Memories

 

A collection of assorted anecdotes from fans, former bandmates, and other sources, originally published on mickisteele.net. Although the most recent of these stories was first posted three years ago, this page is not static. If you have stories of seeing or meeting Michael that you would like to tell, please feel free to contact me through the site’s guestbook or comment form.

John Breads 9/30/84 & 7/25/86  (October 15, 2016)

I bought the Bangles’ EP in the early 80s after hearing it played on WHFS, a DC area radio station that was at the vanguard of new wave music. Their DJs would often appear at events and introduce the bands. DJs “Weasel” Gilbert, Bob “Here” and “Mother Earth” Meg introduced me to so many new bands, and I soon fell in love with the Bangles’ EP. I live in the D.C. suburbs and first saw the Bangles live at the original 9:30 Club in the fall of 1984. (9/30/84). They were still essentially unknown, as were so many of the bands that played there. The original 9:30 was the best place in town to see any artist in the 80s, a strange and wonderful place with television monitors all over the place, which could be distracting, and seating on basically wooden boxes covered with carpet. I had already seen the Go-Go’s twice by 1984, and many of us felt a bond with them because drummer Gina Shock is from Baltimore. Upon seeing the Bangles, however, there was no doubt that they were the superior musicians, especially Micki Steele on bass. I had never seen The Runaways live and thought “Cherry Bomb” was awful. In short, I was not a Micki Steele fan before I saw The Bangles in 1984. I knew she had played in The Runaways but nothing more. What stood out was her in control, professional stage presence and melodic bass playing. I got the sense that Micki was sort of the “quiet” leader of the band and that Vicki Peterson was far more the “vocal” leader. Vicki and Susanna Hoffs did most of the bantering with the crowd. Micki Steele seemed more interested in keeping the flow going and driving the energy through playing. And she and the others certainly could play! A lot of time has passed, but I remember them playing “Hero Takes a Fall,” “Going Down to Liverpool,” and “He’s Got a Secret.

The band was highly energetic. From my vantage point in the crowd, it seemed to me that Vicki Peterson and Micki Steele were as tall as I was. Compared to them, Susanna Hoffs seemed so short. But she was so animated. I joked at one point that by her jumping up and down, she was trying to gain equal footing with the others. The concert really left an impression. We were all so young then, and I thought they were just the coolest women I had ever seen. I felt they had taken what was started by the Shangri-Las 20 years before to a level never thought possible. They dressed differently, performed differently, presented differently, but it was a perfect union in that time and place.

I saw them again at Merriweather Post Pavilion in 1986, by which time much had changed. I remember being far away from the stage, we only had lawn seating–I remember then playing Manic Monday, Walk Like An Egyptian, and If She Knew What She Wants, among other songs from Different Light that were so popular. I must admit that it was much more fun and personal in 1984. It was like they and so many other bands were our little undiscovered secret that we could listen to and see without anyone knowing. By 1986, all that had changed; they were all over the radio and performing at large venues, and, just a couple of years later, they were gone. There is nothing quite as dangerous as success. I had thought I’d see the Bangles play again, but that didn’t happen, as time marched on for us all. After 1984, the one song that captured my imagination was “September Gurls” sung by Micki Steele. I thought it just fit the band perfectly, her voice really boosted the song, and allowed a great song to be “discovered.” It is still my favorite Bangles’ performance.

After thirty years, me and my wife went to the Bangles’ second night show at Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis. It was a lot of fun and brought back many great memories. They truly appreciated the fans turning out. Vicki Peterson quipped about the passage of time and joked that the band members were in a “fog of denial” as to their advancing years. She spoke fondly of the 80s and what a great time it was for the band. I did notice some changes, especially with Debbi. She seemed to prefer the background as opposed to the limelight when I first saw them, but in August, she seemed much more relaxed, singing and playing acoustic guitar. She also engaged in the lively banter with her sister and Susanna Hoffs. At the end, she was the last to leave the stage, making sure that she waved to all quarters of the room, so appreciative of the outpouring of love for the band. Beforehand, Susanna Hoffs dedicated “Manic Monday” to Prince, and performed “Eternal Flame” without a microphone. Apparently, the mic had cut off the night before just as she was about to sing it, so she performed it anyway. The crowd loved it so she did it again on the second night. What a beautiful voice. They did an energetic “Walk Like an Egyptian” as their curtain call, and truly seemed to appreciate that so many of us still loved their music. I probably won’t see them again, but, on the occasions I did, it was always a pleasure.

