Great time to be the Pointer Sisters

September 11, 1997|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

As far as Ruth Pointer is concerned, the Pointer Sisters aren't getting older, they're getting better.

By the crass standards of contemporary pop, the group may seem over the hill to some. Even though the group has three Grammys and seven Top-10 singles to its credit, the fact that the Pointers haven't cracked the Top-40 in more than a decade would seem to make the group a casualty of the music business' here-today, gone-later-today mentality.

Except the Pointers are still here, 24 years after first cracking the pop charts with "Yes We Can Can." If anything, the group is better now than when those hits were fresh.

"Now that we're at the age that we are," says the 51-year old singer over the phone from her Massachusetts home, "we still like to have just as much fun as we did back then. A lot of the people who grew up with the music and are our same age -- which is considered, I guess, middle-aged -- basically are of a different breed than what used to be considered middle-aged. It's a very physically active time. People still like to dance and party and have a great time, as opposed to years ago, when people our age had started considering retirement and playing with the grandchildren.

"My sister and I do have grandchildren, but we're not in rocking chairs," she adds, laughing. "And most of our friends who have grandchildren aren't, either. They love coming to see us, and still see that we can jump and dance and boogie and sweat."

Yet as much as the Pointers' onstage energy might inspire others their age, what amazes Ruth is the fervor the group has inspired among younger listeners. "Lately, we have seen so many young people in our audience," she says. "Teen-age girls -- 13, 14, 15 years old -- come backstage to see us and, God, they're just screaming! It makes me feel so wonderful. I mean, my granddaughter is 15.

"It's really a joy for us, that we have a concert and a performance show that parents and grandparents can bring their children to and feel comfortable," she adds. "We can sing a song like 'Slow Hand,' because we're not being sexually explicit in our lyrics. At the same time, the kids can jump up and down. It's a party, a celebration of joy and a celebration of life."

There has been a lot to celebrate in the Pointer Sisters' career, from pop smashes like "Slow Hand" to their country hit, "Fairytale." But the group's most unexpected success was probably with the Bruce Springsteen song, "Fire."

"We didn't even know who Bruce Springsteen was at that time," says Ruth. "We were introduced to the song through our producer at the time, Richard Perry. I don't even remember discussing it or anything. We just said, 'Well, play the song, and see if we like it. If we like, we'll record it.' And that's what we did."

The Pointer Sisters are performing in a benefit concert for the local domestic violence center, the House of Ruth, and Ruth Pointer couldn't be happier. "Such a wonderful name!" she says, laughing. " 'Ruth plays the House of Ruth' has a nice ring to it, don't you think?"

She has a place in her heart for such charities. "It's a wonderful cause," she says. "Because I was a battered wife at one time, and I can really, really relate to that fear -- and to that courage, for those that are strong enough and courageous enough to pull themselves out of those situations."

Pointer Sisters

WHEN: Tonight, 8 p.m.

WHERE: Pier Six Concert Pavilion

TICKETS: $10-$50 for concert seating only; $125 for preferred seating and preconcert reception.

CALL: 410-554-8443

SUNDIAL: To hear excerpts from the Pointer Sisters' recent release, "Fire -- The Very Best of the Pointer Sisters," call Sundial at 410-783-1800 and enter the code 6119. For other local Sundial numbers, see the Sundial directory on Page 2A.

Pub Date: 9/11/97

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