Sweet & Hoffs Live "Under The Covers"
CHICAGO SUN TIMES "I called Matthew up about two years ago to sing with the Bangles one night at [the L.A. club] McCabes,” says Susanna Hoffs. “We were doing a fund-raiser -- and he mentioned to me during a break in rehearsal that he always wanted to produce a solo record for me. He was thinking about his early days of listening to the 'Rainy Day' record, and that's how he first heard me."
"When we decided to do this covers album, the thing that was so bizarre was that the first thing he said was, 'Well, what are your ideas about songs?' And I said, "What about 'She May Call You Up' by the Left Banke?' And he just went, 'That is so weird! That's the first one on my list!' He actually had a little handwritten list, as did I. We had both listed a ton of songs, and it was really fun trying them out. When you're obsessed with music from that time anyway, it's just so much fun to try and play those songs."
"The challenge of living up to these songs was fantastic, special and magical," Hoffs says. "Many of the originals were done very quickly using what we would think of now as very primitive equipment, but there is so much heart, melody, sophistication and arrangement genius."
"When you say the album sounds 'vital and alive,' that's really what we were going after," Matthew Sweet says. "In some ways, we were pretty traditional about how we did everything, because we really wanted to capture what made these songs good in the first place, which is very often that sense of being 'vital and alive.' But I think it's worth stressing that it wasn't like we were fearing this giant mantle of, 'Oh my God, we're covering these amazing things and everyone is going to judge us.' We were sort of blissfully ignoring that and doing our own little thing."
"I don't really know what I'm going to do with my next [solo] record -- if I need a label at all," Sweet says. "A couple of years ago, when we were promoting that Thorns record that I made with Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins, it was a thing where Columbia begged us to make this record, and we worked really, really hard and sold a couple of hundred thousand copies. But that was failure to everybody at the company, and it all just seems wrong."
Adds Hoffs: "Having been there and done that with all of the ways that records are put out and the kind of huge marketing machine that you go through ... Well, we've seen it all, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and this time we just wanted to make this music for fun. We just wanted to make a record that we love, and we did, and I hope that everybody can hear that."