David 10/20/86 & 1/3/04  (January 22, 2016)

BnM
David’s BnM fanclub listing.

Michael Steele stole my heart the very first time I saw her smile in the “Manic Monday” video on MTV back in the 80’s. The first time I had heard of the Bangles was through hearing Manic Monday on the radio, and after seeing the video, I was hooked. I would watch MTV every possible minute of every day in hope that I would see something on the Bangles. Back in the 80s, MTV was all about the music! It seemed the Bangles were everywhere… albums, talk shows, magazines, award presentations, interviews, live performances, the 80s was a great time to be a Bangles fan!
The next logical step was to become a member of their fan club. Bangles ‘n Mash was run by family and friends of the band. Vicki and Debbi’s parents were involved and of course, Debbi’s good friend Mojo was the president of the club. I know in my case, they were always terrific at acknowledging fans and would always respond to fan mail with a card or a letter. They always remembered fans birthdays and special occasions. It was a very thoughtful, family run effort and I really liked that. It was always a thrill to see your name in one of the newsletters. I made a wonderful pen pal through the club and I wish I could remember her name, but she lived in NYC at the time and we would send each other cassette tapes of our favorite songs. If she happens to see this story, I would love to hear from her, I still have the tapes she made for me way back then.

The Palace, Hollywood CA, 10/20/86.
The Palace, Hollywood CA, 10/20/86.

As for Michael, I have twice been blessed in my life with meeting her. I first met Michael on October 20, 1986. My sister was living in Hollywood, CA at the time and our family was visiting for her birthday. My sister surprised me that day by saying that the Bangles were doing a free concert at the Palace Theater that night. She and I went to the concert and we were able to work our way up to the front of the stage where Michael was playing. Her bass playing live was always flawless. She wasn’t overly flamboyant on stage, but she had a stance and movement that were all her own. Her presence on stage displayed a strong confidence and true joy in what she was doing. She had that unique voice and I loved to hear her sing!
One of the big surprises of the evening was when Prince joined the ladies on stage and did 2-3 numbers. After the concert I met the president of the Bangles Fan Club outside the stage entrance. Mojo and I had shared some cards and letters over the years that I was a member of the fan club and it was really nice finally meeting her face to face. As Mojo and I were talking, Vicki Peterson was the first one to exit the stage door and head for her car.
Shortly after Vicki left, Michael came out the stage door and she was accompanied by I think John was his name. She was tall (I’m 5″9 and recall her being every bit as tall as me) and had a bounce in her step. Her red hair was brilliant, even in the darkness of the evening. As they passed by me, I said “Hello Michael”. She stopped, turned, said “Hi” and gave me the most beautiful smile I think I’ve ever received. She then allowed my sister and I to walk across Vine street with her and John over to the small parking lot that then sat at the base of the Capital Records building. I remember them getting into a dark colored BMW and sharing a “take care” before they departed. I’ll always remember that smile she gave me and how kind and gracious she was to me and my sister that evening in 1986!
The second time I met Michael was January 3, 2004. A friend and I would attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every January. Quite a line up of performers would play the Sirius XM stage at the convention each year and the Bangles played an acoustic set at the CES in 2004. After their set they conducted a little meet and greet.

CES 1/03/04
CES 1/03/04

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All four of the Bangles were seated at a long table over to the side of the small Sirius stage. Michael was the first one seated at the table. She greeted me with that same wonderful smile. Her hair was a bit different than the first time I met her, straight and long with those streaks of silver, but she was every bit as beautiful as ever. We spoke about the meeting that took place between us at the Palace Theater back in 1986. She also gave me a little update on my old friend Mojo.
There was a good sized line of fans waiting to greet her and the other ladies, and I remember seeing a tiredness in their eyes, especially Michael’s. She was as stunningly beautiful as ever that January day and every bit the kind and gracious lady I remembered, but the music business is a brutal one and you could tell it had taken a toll. She nonetheless made me feel welcomed and important. She was extremely generous with her time and I’ll never forget the way she spoke with me on that day in 2004. I also feel grateful for her songs. I recall a day hike I took once around Telluride, CO, it was back in the cassette days and I played nothing but Glitter Years on my Walkman, over and over, it is still the only song I have ever done that to. The song I feel perhaps most grateful for is from her Crash Wisdom days, I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye. A few years ago I had a dear friend pass away very suddenly and unexpectedly. She was quite young and so full of life and it was this Michael song that helped me more than anything else get through that time. The lyrics about “feeling so lost inside” and “a sadness I can’t hide”, and especially “finding an understanding, but I don’t want to say goodbye”… I still get quite emotional thinking about it and hearing that song. The way she sang it too, holds great meaning for me. More than a dozen years have gone by since I last met Michael, so I think I’m due for another meeting… hint, hint! Most importantly, I hope Michael is happy, healthy and enjoying a great life… wherever she is!

