It’s crazy to think about on a few different levels, but The Motels‘ timeless new wave classic “Only The Lonely” turns 40 next spring, with “Suddenly Last Summer” hitting that mark in 2023. And while we’re a long way from the golden days of the early ’80s, Martha Davis and the band continue to take those songs and their criminally underrated catalog out on the road, the latest stop here in town arriving Friday (September 17) at Brighton Music Hall.
Of course, the world looks a lot different than when Davis and the boys first headed out on tour, and Boston is no exception. But The Motels’ aforementioned singles continue to stand the test of time, racking up millions of plays on Spotify and crossing over into the appeal of younger generations — even if Davis might be a bit less recognizable in public than back in 1982.
“It feels pretty damn good,” Davis tells Vanyaland in advance of their Allston show. “I’m very humbled to have written something that has stayed around all these years… I was in Walmart the other day and ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ came on the overhead speakers. I was checking out at the automated checkout stand and looked over to the gal that was overseeing the process and said “Ya want to hear something funny?” She said yes — I said, “that’s me singing.” She looked at me like, well… I might be a bit delusional, and then replied, “that’s very nice.”
But there’s no mistaking Davis when she’s on stage singing the classics.
“I love the multi generational audience!” she says. “Parents bringing their children and then their children bringing their children. More than anything I love when the younger generations find The Motels on their own… It’s an audience I very much appreciate and would really like to engage with, strangely I think we have a lot of the same view points.”
When looking back on the ’80s, Davis says one of the things that’s not as represented through the lens of nostalgia is how diverse the styles and sounds were four decades ago. “People look at the ’80s and think shoulder pads, hairspray, pastel or day-glo color pallets,” she tells us. “What was really going on in the ’80s was intense individuality. Each band strived to be unique, carving out their own musical sound and style…think about the bands that were existing simultaneously: The Clash, Blondie, B-52’s, Kate Bush, Elvis Costello, Oingo Boingo, The GoGo’s, Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, The Pretenders, Duran Duran, The Cars, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, Culture Club, UB40, The Police, The Cure…that’s just a few and mostly in the ‘new wave’ category. Pretty impressive!”
So is sticking around all these years.
THE MOTELS + WHEN IN ROME II + ABBIE BARRETT BAND :: Friday, September 17 at Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave. in ALLSTON MA :: 7 p.m., 18-plus, $27 :: Advance tickets :: Crossroads event page