As if 80's Music wasn't awesome enough...
For the past 15yrs, Sir Devon Nooner, "Platinum" Randi Wilde, Dickie English, Sir Liam Thunders, and Lord Philip Wang, have kept the 80's alive and well as The Molly Ringwalds! We have been big fans for almost 10yrs, so when we got a call saying they wanted to talk to us, since they were coming to Birmingham, we were ecstatic! Russell spoke with Sir Devon about how the band came to be and the power of 8o's Music that transcends generation gaps.
More than just a cover band...
They're not just an 80's cover band; The Molly Ringwalds are an 80's Music Experience that brings lights, video, and even cosplay to the stage as they dawn the look of 80's icons and play to sellout crowds! When the phone rang, Sir Devon was on the other end with his British accent and was excited about their upcoming show at Iron City this Saturday (1/21/17).
Happenin's in the 'Ham: For those who don’t know you, tell us a little background on how you got started and how you came up with the concept of “The Molly Ringwalds”?
Sir Devon: When we started playing and came out with some albums, we decided we wanted to to perform full time. It was our passion! 80's music was the best way to do that and it allowed us to stay true to our passion while playing music we love.
HITH: I think my wife and I went to a Ringwalds show on our 2nd date years ago. (I seem to recall Randi pouring some Crown Royal into our mouths from the stage at Iron Horse.) How has the experience evolved over the years?
Sir Devon: You survived!!! The experience has exploded over the years! It grew over time, but really got big 3 or 4 years into us playing when the 80’s resurgence first started. We were ready for it! We want to continue getting better and to be the biggest and best cover band in the world and don’t want to ever be mediocre.
HITH: The Molly Ringwalds Band is a true 80’s experience. What do you feel sets you apart from the average cover band or tribute band?
Sir Devon: We bring more than just music. We bring the fashion, lights, and video. That’s a big part of the 80’s experience. Everyone sings and plays different instruments so it keeps each show fresh.
HITH: I’m an 80’s kid myself and have noticed a bigger resurgence in 80’s pop culture as of late especially after “Stranger Things” was released on Netflix. Why do you think 80’s pop culture and especially 80’s music still resonates so strongly even with kids born in the mid-late 90’s?
Sir Devon: The 80’s had a huge variety of artists! You had great quality iconic figures and fantastic music from INXS to White Snake. MTV had a HUGE impact! It engaged your ears AND your eyes in the music. This allowed the music to make a bigger impact. Who do you think is the biggest rockstar from 2016? (I replied that no single rock star made a significant impact on me last year.) Great point! I’d argue that Axl Rose was the biggest rockstar in 2016 and he came from the 80’s! This is because of Guns & Roses and AC/DC. He is still a major presence in the industry even today.
HITH: I’ve seen you perform about 15 times over the years. How do you keep up the amount of energy that you project from the stage?!
Sir Devon: We never play the same show twice. We want to keep it fresh for us. If the band is into it then the audience will be into it as well. (then with a laugh) Also, a shot of Jager helps.
HITH: The last time I saw you perform was at Iron City the day after Prince passed away. You did an incredible tribute to him with your rendition of Purple Rain. Hanging the jacket on the mic and laying down your guitar at the end was so powerful! Can you tell me a how losing such amazing 80’s icons in 2016 impacts how you approach their music?
Sir Devon: I’m so glad you noticed that. We tried to do something that would pay respect to him. We always try do justice to the songs whether the artist is still alive or not. You have to do Prince Right. It’s important that we stay as true as possible to the songs to honor the artists with the music and be respectful.
HITH: When Lord Philip busts out some Madonna I’m always impressed! I usually look around and see people looking amazed as he just nails the performance. It's the same thing when Dickie breaks into some Cindy Lauper! How do y’all decide who takes lead vocals on each song? And any trick to perfecting that impressive falsetto?
Sir Devon: I have friends who ask if we use audio tracks due to the high notes because they don’t think Dickie can sing that high. All 5 members can sing, so we take turns based on range and what fits in the set list. If it fits the show then we do it. Dickie and Philip do a great job on those high notes!
HITH: How does playing an intimate venue like Iron City differ from playing a festival? Do you feel it helps engage the crowd?
Sir Devon: We love playing the venues where the fans are up close. We can reach out and touch them if we want! We’ve always said that the fans are the 6th member of band. From the 1st chord or base note of the songs, the fans immediately react.
(a short video we shot last year at Iron City)
HITH: What’s your favorite song to play? Is there a particular song that seems to fire up the crowd more than others?
Sir Devon: Everyone asks this and I love it because it’s not the answer people expect. My personal favorites are the ones we just learned and are trying out for the first time. It keeps us engaged and we have to work to sell it to the crowd. The iconic ones are always great as well, but playing “new” songs always keeps us fresh.
HITH: This is a full time gig for you. What is your favorite part of the touring experience?
Sir Devon: Number one, being on stage. Number two, heading home. Touring is great and we love it, but we also all have families. Heading home to see them after touring is always a great feeling.
HITH: I love that you guys hang out after the show and take photos and selfies with fans. What makes this an important part of what you do?
Sir Devon: It’s everything! We’re nothing without our fans. We love to know what they are thinking and to get critiques and feedback. It's good to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly so it helps us continue to get better at our craft. There's always that person that says, “You didn’t play that Journey song!”
HITH: What’s the best way for us and other fans of your work to help you continue doing what you do best?
Sir Devon: Most of all, keep coming to shows and we’ll keep setting up our equipment. Sharing on social media is a big help as well. Social media has been huge! We can now post a video and get 50k views within minutes. It also allows us to engage our fans directly.
HITH: Amber insisted that I ask what your favorite Birmingham restaurant is. Do you have one?
Sir Devon: Back when we used to play Iron Horse we loved eating at Ali Baba. They had the best bread! Now we can eat at Iron City Grill. We’ve been to places that claim to have “the BEST" whatever, and I wouldn’t feed it to my pups. It’s nice having such great food there at Iron City Grill. It’s a one stop shop and the hospitality is incredible!
Don't miss The Molly Ringwalds when the play Iron City Sat, Jan 21! It is the type of show that you want to bring a group of your friends to! Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased in advance on Iron City's website. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram Saturday night as we head back stage to hangout with the band before the show! #RUhappenin