Dusty 10/10/2003 Bakersfield, CA (December 29, 2012)

The pic came from the Kelly Lounge mystery show the Bangles did on 10/10/03. This is what I can tell you about the show itself:

For some reason KLLY 95.3 (our soft rock/alternative radio station here in Bakersfield, CA.) decided to put on a Mystery Guest Lounge show.  They advertised it but refused to announce who was coming.  The only hint they would give was a split-second sound clip (the opening chord-strike to “Manic Monday”) and that was it. Anyone who called in and correctly identified it got tix.  Naturally, I recognized it immediately.  LOL.

Michael Steele, 10-10-03.
Michael Steele, 10-10-03.

The show took place at The Holiday Inn Select on Truxtun Ave.  It was an intimate show with probably only about 150/200 guests.  On the day of, they obviously didn’t get enough correct guesses to give out all tix so they began to give them away at random to fill the seats.  Lots of people showed up with Police T-shirts cause they were reuniting at the time too and they thought that Sting and Co. were performing!  It was a bit funny to watch their reaction when they learned otherwise (which was AFTER they let us in and took our seats!)

But before that, let me explain something.  I arrived about an hour or so before the show was scheduled to begin.  And I got there exactly the same time Michael got there.  In fact, I walked in right behind her and we both approached the front desk to find out where the gig was to be held.  When she turned around I was able to talk to her for a minute.  She was very, very nice and seemed surprised I knew who she was.  After all, this was supposed to have been a secret show and I don’t think hints were supposed to have been given out.  But I quickly pointed out that I was the biggest Bangles fan in Bakersfield and I would have recognized her whether she was performing or not!

She explained to me that she had just flown in from San Francisco (she was living there at the time) and that the other three were driving up from LA but to expect a delay because there was a stoppage of some sort on the I-5.  We chatted for a few minutes more but I didn’t ask for a picture at that time because I figured she’d be in a hurry to get back to the staging area.  She didn’t seem to mind, though.  She also told me that she hadn’t brought her bass because they weren’t doing that many songs and that she needed to fly back right after the performance.

She left to get ready for the show.  I got in line and we waited and waited.  The show ended up starting about an hour and half late because of the freeway delay.  But we got in and took our seats.  They performed an acoustic set with Michael holding a “shaker” throughout.  They performed (I’m going by memory here so I might get some of these wrong): “Manic Monday”, “Stealing Rosemary”, “September Gurls” (if I remember right or it could have been “Between the Two”), “Going Down to Liverpool”, “Walk Like An Egyptian”, “Hazy Shade of Winter” and “Eternal Flame”, NOT in that order!

After their performance they took some questions from the audience in which I was rightly embarrassed by!  Example:  Q: This is for Susanna…weren’t you in some movie back in the ’80’s?”  A: Yeah.  (Geez, I had never been more ashamed of Bako in my life!)  LOL.  But then again this WAS a mystery show so about 75% of the audience were probably NOT expecting the Bangles!

Anyhow, they finally kicked us all out and I went outside and stood in hopes of catching them when they left.  Michael came out almost immediately.  And she was being escorted by John Calacci to her car.  Remember, she said she had a plane to catch right after?  Well, I then asked her for a photo and John said “No.” and proceeded to usher her passed me but she stopped and said, “Yes, we can spare a minute.”  So I took two pics, one of her by herself and one with the two of us together!  That one I’m keeping personal!

Then I thanked her for the performance and trip to Bako and John walked her to her car.  She drove away and John returned and about an hour later he came out with Sue, Debbi and Vicki and they stopped and I got to chat with them for a few minutes and take some photos too.  So it was all very awesome and all the Bangles, especially Michael were so courteous and nice and after typing this I am realizing just how much I’m missing her!!!!  LOL.

