Stereo Embers The Podcast: Bonnie Hayes (Bonnie Hayes With The Wild Combo)

Written by on 07/07/2021

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“Good Clean Fun”

Bonnie Hayes moved to San Francisco from the San Joaquin Valley in the early ’70s and it didn’t take long for her to establish herself as a commanding musical presence. Her new wave band The Punts
became Wild Combo, and they signed with Slash and put out the Good Clean Fun Record. Slash was about as cool as it got—they had Fear, The Germs, The Gun Club and The Blasters and Hayes was for sure one of the cool kids. Her song “Girls Like Me” was used in Valley Girl—and behind her Brand New Girl EP, she and the Wild Combo toured with Huey Lewis, whose guitarist was also Bonnie’s brother Chris. Hayes finished the decade by being a part of Belinda Carlisle’s band for her world tour and then Bonnie Raitt, in 1989 recorded two of her songs—”Love Letter” and “Have a Heart” for her massive Nick of Time album. In 1991 she was a part of Billy Idol’s band for the almost two year Cradle of Love tour and along the way, her songs were recorded by Cher, Bette Midler, Natalie Cole, Adam Ant, Robert Cray and David Crosby. Not too shabby. She put a few more albums out, including Empty Sky and Love in the Ruins, and she taught at the Berklee College of Music, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the REO Songwriting Retreat outside of Vancouver B.C, the ASCAP workshop in Los Angeles and at the WCS Conference at Foothill College. In 2013, Hayes became chair of the songwriting department at Berklee in Boston. A compelling and dynamic singer and an intuitive and brilliant songwriter, Bonnie Hayes is a fascinating and very cool person. In this conversation she talks to Alex about the physics of songwriting, her love of Liz Phair and why she decided to leave Berklee and then why she changed her mind and went back.

Bonnie Hayes and the Wild Combo’s Good Clean Fun has been remastered with 11 bonus tracks.

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