Abby Travis?

  • Jon

    1) Sid n Susie DVD is a great idea isn't it ?
    2) How do Sid n Susie quell speculation about a vol 3 focusing on the indie-rock, electro, punk, new romance, power ballads and dance of the 1980's ?
    3) Might we get a second pillowcase EP this time around ?
    4) Any chance of UK dates ?


  • KellyStitzel

    Related to your question, Will, I was wondering if they do decide to do an album of '80s covers, would they consider attempting to put their stamp on a Prince song, or would that be way too obvious, what with “Manic Monday” and all?

    Also, which covers of their own work have they heard that they loved and/or loathed and who were the bands/musicians responsible?

    And I love “The Allnighter,” I own it on DVD and have considered doing a Soundtrack Saturday on it somewhere down the line, but that's not really a question, just a statement.

  • Redprinter

    A question for Susanna – Will your unreleased second solo album from the mid-1990s ever see the light of day?

  • DwDunphy

    Unless something has drastically changed, she's still married to Austin Powers director Jay Roach.

  • DwDunphy

    Another one: In their prime, Matthew was considered the guy that resurrected power pop (Big Star style) while The Bangles were one of the few girl groups (what an awful classification) that were actively involved with the writing and performance of their own music. With the new batch of very young stars in both genres, do they have any specific advice to them, perhaps sage warnings of certain pitfalls and perils they didn't have a mentor to guide them through?

  • Rob

    There were a number of “unreleased” songs from your first album that later showed up on “Shout” factory comps, soundtracks, e.p.'s even promos. Finding them can be hard to do, and often expesnive, have you considered a special released collecting all of them or even an i-tunes release?

    In Bangles concerts for the past few years Susannah has refrained from singing the classic line “Come on honey, let's go make some noise”. Why?

    Any chance Sid and Susie will tourthe east coast other than “major markets”. I just saw the Bangles in a lovely hall in Northampton and though how good Susannah and Matthew would sound there.

    Finally…any chance of ever getting a live Bangles CD? Maybe collected from all phases of their career?

  • Jon

    Loved Vol.1 and am really looking forward to Vol.2!

    Susanna – any chance for a reissue of your super-sounding (and looking) Rickenbacker 350SH?!! It sounded great at the Bangles show in Boston last month!

    Sid 'N' Susie – Any chance of a tour behind the new album?!

  • Thierry

    This one's for Matthew. I'm curious about what draws him to collaborations (with everyone from Susanna to Thorns to Hanson to producing the Bridges and their fantastic harmonies) and working with songwriting or singing partners – whether there's usually something specific he's looking for in a collaboration or has in the past, or whether most of them happen by chance/coincidence.

    I'm also curious about the relationship between his songwriting and the process of choosing musicians for each of his albums – he's worked with quite a few sets of musicians over the years on his solo albums, and this has been reflected in the sound of each record varying somewhat significantly depending on the backing band. Essentially, I'm wondering whether the musicians he decides to work with is a reflection of him having written a set of songs that need a certain sound, or whether he just calls up the people he's most comfortable with at any given time and then let his songs go in whatever direction the recording process takes them.

  • DavidMedsker

    Get in line, Chris. :)

  • hemisphire

    Last album there was a CD single with a bonus track (Buffalo Springfield's “On The Way Home”), and I believe another track for Japan, not to mention the tracks from Pillowcase – will these be offered as physical or digital tracks this time around?

    For Matthew – any chance there's unreleased Thorns tracks out there?

    And add me to the list requesting a S/S tour.

  • ZosoDef

    Never mind the Allnighter, does Sue have any anecdotes about her unheralded cinematic debut in “My Man From Stony Island” (1978)?

  • Jonathan

    I do love Vol. 1, fantastic selections and performances, your voices compliment each others wonderfully, but I do have one complaint…it's too darn loud and compressed. It would be so great to hear more depth in those recordings. Any chance of mellowing the next record in the studio?

  • Tom Pearson

    I am a huge fan and I have been listening to Girlfriend for 18 years. I love it so much that I have 3 copies of it (that's not too excessive is it?). I loved the 2 disc Legacy set and I was wondering if we can look forward to any other 2 disc sets in the future like Altered Beast, 100 % Fun, and Blue Sky On Mars.

    Also, I love your music video for Girlfriend, it has hooked me onto the Space Adventure Cobra series. I just hate how that was taken off of Youtube. Also YAY LUM!

  • Dennis

    For Matthew; knowing that you're a big Yes fan, what is your favorite album by them, and are there any other prog rock bands that you liked from the 70's?

  • Rob

    Susanna: Given the purported fights that the Bangles had with both ts producers and the record label on the second and third albums, are there any songs that you would have loved to have a second shot at – or want to erase from your memory?

    And what do you think of the progress that has been made with women and rock and roll since the Bangles and Go-Gos were labeled as novelty acts? Or has there been any progress?

  • Brett Alan

    First off, this isn't really a question, but the Beach Boys' “Somewhere Near Japan” would make a fabulous Sid & Susie track, if they did do an 80s album (or at least one where the 80s was fair game).

    My actual question: Was it intentional that the Sid & Susie albums don't contain any versions of R&B/soul songs? Surely there are some that would fit. Would they consider tackling such material in the future?

  • el bandito

    or more to the point…aren't they covering ground that Barry Mannilow, Rod Stewart and others have already covered?

  • el bandito

    1) I loved the Thorns album and the Vol. 1 duo album…with some many great collabs, any thought to a package tour with a few folks…a sort of power pop Wilburys?

    2) Matthew has covered so many great TV theme songs (Flipper, Scooby Doo, Speed Racer) so well…why don't you include some of those types of things in this duo? “Eight is Enough” I'd love to hear you do the Facts of Life, Family Ties or Charles in Charge theme on your Vol.3 80's album…just a thought.

  • Old_Davy

    This is for Matthew. What album were you listening to in the picture used on the cover of 100% Fun? For some reason, when I listen to 100% Fun, it reminds me of the debut by Emitt Rhodes. What that album an inspiration for 100% Fun? (Man, I love 100% Fun, and try to mention it as much as I can.)

    This is for Susanna. Don't you just love 100% Fun??

  • Kevin Salem

    Great song selection. Any chance of touring Japan? And did you consider any Roxy Music songs for the disc?

  • Kevin Salem

    Great song selection. Any chance of touring Japan? And did you consider any Roxy Music songs for the disc?

  • Kevin Salem

    Great song selection. Any chance of touring Japan? And did you consider any Roxy Music songs for the disc?

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