Rene Koenders  4/14/03 Amsterdam – (6/2/2012)

It is quite some time ago that I saw The Bangles live. It was in ‘Melkweg’ (Milky Way) in Amsterdam on April 14, 2003.  I went with a couple of friends from work who all had fond memories of the Bangles but who hadn’t heard Doll Revolution yet. I quickly made sure they got a copy of the album and by the time we went to the concert we all knew the album pretty well. And what a great album it is! Of course, having never seen them perform live I was really looking forward to hearing them play the “old stuff”. The crowd absolutely went wild when the band came on stage and the older songs were greeted with happy cheers of recognition. We were amazed at how good all four Bangles looked, although Michael’s not so-red hair took some getting used to. I was surprised to hear her sing “that’s the time she makes things right, ooh when she makes love to me” in September Gurls, which thanks to your site I now know are the original lyrics. Of course, this being Amsterdam, these phrases were met with loud appreciation, especially by some girls who were pressed up against the stage in front of Michael. I think I recall a grin came over her face.

Michael Steele at The Melkweg, 4/14/03.
Michael Steele at The Melkweg, 4/14/03.

We weren’t exactly in front, but we did have a great view. Melkweg is a small venue but it has an upstairs which is quite narrow and runs along the outer wall from the back of the venue to the front and stops about two or three metres short of the stage on either side. We were standing on the right side against the front railing, so we had an unobstructed view of the stage. At one point we were waving like mad and the band caught sight of us and waved back. I recall Vicki mentioning they had played this venue (or some other smaller Amsterdam venue) back in 1984 or 1985 and Susanna asked if anyone in the audience had been there. When a few people shouted that they had been there Vicki said “Impossible! You’re not that old!”. If I remember correctly the audience was made up mostly of thirtysomethings and upward. We were some of the youngest people there. Of course, the closing Eternal flame was sung by all, even out in the street later, although I do recall one of my friends singing Single By Choice on the way back to our car.

Connie Spicer 2003 – (2/20/2012)

I grew up with “the girls” so to speak – their music is my music and they are “my age”. In November of ’03, the world was still recovering, just 2 years after 9/11- and for me, just 1 year and a few days after the death of my youngest son. It was a very difficult anniversary for me.

So, for those of us wanting something light and fun to ease our hearts, the announcement came that the Bangles were touring to promote Doll Revolution in our hometown of Dayton, Ohio, was more than just exciting. We fans were thrilled. When radio station WMMX announced the first of what was to become a string of special acoustic performances was going to be started off with the Bangles, I knew I was going. I paid attention to the last minute announcements telling us where to go to get in the drawings for the free tickets (the only way to get them!), and each winner would get 2 tickets to go to the performance. My husband and I were in the car going the appropriate general direction when we heard the announced location and we quickly arrived, writing up our ticket for the drawing. I was terribly excited when the second ticket drawing was my name.

The Bangles at WMNX 107.7 Acoustic Christmas, Dayton, Ohio, 11/19/03.
The Bangles at WMNX 107.7 Acoustic Christmas, Dayton, Ohio, 11/19/03.

We had only recently gotten our first digital camera, and I was determined to get some shots at the event. We waited outside of Wiley’s Comedy Club on Pine Street where WMMX offices are – about a hundred plus of us with tickets in hot little hands, waiting to go in. It was actually a fairly nice evening, crisp and not too cold, and I remember the DJ’s coming around and asking people questions in the line. I don’t remember what I was asked or how I responded, but the groups were all having a good chuckle at the many responses afterward. Several of the crowds comments were used on commercials later and it was all just good fun.

When we went inside Wiley’s I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I’d never been in a club like that before, nor seen such an intimate performance by such a popular group! Everyone quietly filed in and took seats and my husband and I were seated in one of the very front tables, just to the left of the Bangles as they stood on the stage. After some bantering, DJ’s Kristi Leigh, Jeff Stevens and Shaun Vincent came in and announced the band. When the Bangles came in, the ladies walked right through the tables and up onto the stage – just feet from where we sat. I was in awe! I was still working on setting up my camera, unsure if the preliminary shots I’d taken were going to come out well enough — terrible, I know, but I was ready when the ladies started playing.

