Laura Molina Interview (September 2010)
Laura Molina: Laura formed the all female group Tiger Lily in 1982 who played many gigs in the LA area, and were ultimately included on the 1984 Rhino Records compilation The Girls Can’t Help It, released just after the band’s breakup. To this day Laura remains very active as an artist, musician and political activist. More of her work may be seen at http://www.lauramolina.com/. More on Tiger Lily at http://www.myspace.com/80stigerlily]
LM: Laura Molina
RIS:What got you interested in music and how did Tiger Lily get started?
LM: I’ve been a musician nearly all my life. I started playing guitar when I was about 13 years old. When Punk rock blew into Los Angeles I got very interested in music again and bought my first electric guitar in 1980 when I was in college. I convinced one of my friends to take up the bass, we found another woman who played drums and we decided anyone else who joined our band should also be female.
RIS: How did your band and the Apaches meet and wind up playing their various gigs together?
LM: In early 1983, we were booked at the same club (I forget where) and all became friends. The Apaches of Paris asked us to open for them and it became a regular monthly gig. Tiger Lily played with them once or twice before their bass player left and Michael Steele (everyone who knew her called her “Micki” back then) joined their band.
RIS: What were your impressions of Micki and how did she look back then?
LM:. To the best of my memory, she looked that same in 1983 as when she first appeared with The Bangles. Reserved and shy, very good player. She stuck out because she was the tallest person in The Apaches of Paris, towering a couple of inches over the guys. (I used to jam with the Apaches’ guitar player, Tom and we would joke about the band being 3 little guys and this giant girl…) We chatted between sets about Second City Television (SCTV) ’cause we all liked it!
RIS: How would you describe the Apaches’ sound?
LM:. The Apaches had a sort of 60s pop sound. The closest thing I can compare them to is, The Hollies.
RIS: Did the Apaches’ sound/setlist change at all when Micki joined the group?
The Apaches of Paris: Cinderella Au Go-Go EP (1983)
LM: The Apaches had their self-released Cinderella Au-Go-Go EP to promote, so they kept those songs in their set. Micki was a better player than her predecessor.
RIS: Did you ever hear of Micki writing songs back then or see her playing any instruments besides bass?
LM: No. I only saw her at gigs so I really didn’t know much about her musical background. I had no idea Micki was once in an all female band herself, a founding member of the Runaways and many years later I thought that being around our band might have been somewhat annoying.
RIS: Do you recall any amusing memories from the gigs Tiger Lily and the Apaches played?
LM: One show that sticks out in my mind, Cattleman’s Wharf in Hacienda Heights when Micki showed up wearing stockings, boots, A RAINCOAT (and apparently nothing else) My cousins came to that show, dubbed Micki, “The Bag Lady” and dared each other to ask her to dance with them! Micki sang The Kinks song, “Till The End Of The Day” as her lead vocal during their set.
RIS: What were your thoughts of her version of Til The End Of The Day?
LM: It was an extra song she selected for her first lead vocal with The Apaches of Paris and she did an excellent job!
RIS: Do any live recordings of either the Apaches or Tiger Lily survive?
LM: . I still have a copy of The Apaches EP but I haven’t digitized it yet. You can hear Tiger Lily on our MySpace page – www.myspace.com/80stigerlily
RIS: Who else did Tiger Lily play with after the Apaches disbanded?
LM: . Another all female band called, Cause for Concern, also Zamp & The Suspects, Cathedral of Tears, The Red Devils, The Dickies and Population 5, a local New Wave “super-group” with Prescott Niles [The Knack] and Che Zuro [The Orchids].
RIS: What have you been up musically/artistically to since Tiger Lily ended?
LM: In 1987, I recorded a single with Bob2 from DEVO, “Black Cats” that did well on KROQ for a year and got included in a compilation album of local bands. In 1990 I went back to being an artist. I went to CalArts in the late 70s and was trained as a Disney animator. I paint for a living and music is my hobby. I make re-mixes and mash-ups on my Mac. I still play guitar and several years ago my wonderful husband, Dan, bought me a beautiful Washburn dreadnought 6-string. Occasionally, you can still hear me sing on internet radio and Sirius satellite radio.