The Molly Ringwalds are making a career out of the music of the 1980s. A New Orleans band loved in Baton Rouge, the group specializes in the songs of such ’80s acts as Duran Duran, Boy George and Culture Club, Flock of Seagulls, David Bowie and Adam Ant.
Band members also perform in costumes and makeup inspired by the era when Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna ruled radio and MTV launched stars.
It all started in late 1999 when singer, guitarist and synthesizer player Sir Devon Nooner and three other guys formed a band named after actress Molly Ringwald, the star of the now classic John Hughes films “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.” Guitarist and singer “Platinum” Randi Wilde joined the band about six months later.
The current Molly Ringwalds lineup, together for 11 years, also features singer and synthesizer player Dickie English, drummer Sir Liam Thunders and bassist Lord Philip Wang.
The choice to play ’80s songs was an easy one.
“We grew up with that music and we loved those bands,” Wilde said. “Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Def Leppard, things like that.”
The group played ’80s music in the early 2000s even though the music was out of fashion at the time.
“This wasn’t the cool thing to do,” Wilde recalled. “It was musical suicide to play ‘Girls on Film’ when everybody was listening to grunge rock. But we wanted to be different and we wanted to believe in what we were doing.”
Echoing the preponderance of British acts during the 1980s, three members of the Molly Ringwalds moved to the United States from Sheffield, England.
“Our families came over for jobs and whatnot and we ended up playing music together,” Wilde said.
Early on the Molly Ringwalds played in mostly empty venues.
“We had an audience of just a few blokes in New Orleans,” Wilde remembered. “Lafayette was even worse. Nobody. We’d do our makeup and the hair for two people in the venue. We had a hard time taking ourselves seriously at that point.”
But things began turning around, albeit not in the band’s hometown.
“In those early years, we weren’t really hitting in New Orleans,” Wilde said. “But then we got up to Baton Rouge and it started to take off. To be honest, we owe everything that we have to Baton Rouge. If it wasn’t for Baton Rouge’s belief in us, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
The Molly Ringwalds return to one of their favorite Baton Rouge venues, the Varsity Theatre, Friday. They’re bringing physical copies of their brand new, second album, “Glitterdome,” along.
The Molly Ringwalds’ busy 2014 schedule includes shows throughout Louisiana, in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Next month, the group goes to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
They’re also just back from their first international engagement, the German-American Volksfest in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Thousands of festival-goers attended the band’s three shows at Volksfest, which an annual attendance of 100,000.
“It was fantastic,” said Wilde’s bandmate, Nooner.
“We all thought we had hit what you Americans call peak oil, that we were on the other side of the mountain,” Wilde said. “But it seems like we just keep climbing. We’re ready to give as much as people are ready to receive.”
Meanwhile, the Molly Ringwalds are not resting on their past triumphs.
“We’re constantly upgrading the show,” Nooner said. “A new song, new lighting, new videos, new dance moves make the show fresh for the audience and, more importantly, for us. We throw it out there to see if it fits. If it fits, we add it to the routine.”