It truly was a very intimate and fun experience, if all too short. The half-hour play time was enough to whet many whistles and I’m sure it stimulated quite a few sales in our area. I remember thinking how lovely each of the Bangles ladies were-Michael, right in front of us, was so tall in comparison with Susanna’s petite frame. Debbi kept the percussion light and tight. Vicki’s lead kept the girls’ groove going. The harmonies were tight and beautiful and I doubt a single note was misplaced. I remember how wonderful “Hazy Shade of Winter” came out acoustically, I thought it was even better than the studio production! “Walk Like An Egyptian” was fun, and hearing it without post-production was amazing as well. Fans sometimes fail to realize that jam sessions and acoustic performances can be more artistic and enthusiastic than a well-produced slick CD package. I think the ladies played about 6 or 7 songs that evening, each as enjoyable as the one before.

After they played, the Bangles came down and shared a drink and had a brief meet and greet with the crowd. I found them to be down-to-earth and comfortable, and have continued to think the same since. I put together a short video using the photos I had taken and, using their music, I posted it onto YouTube. I sent them a note letting them know, and asking if they had any issues with my doing so, I would take it down. They sent me an email, graciously allowed me to keep it up and it continues to garner hits on a regular basis.

I am very grateful to the Bangles for giving me respite from my personal storm. I should note, the Wiki article on the Bangles states that Doll Revolution was released in “early 2003”, but it was in September 2003-later in the year that it actually came out to the public, at least in US release. The start of their tour for Doll Revolution and ‘Something That You Said’ began right in front of me!

Elise, c. 1986-87 – (10/25/2011)

” I’ve been playing in bands on and off since I was a teenager. I was a guitarist in an ‘indie’ band sometime in the late eighties and we released a couple of singles, one of which managed to get played on high rotation on ‘Triple J'[1], which was a pretty cool radio station that liked to focus on local and overseas indie bands. So this led to an offer to play live in the Triple J studios. I think Gayle Austin was the DJ during our segment, and believe it or not, female rock DJ’s were quite rare back then. So Gayle was considered a bit of a maverick and she was pretty keen to promote up and coming bands with female musos.

Phantom Records banner.
Phantom Records banner.

In the eighties, if you wanted to check out local and overseas indie bands, the best place to go was Phantom Records[2], which was a record store and independent record label with its’ retail store in Pitt Street, Sydney. It wasn’t at street level, so you had to walk down a few stairs to the front of the store. It had a big glass front window with huge red lettering. From memory it was located in the more obscure end of Pitt Street, which was well away from the commercial part of town. It had heaps of great stuff you couldn’t get anywhere else; used records, new, imports, local, indie, underground, 60s garage, punk, and Detroit metal stuff. I’m pretty sure they stocked our band’s single, because some of us would go in to check out how many people bought it. I used to hang out there quite a bit.

One day I was in there looking through the collections with a friend of mine, and he said “…Hey look there’s Brad Shepherd from the Hoodoo Gurus…” and with him was a very tall woman with long red hair. I think she was wearing a cap, or maybe it was Brad that wearing a cap, I can’t be sure. I think she had on a jacket, I definitely remember her being very tall, much taller than the guy she was standing next to. Then my friend said that’s Michael Steele from the Bangles. I remember looking over again, because they were looking in the section that I wanted to look at, and they spent quite a bit of time there. I remember right in front of me up on the wall was a record by ‘The Hitmen’. They both looked pretty relaxed and comfortable just checking out the records. It was kinda cool because the band I was in around that time played a gig at an inner city pub with a bunch of other bands and the Hoodoo Gurus were headlining. Those were the days when just about every pub in the city had a bunch of live bands playing all the time, and even popular bands like the Gurus you could still go and listen to at a city hotel …”

Notes:
[1] Triple J is a radio station that developed on the Australian national broadcaster ABC in the mid-1970s, and originally known as Double J. The station soon gained notoriety and a dedicated fanbase for playing music that other networks of the time refused to touch. For its first fifteen years Triple J was a Sydney-only station, becoming national in 1990. (A move some fans later decried as ruining the station.)

[2] Phantom Records began in the late 1970s as a record label and store dedicated to punk/alternative/indie music. It played an important role in the Sydney music scene of the time for releasing music by previously unsigned Australian bands as well as providing a space for passionate fans, many of whom remember the store fondly long after it closed in 1998. Among many other bands, Phantom released the Hoodoo Gurus’ first single ‘Leilani’ (October 1982) before Brad joined the group. For a more detailed account of Phantom Records’ history, see this interview with co-founder Jules Normington.

