Molly Ringwald Talks Jazz Album, Simple Minds Cover, and Team Ducky vs. Team Blane
photo: Wendy Waddell
photo: Wendy Waddell
Since Molly's teen dramedy days, she's kept busy writing both fiction and non-fiction; acting in film, television, and theater; and parenting her three children. But now she has launched a new venture: a jazz music career, with an album of standards from the Great American Songbook, Except Sometimes. This may seem like a major stylistic departure for the former new wave girl who once memorably danced in slouchy boots in the Shermer High School detention center, but the album does offer one touching nod to Molly's '80s past: a cocktail-jazz remake of Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)," which, of course, was the theme song to perhaps the most famous film she made with legendary late director John Hughes, The Breakfast Club.
"When I recorded the album, it was not that long after John passed away, so he was still on my mind a lot, and I kind of wanted to pay tribute to him," Molly recalls, when asked why she chose to musically revisit her teen-movie past. (She and John didn't speak for years, though they reconnected via letter before his 2009 death.) "And I also wanted to sort of integrate who I was into who I am now. I can't really distance myself from that [era], nor do I really think that I need to. I feel like by reimagining and singing the song in a completely different way as an adult, incorporating what I'm interested in now, I'm making a statement. I'm not a different person, I've just evolved. And I think the treatment of the song kind of expresses that in a nice way."
While Molly grew up in a musical family, she credits John Hughes, a true pioneer in the genre of cool film soundtracks, with expanding her musical horizons. "Music was incredibly important to John, and he had an amazing, amazing record collection," she remembers fondly. "I didn't really know the Beatles because I grew up with jazz, so he sort of introduced me to them, album by album. I really remember that a lot. And also a lot of the artists that ended up on his soundtracks: Echo & The Bunnymen, the Smiths. He made me the most incredible mixtapes, which it just kills me that I don't still have! I've moved so many times and I don't know what happened to them; my sister probably took them at some point, since she was always stealing my mixtapes. [EDITOR'S NOTE TO MOLLY: CALL UP YOUR SISTER AND GET THOSE TAPES BACK! NOW!] John and I made a lot of mixtapes for each other; I don't think he had heard [the Psychedelic Furs'] 'Pretty In Pink' until I played it for him."