Ruth Pointer of The Pointer Sisters on nearly half a century of success
Not many music groups can boast the kind of success that R+B group The Pointer Sisters have garnered — 46 years of performing since the sisters released their first album.
And with the band set to entertain Washingtonians along with soul icon Patti LaBelle this weekend at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip, Dori caught up with the the eldest sister, Ruth Pointer.
The group originally was formed by sisters Ruth, Anita, June, and Bonnie Pointer in the early 1970s. (Currently, Ruth Pointer, her daughter Issa Pointer, and granddaughter Sadako Pointer make up the group.)
Ruth said that Anita, a lover of songwriting, wrote most of the band’s hits, but in the case of perhaps their most well-known piece — 1982’s “I’m so Excited” — it was a team effort.
“We all three like music that is inspiring and fun, so we wanted to do something that everyone could relate to,” Ruth said. “We said, ‘What do people usually say when they’re really excited about going out with someone, or an event coming up?’ They say, ‘I’m so excited.’ And that was it.”
The result was a fun, upbeat post-disco track that has been featured in numerous movies, such as “Working Girl,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and “Hot Shots Part Deux.”
Male rock stars from the ’70s and ’80s have told Dori on past occasions that tours were one whirlwind of drinking, drugs, parties, and women. When asked whether the party-hardy lifestyle applied to female rock artists as well, Ruth let out a long laugh.
“That’s hysterical,” she chuckled. “No, we don’t party like the men do … women just have a different way of looking at life.”
While there were some parties, she and her sisters had to balance motherhood with their music careers. Ruth got married and had her first children in the 1960s, before she and her sisters had even formed the band. A homebody at heart, Ruth has always loved being at home with her kids.
“Women are a lot different than men — we have children, we have a different way of dealing with our families,” she said. “It gets to the point where you want to spend your time with your family … We want to take care of our babies, we want to take care of our homes.”
The Pointer ladies are, to quote their most iconic song, ‘so excited’ to appear with Patti LaBelle at the Tulalip, a music artist who has always served as a role model.
“She’s just a special lady, she’s been at this longer than we have. We always look to our peers … and Patti is a legend,” Ruth said. “She knows the road, she knows this business, and she knows what it takes to sustain it.”
The Pointer Sisters will take the stage with the legendary Patti LaBelle Sunday evening at 7 p.m. at the Tulalip Resort Casino. For tickets, click here.
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.