Tim Armstrong 1987- (6/7/2011)
“I was fortunate to grow up in the Washington DC area, because we had a really great radio station in Bethesda, MD, WHFS-FM, which played a really wide range of music (the station was owned by a group of lawyers who were using it as a tax write-off, so they gave the station total freedom with no worries about ratings!). One of the benefits of having a station like this is that we got to hear great music long before more commercial stations would play it, and the Bangles were one of the bands that I learned about from them. As a bassist myself, I always loved Michael’s tone and touch, and I thought she had the best voice of the Bangles (which is not to say that all four of them didn’t sing quite wonderfully).

In 1987 or so, I was in a kinda punky band while a student at the University of Maryland, and my bandmates and I went down to the Tower Records store in DC for a Bangles in-store appearance. It was in the morning, and let’s just say that the girls were a little bleary, except for Micki Steele. As I recall, Micki was the only one who looked rested and fully awake, the other Bangles were in sweats/t-shirts and looked like they had gotten three hours of sleep apiece. We gave them an autographed picture of OUR band, which amused her greatly (and confused Susanna totally). That morning, under those less-than-optimal conditions, Ms. Steele was the coolest, prettiest Bangle…”

Danise Rodriguez 1986 – (04/02/2011)

From Bitch magazine, Issue 14 (1986).
From Bitch magazine, Issue 14 (1986).

Published from 1985 to 1989 and based in Silicon Valley, Bitch Magzine: The Women’s Rock Newsletter With Bite! was the product of feminist music journalist Lori Twersky’s (1954-1991) wish to create a fanzine centered upon women musicians, free from condescension or sexual stereotyping. In each issue Twersky and a small staff of writers discussed a plethora of musicians from a wide variety of genres through live reviews, interviews and passionate editorials such as the following from Issue 14 (1986). Additionally Bitch was conceived to provide a meeting place for musicians through its detailed classified sections. Michael Steele was just one of many female musicians celebrated in the fanzine’s four-year run. Although back issues of Bitch are sadly hard to find today, it remains fondly remembered.

(For further information on Lori, see Gillian G. Gaar, She’s A Rebel (New York: Seal Press, 1992) pp.255-258. For background on Danise’s role in the fanzine and her writing in general, see http://www.whohub.com/danisevonrod. A complete run of issues may be found at specialist libraries such as the National Library of Australia: )

Colin Ross Jack: Painting Michael c.2003-04 – (10/17/2010)

I always liked the Bangles’ music, and as a male I always liked the Bangles! I love that kind of jingle jangle West Coast sound they had. Sadly, meningitis made me deaf 2 years ago so I can no longer hear them, but I hear them in my head and can play the songs there if I want to. Michael always interested me because I loved how she looked, and I loved her voice, it was rich and deep, like the dark chocolate in the mix. When they got together again, I liked how she looked even more, and loved the new album they did, especially her song ‘Song For A Good Son’.

Colin Ross Jack: Michael Steele
Colin Ross Jack: Michael Steele

I saw them live at the Students Union in Manchester during their reunion, and loved the concert. It was at the start of the Iraq invasion, and I remember Michael saying ‘I don’t know exactly what the question is, but I know the answer isn’t war’, and I liked that. Unlike the Dixie Chicks, nobody made a huge fuss of the comment!

The paintings?  I have always painted, and always will. Along with seascapes, landscapes, etc I do occasional figure paintings. My daughter gave me some gold acrylic paint for Christmas, and I thought, ‘what can I do with that?’, not wanting to disappoint her. In the end I bought 6 more shades of gold, and painted the 2 pictures of Michael in gold paint [with red and black added in one picture, turquoise and black on the other. they were on gold card, in gold frames, and i gave her a gold halo in each.

The idea was kind of tongue in cheek, as the old religious icon pictures were in or on gold, with a halo, and it was kind of a comment on our view of celebrity compared to long ago. Also the red/black gold one had Munch’s ‘Madonna’ in mind, especially in the swirling background, and the turquoise/black gold and the colours of Egypt, the mask of Tutenkamun. I sifted through many images of Michael on the web, as she looked in the reunion, and simply chose 2 I liked best, and thought would make good paintings with a suitable choice of background.

