Molly Ringwald arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Sunday, March 7, 2010, in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
From the Brat Pack to the Rat Pack, Molly Ringwald is crooning her way back to Northern California.
The actress and writer just released her first CD, “Except Sometimes,” a collection of jazzy standards from the American songbook, and Ringwald will debut the selections during a performance at Yoshi’s in San Francisco on April 16.
A Roseville native, Ringwald recorded the album a few years ago and she closes it with a unique take on the ’80s rock classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” an iconic song from “The Breakfast Club,” one of the trio of films she made with writer-director John Hughes.
“When I recorded the album, it wasn’t that long after John Hughes had passed away. He was still very much in my thoughts, in my mind. It’s kind of a tribute of sorts. It was a way to sort of integrate the past into the present,” Ringwald said. “I am very well known for those movies, but I have evolved as a person and an artist. I thought it was an interesting way to tie it together.”
She added that she doesn’t see much need to record a cover song exactly the same as the original, and Ringwald’s slow burn take on the Simple Minds tune is a nice capper to her album of jazz classics.
Her smooth, silky style is refreshing, as if these songs have been waiting around for Ringwald to dust off. They’re pleasing to hear, partly because no one really writes love songs like Sondheim’s “Sooner or Later” anymore.
“They are songs I listened to for years and years. A great deal of them are about love, sure, but not all of the songs on my album are love songs per se. ‘The Ballad of the Sad Young Men’ is not a love song. I tried to be a little varied,” Ringwald said. “I think nobody writes love songs now like they used to, for sure.”
Ringwald is excited to debut her album to a Bay Area audience at Yoshi’s and added that she has been working on new selections to add to the mix.
“One of the things I really love about doing live shows is it’s different every night. I don’t like to see shows that are completely rehearsed. That takes away the magic of live performing,” she said. “Whatever the audience sees that night will be just for them.”
Ringwald said she may be able to entice her father, Bob, up for a number. Bob Ringwald’s traditional jazz piano stylings have been entertaining Sacramento audiences for more than half a century. It’s with her dad that Molly began singing.
“A lot of the songs I grew up singing were Bessie Smith songs. I was singing ‘Gimmie a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer)’ in pre-school,” she laughed. “I definitely inherited my musical ability from my father.”
Ringwald has been going through a very prolific phase, with a memoir and her first novel released in the last couple of years and now “Except Sometimes.” Next, she might direct—likely something she also writes.
“I’d like to continue writing, singing and acting because I enjoy all of those things,” she said.
And she doesn’t mind when people bring up the Hughes trifecta of ’80s classics in which she starred: “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink,” which she just introduced to her 9-year-old daughter.
“I thought I was gonna wait a little longer, but I think kids are actually growing up faster today and a lot of the issues she’s starting to deal with in school are issues that the movie deals with,” Ringwald said. “She really loved it. It’s surprising to me how well the movies have aged.”
Her daughter’s favorite character was Duckie.
Visit yoshis.com for more information on Molly Ringwald’s CD release party on April 16.