The Motels in Rolling Stone Magazine
2 September 1999

The Motels Return With Their "Version 2.0"

Suddenly this summer, Martha Davis and the Motels are all four one

As a group, the Motels have been defunct for quite some time. But so long as chanteuse Martha Davis still owns the name, the Motels will have occupancy. Even though the moniker was conceived by original member Dean Chamberlain, it is after all Davis who we remember dressed in black, playing the part of an inconsolable widow in the video for the song "Only the Lonely." And it's her throaty baritone that buttressed remorseful New Wave ballads like "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Take the L."

"I always told the guys [in the Motels], 'you gotta write, 'cause that's where the money is,'" Davis said. "I swear to God, [royalties from] 'Only the Lonely' and 'Suddenly Last Summer' kept me alive all these years."

Currently, Martha Davis and the Motels (or the Motels featuring Martha Davis) are forging ahead with three new Motels -- guitarist Mick Taras, bassist Angelo Barbera and drummer Ty Dennis -- and trying to secure a record deal with for a new double album. Though she's named the new double-disc Version 2.0, having forgotten about Garbage, she's more concerned with her reinvigorated work ethic, writing three songs a week and sometimes two a day.

"I'm actually, for the first time in my life, enjoying the recording, which is something I've never really liked," she said, "but the way we're doing it now is exactly the opposite of what I used to hate about recording." The material on Version 2.0 is divided between minimalist dirges and vintage Motels melancholic soft rock.

"We throw [the songs] down so fast that the awful ponderous recording process where you over-think, or beat to death or you kill any spark the song has is gone," she said. "When we did [1982's] All Four One album, it was a year in the studio and it was awful. That's when I got [cervical] cancer, ladies and gentlemen. I went to the doctor and said, 'Can you get cancer from making a record?' I asked him that question and he went, 'Um, I don't think so.'"

Currently, Davis is writing new material and rehearsing material from Version 2.0 in preparation for a future tour which she guaranteed will not have an Eighties nostalgia bent to it. "I've said ixnay to the Eighties," she said. "I've gotta stick to my guns, so we've turned down a lot."

Davis conceded that the new material isn't ready for public consumption yet, but it could be soon -- perhaps on her still-under-construction web site ( -- if no labels come knockin'. "If we don't get something soon," she said, "we might just go, 'It's MP3 time!"

(September 2, 1999)