Patty Smyth still rocks (She is The Warrior afterall)
I'm listening to the audio from my podcast interview today with Patty Smyth, the 80s singer and lead vocalist for Scandal, and -- before she answers the phone -- I'm so nervous that you can hear each breath gurgle through my lungs onto the microphone set up before me. If I turn up the volume, I'm certain you can hear the blood gushing quickly through from my head to my stomach and back.
Turns out, all the anxiety was for nothing, because Patty Smyth was more than comfortable being stuck in the 80s with me.
"We are stuck in the 80s, aren't we? And we can't get out!" she starts. "I've been here for 20 years!"
That's the 80s for you: One big welcoming family.
Smyth and Scandal have been traveling around the country on VH1's "We Are The 80s" tour with Eddie Money, Loverboy and Rick Springfield. The tour makes its next stop Saturday night (Sept. 23) at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Fla., and the Stuck in the 80s podcast team will be taping an episode from the show.
"I like doing it with a couple different bands," Smyth says of the touring adventure. "Loverboy is great and Mike Reno sings his butt off. They're sweet guys and they play great. It's fun watching them. It's fun for us."
The whole tour might not have happened without goading of VH1. A few years ago, the cable music network surprised Smyth and the band by featuring them on an episode of "Bands Reunited." A best-of CD also was released for the occasion.
"I don't think Scandal would have gotten back to together ... it wasn't in my mind at all," she confesses. "I wasn't that familiar with the show, so I didn't know who they were." It was her daughter, who was present at the show's ambush of Smyth at a SoCal restaurant, who talked Patty into agreeing to reunite on the show.
At the televised reunion, the band members "sat around for two hours and talked and it was like group therapy," she said. "It was a real joyful reunion. When we played, it was like 20 years hadn't gone by. We decided we wanted to do more of it because it was so fun."
Fans attending her show can expect to join in the fun with hits like "The Warrior," "Goodbye To You" and "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough" on the set list.
Smyth also confirmed the juiciest rumor about her in the 80s: She was indeed invited to join the rock band Van Halen after singer David Lee Roth left. "It was like an urban myth, but it was true," she says.
Eddie Van Halen came to a Scandal show one night and ended up jumping on the tour bus and traveling with them for three days before he popped the question. But Smyth was eight months pregnant when she was asked to make a final decision.
"It was just not the right time for me," she says now. "I was a New Yorker, I didn't want to live in L.A. ... and those guys were drunk and fighting all the time."
In retrospect, she says, she should have given it a little more thought. "I would have liked to have done one record with him."
The only other regret Smyth has is keeping the fans waiting so long. "Person after person keeps coming up and saying they've been 20 years for this, and it makes me feel bad," she says. So now, her plan is to stay in the spotlight and keep making and playing music.
"I'll just keep doing it until they say, 'OK, stop."
That's something that's not likely to happen anytime soon.
[VH1's "We Are The 80s, featuring Rick Springfield, Eddie Money, Loverboy and Scandal: Saturday, 7 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, (727) 791-7400. To hear more from Patty Smyth, stay tuned for upcoming "Stuck in the 80s Goes To A Concert" episode.]