Okay Hanley didn’t count on to be moved to tears when she sang songs from Josie and the Pussycats in live performance for the very first time. Then once more, she didn’t assume she’d ever play these songs for an viewers, not to mention one which had waited over 15 years to listen to “Three Small Words” dwell, away from their screens.
The Pussycats’ insatiably catchy pop-punk single is probably the most vivid anthem from the film, and one which shines with killer performances from Rachael Leigh Cook, who performed Josie onscreen, and Hanley, who served as Cook’s vocal double. But on September 26 on the Ace Hotel Theater in Los Angeles, it was the group’s response to “You Don’t See Me,” a ballad bursting with the stuff of center faculty love notes, that reminded Hanley simply how a lot individuals liked the 2001 cult traditional.
“People began screaming, and crying, and, like, singing each single phrase,” she recalled. “I used to be carrying in-ear screens so I could not hear individuals singing together with the opposite songs. I discovered later that they have been — actually loudly. But once we have been enjoying ‘You Don’t See Me,’ I may truly hear the group singing, and I used to be similar to, ‘What is definitely occurring proper now?’ Who knew?! The complete factor was actually transferring to me. I had no concept.”
What’s occurring proper now’s a serious resurgence of appreciation for Archie Comics’ resident punk-rock promenade queen — and the lasting energy of her character. At the Ace, Hanley — together with the actresses who performed the Pussycats onscreen, Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, and Tara Reid, in addition to writer-directors Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont — drew a capability crowd for a screening of the movie and a spirited Q&A with everybody above. The soundtrack was just lately pressed to vinyl, so the reunion sprung up from the music, and a efficiency from Hanley and the band is finally what had many attendees (and Hanley herself) tearing up.
Hanley got here to prominence because the lead singer of Boston rock outfit Letters to Cleo within the ‘90s, and was no stranger to the foremost soundtrack recreation by the point Josie and the Pussycats introduced a possibility. Letters to Cleo’s tunes underscored scenes from The Craft, Melrose Place, and different movies and TV reveals earlier than 10 Things I Hate About You carved out a spot for them in Hollywood due to their boisterous covers of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” and Nick Lowe’s “Cruel to be Kind” in 1999.
Their debut full-length album, 1993’s Aurora Gory Alice — which Letters to Cleo just lately pressed to vinyl as nicely this fall, together with 1995’s Wholesale Meats and Fish and 1997’s Go! — obtained tons of MTV love, too: The video for its single, “Here & Now,” was labored into common rotation, and “I See” performed over the top credit of a Daria episode within the animated present’s third season.
“It was type of the golden age of soundtracks,” Hanley mentioned. “Soundtracks actually have been their very own character within the films! It was a totally totally different automobile for locating new music, and quite a lot of these music supervisors had killer style in music. Not solely did it develop into a automobile, however a very credible one.”
That’s positively true of the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack, as the unique songs enriched the characters who performed them. (Unlike the movie, which faltered on the field workplace, it was successful from the soar, and achieved gold standing after promoting 500,000 copies.) Hanley initially auditioned to sing for Valerie or Melody, Dawson or Reid’s characters, however a casting shakeup on the soundtrack facet led to Hanley singing for Josie. “We did band camp collectively,” she mentioned of working alongside Cook. “We would simply go right into a dance studio that had a complete wall of mirrors. We’d get guitars or microphone stands and simply observe singing the songs, so she may see how my mouth moved once I was singing, and I may see how she moved.”
Her stage expertise helped Cook flawlessly painting a budding rock star, and it didn’t damage that she’s been a fan of Josie because the Pussycats first hit the pages of Archie Comics in 1969. Hanley’s musical life mirrored Josie’s, as she was 17 when she started collaborating with buddy and guitarist Greg McKenna, with Letters to Cleo’s lineup firming up in her mid-20s.
Now, with Riverdale placing a brand new spin on Josie and the Pussycats, Hanley — who’s heard nothing however nice issues about Ashleigh Murray’s tackle the tenacious teenaged rock star, and plans to start out binge-watching the CW present quickly — is glad to see that little has modified, in that younger girls particularly nonetheless see themselves in these characters who proceed to choose up guitars and blow individuals’s minds.
“I used to be an Archie Comics freak,” she says. “All of these characters would possibly as nicely have been actual to me; they have been as actual to me as tv characters. I went into the newsstand and acquired the comics — if there was a particular Jughead one, I’d purchase it. I used to be into it, and I believe quite a lot of youngsters felt that approach. The reality that each one of those iterations come out each decade or so, a model new expression of the comics, it simply speaks to the energy of these characters and that world. They’re relatable however endlessly attention-grabbing. The politics of teenage relationships, like, that’s all the pieces.”
“I’m virtually 50 years outdated, and I nonetheless have these sorts of politics in my life, navigating these relationships,” she added. “It by no means will get simpler. We can all relate.”
Just as Hanley did on the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack, Murray’s Josie leaves her mark on adored hits, like Kelis’ “Milkshake” or Blondie’s “I Feel Love” — and he or she’s capable of go away her mark on Josie’s legacy, too, by lending her crystalline voice to authentic songs that followers love as a lot because the covers.
And although some cat ears introduced them collectively, it is clear to see that the ladies who introduced Josie to life are those who preserve her alive — and preserve audiences coming again for generations.