How did she get them?  well, I photographed them both and sent the prints to Michael at the Bangles’ publicity office. Months later I heard from one of the ladies who work there! Apparently Michael had shown them round the office, and was very touched that somebody had painted her. The lady said it was Michael’s birthday soon, that everybody in the office had a soft spot for Michael, and would I sell them to the office staff as a present for her! I was so honoured to do so, made up a huge parcel of the 2 framed pictures and .. Michael has them now! She was apparently very touched when she opened them, and has the turquoise one with a blue scarf draped over it…

Colin continues to paint and more of his fine work is available at www.colinrossjack.co.uk

MikeBangle 2000-04 – (05/30/2010)

I’ve seen a lot of Bangles gigs, and these are only some with Michael I remember. The first time I saw them was at the HOB, September 22nd 2000. The show was awesome, rocked hard and I loved all the new songs. Between The Two (which I hadn’t yet heard the Crash Wisdom version) was a tour-de-force, as were Ride The Ride and other tunes. The impression they left on me that night is part of why I’ve seen them so many times in the last decade.

Another gig I remember is one of the few where they played Nickel Romeo live. Me and my band had been working on the song for months, trying to recover a cover. We had laid down some tracks prior to the show, and so we were watching it, and when Michael flawlessly played the complex bassline while singing lead at the same time, my bassist was just stunned at her musicianship. Although her playing didn’t always freak people out like that, it was always damn solid and true.

I was only lucky enough to meet Michael herself once, at a Las Vegas gig in 2001. I was very nervous and starstruck to be meeting the band for the first time, but like the others she was very nice. I recall her being very intellectual, (I saw her talking to another fan about chord progressions in quite technical terms) but above all being funny and real. It was a special night.

KISSMike 1986- (05/26/2010)

It was in DC back in 1986. My buddy, Andy and myself were seeing them at I believe the Warner Theatre. We were sitting on Michael’s side and I was mesmerized. I thought she was a very good bassist, and a FOX! I did not know at that point that she was an original member of the Runaways. As for songs, I cannot remember any set list. But they rocked. I had seen the Go-Gos twice by that point and thought the Bangles were better. The whole band kicked ass. I later remember thinking the song by the Smithereens, Behind The Wall Of Sleep, must’ve been about her. And she really did remind me of Bill Wyman, the whole John Entwistle solitary standing plugging away on stage thing.

After the show I saw a tour bus on the side of the building and suggested we wait… the band came out shortly thereafter, and were very gracious with their male and female fans. They signed alot of autographs. I realized I had no paper, but wanted to get Michael’s attention. She was wearing a black skirt and top, and was slightly taller than me. Her hair was pretty cool too as I recall. Sprayed up big! Most of the guys were crowding Susanna. She was about to enter the bus and I said , “Hey, Michael!”. She turned and stopped at that point I took off several bangles I was wearing around my wrist and held them out to her. She looked at them, grabbed them, said “thanks!”, and then smiled back at me. She had a great smile when she realized that’s all I wanted. I was the only one who didn’t ask for something. Although I’d have been a willing groupie! And yes, the playing as well as her looks are what got me. I thought at the time she was the prettiest lady I’d ever seen…

Pal Shazar 1979 – (03/05/2010)

I was living in the Hollywood Hills, near the reservoir, with Jules Shear at the time I met Micki. Andrew and I were looking for a bassist.  We had advertised in ‘The Recycler’ (!)  I do not recall how it is that Micki found out about it but she did come to my house one evening. Andrew recalls that she was wearing a floppy hat which I requested she not wear when we played! My first impression was that in profile she resembled the actress Candice Bergen. She was so into what we were doing so naturally I was happy.

Slow Children, 1979.
Slow Children, 1979.

Jules and the Polar Bears had a manager who took Slow Children under his wing. He paid for rehearsal space in West Hollywood. We had a few drummers but only Micki on bass. She always showed up right on time. I know she was playing in other bands at that time but she was dedicated to us. Slow Children did not do many gigs before the English record deal came our way. By then we were down to just Andrew and myself.

Years passed and when I encountered Micki again at the time the Bangles were doing a TV appearance which included Jules, Micki told me, very sweetly, that Slow Children had been the most satisfying music for her, as it was challenging.  I thought that was a very kind thing for her to say to me.

After a long solo career, Pal Shazar is again working on Slow Children with Andrew Chinich. See palshazar.com for more information.