AKA The Interview that was ALMOST Snowed Out!
We didn’t let that dampen our spirits though. The Motels are playing at The Triple Door on January 7th. You don’t want to miss Martha Davis in all of her glory. Be the first to hear some of their new music from the upcoming album. Get your tickets here! Between snow storms and power outages, Martha shared some interesting stories of her life. She is an amazing character. Take a moment and read it…
You have had some pretty interesting run in with record companies and record producers. Are there any that come to mind?
Record producers are interesting creatures. There are never any two that are the same. They are all very different. They come from extremely different backgrounds. Some of them were actually musician songwriter types. Others are engineer types. Some of them are so different I can’t figure out where they came from at all.
Our first producer Carter from Capitol Records wanted to sign us the first time he saw us. That was in 1975. Then the band broke up and reformed in 1979. He signed us right away and produced our first album. He was wonderful. His approach was totally laid back. He brought us in and told us to play the show that we played at Madame Wongs the week before. He was great.
Our next producer was a whole different can of worms (Ugh). That is there the Apocalypso album came in. He had just come off a huge hit with ‘Betty Davis Eyes’. The record company loves that sort of stuff. We had a new guitarist as well. Tim took over as guitarist and also became my boyfriend. You know, that is always a great idea when you are in a band together. He was a great musician. That is probably why I fell in love with him. Well Tim was in charge and tended to clash heads with the new producer. It was like Clash of the Titans. Both of them were kind of maniacal. The rest of us just sort of ducked and covered. We finished the album but the producer had never let the record company listen to any of it at all. When they did hear it, they ummm nope. They thought it was weird and dark. They didn’t think people or their promoters would like it either. This also was also the opportunity for me to say goodbye to Tim McGovern as well. He wasn’t working out as a boyfriend. The record hadn’t worked out. It was time for a new thing. On the album with supposedly no hits was this little song called “Only the Lonely”. It was just a different version of production of the song. We ended up making another record with the same producer but he was a maniac. We decided we just couldn’t deal with him anymore.
Then we went on to work with Richie Zito. I still love that man to this day. He is amazing. He is just a little different musically. He was very Rock’n Roll back then. He worked with Cheap Trick and was great for them. I always kind of liked our first album best. It was just a little quirkier and weirder. It was a lot more esoteric which is what I like. As we worked with Ritchie we started to be a little more Top 40 and maybe Pop. He makes great albums but it just wasn’t really satisfying my needs artistically. The whole band was just sorting of losing momentum. The last album which was supposed to be The Motels album really just became a Martha Davis album. The band was basically over. There wasn’t any love there anymore.
Is there any real chance for a singer-songwriter to tell a record company to just back off you know what you are doing as a musician?
Yes, there is, but not for Martha Davis at that point. There might be a chance for that now. I was a totally insecure and lacked confidence back then. Put Prince in the same room and you are going to have an entirely different outcome. (Laughter) It is totally about confidence. I definitely have much more now.
Do you have a place that you dream of recording an album?
I have recorded a few at my house, which is a big ole farmhouse. It wasn’t the greatest sounding because of a lack of funding. Good equipment costs a lot of money. I love to record in that type of situation though. I don’t really care for the over sanitized recording studios. I like a little more chaotic approach. I like the input from the place where you are recording. I like using the environment. I think I even recorded through the heating ducts at some point.
How do you stay creative?
That just seems to be who I am and what I do. I am not a person that is big on nostalgia. I like to new what is going on in the world. I am fascinated by everything. It all intrigues me. I get excited about all sorts of projects. I want to do an old time radio show. I am working on a television show. I just like being creative. I like coming up with crazy shit. That is how I cook. I love to cook. There is creativity in all aspects of life. It is the best part of life.
What is your favorite thing to cook right now?
Well, it is not my favorite thing but I just put some beans on the stove and I am going to mess with them. I love doing roasts. I just love making stuff up. I love making pies. I am not really good at baking because you have to have all your shit together before you put it in the oven. Then you can’t mess with it. I love messing with things. I really want to get into breads though.
Who were your first musical influences?
My most mind-blowing musical influence was Igor Stravinsky when I was about five years old. My mom used to have a 78 of ‘The Right of Spring’. I loved it so much. I remember just sitting in front of the record player just watching it go around. It was so magical. It scared me. It was so beautiful. It had all these things go on. When I was about eight, I learned my first three guitar chords from my babysitter. He was a young African-American man going to Cal-Berkley. He was one of the two law students there at that time. He graduated from Cal-Berkley and went to work for Bobby Kennedy. He was one of the first African-Americans to work on the Civil Rights Movement. He is Superior Court Justice Thelton Henderson now and still my friend.
I went through a period where I just loved Spirituals. The music is so beautiful. Then I moved on to a period where I fell in love with musicals. At some point I heard David Bowie and he blew my mind. He was the synthesis of everything I love all in one. I am so excited about his new work on Broadway.
Can you tell us about your show at The Triple Door?
Well, you are going to see one of the best darned bands you have seen in a long time. My band is truly amazing. We have been together longer than the original band. I think we have been together for fourteen years now. There are going to be some old songs and some new ones that will be on the upcoming album which I have proclaimed will be out by June. It is so different than we used to do in the old days. Hopefully it will be out in the Spring or early Summer.