July 24, 2018 Interview – Katey Sagal
Uncovering an enthusiasm for entertainment at a young age, Katey Sagal would take the path less traveled on her way to a very successful career. Turned on by the rhythm of sound and the craft of songwriting, Sagal would go on to become a working musician in her younger days. Thinking she had it all figured out, she soon cast off on an unexpected journey into acting full-time after landing the memorable role of Peggy Bundy in the hit sitcom Married…with Children, a part that would last over a decade, thus launching her into a prolific television career.
Now splitting time between acting and her music, Sagal is as busy as ever, but the diverse performer wouldn’t have it any other way. Recently we caught up with the talented entertainer to talk her love for music, equal love for acting, hitting the road with her band The Reluctant Apostles, plus much more.
CrypticRock.com – From music to acting, you have been involved in entertainment over four decades. Briefly tell us, what inspired you to pursue a career in the arts?
Katey Sagal – From a very young age, I started singing – I knew I could sing from 10-11 years old. My mother played the guitar and I would sing little Folk songs. Not only did I really like it, it was also my way into a social life. I was kind of a shy kid, so music was my little calling card.
I played music from a very young age, and from there I pursued that. I did some acting in school, it was the only thing I was good at to tell you the truth. I was not a great student, but I was good at what I now do as a living. I loved it, I loved all of it.
CrypticRock.com – It has certainly taken you far through the years. Since you both act and perform music, how would you compare acting opposed to performing music?
Katey Sagal – Music is a very personal experience – you’re not wearing someone else’s persona, it’s just you. That’s a very rewarding experience. Acting has a different reward to it, you get to explore different aspects of people. When I play Gemma on Sons of Anarchy, she had impulses that were similar to mine, in terms to protecting her family, but her behavior was not something I would have done. It’s interesting to put on someone else’s behavior. Music is just more personal.
CrypticRock.com – That makes sense. Music is something you are conveying alone and it is a part of who you are. It is very personal, especially if it is a song you wrote. As you said, you have had the opportunity to portray a lot of different characters. You have worked on Sons of Anarchy, 8 Simple Rules, Futurama, and of course, Married… with Children as Peggy Bundy. Working on the series for over a decade, what was the experience like for you?
Katey Sagal – I loved it! We did it 11 years. I hadn’t pursued acting very intensely. I was really pursuing music. That is what I wanted to do, play music. Acting came along and it wasn’t my main focus. Those early acting jobs were sort of happenstance.
I always felt like Married… with Children was something else, it was so out of the box for the time. It was on a network nobody knew about, it was different. I sort of felt like I fit that mold in terms of being an actor. Years earlier, I had been told by a casting person that I would never work on television. It felt like a perfect fit from where I was at.
CrypticRock.com – Wow, that casting person could not have been more wrong! You have done a ton on television through the years.
Katey Sagal – Yea, I know. After they said that to me, I didn’t even pursue it anymore. I just felt, “Yea, you’re probably right, I’ll just be a musician.” It wasn’t until years later acting found me when I was doing a theatrical Rock musical. The casting people from CBS asked me to come and read for a sitcom, that was my first consistent job as an actor.
CrypticRock.com – As they say, the rest is history. You have done Comedy, animated series, and Drama. How important is it to you to have that diversity to play different roles?
Katey Sagal – You always want diversity to play different roles, that’s what makes it interesting. It’s been great! It’s been really great to be comedic as well as dramatic, that has been very fulfilling.
CrypticRock.com – It all sounds very exciting. Amidst it all, you have kept your music going strong. From your solo debut Well… in 1994 to 2013’s Covered album, to music for Sons of Anarchy, do you have any new solo material on the horizon?
Katey Sagal – I am out playing with my band, The Reluctant Apostles, and we do have a CD out. We should be selling it at gigs. It should be on iTunes soon, but we made a record… yea I still call them records. People should check it out. It’s not what you saw on Sons of Anarchy, but it has that feel.
CrypticRock.com – Awesome! You have the City Winery show coming up in NYC on July 26th, among other shows. For those who have not see you live, what can they expect from coming to see you perform music?
Katey Sagal – This band, first of all, is a lot of fun. Second, it’s a band, we all share vocals, there are lots of harmonies. Davey Faragher is in the band and it’s amazing. I play guitar, bongos, tambourines, and I jump around. It’s really good music and you are going to see a bunch of people having a good time. We hope that sparks everybody to have a good time. It’s kind of Soul Psychedelic Folk music, it’s great.
CrypticRock.com – Sounds compelling. What else can you tell us about the album you recorded with The Reluctant Apostles?
Katey Sagal – We made it less than a year ago and recorded it pretty much live. We just went in the studio and did what we’ve been doing. It came out surprisingly well, we weren’t sure it would come out as well as it did. We started it with the intent of using it as a promotional tool so we could play live. We all really like to play. It just came out so well, we just decided to release it. It’s so much fun and infectious.
CrypticRock.com – It will be exciting to see the music live and also pick up the album. Through the years you have been a part of quite a few recording sessions as a solo artist and a vocalist. How would you compare working in the studio opposed to live shows?
Katey Sagal – They both have their excitements – it’s like performing live on stage as an actor and performing in a film. It’s just a different form. They are both great.
I love playing live, I have always loved playing live. It’s just a different hit when you have people there, feedback, and there’s a lot of energy. I do like recording as well, I do like the process. They are just different, but equally as wonderful.
CrypticRock.com – Very cool. Listening to your music, it is obvious you have a diverse musical palette. What are some your personal influences?
Katey Sagal – Right now, I have been listening to The Pretenders a lot. I like old Blues music, I like all music really. I love Latin music, listen to a lot of that. My tastes are eclectic, I love this band called The Goat Rodeo Sessions, which is Chris Thile and Yo-Yo Ma. I love to listen to Tom Petty too. I just respond to all different kinds of music for different kinds of reasons. It sparks a different emotion in me.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, that diversity is what makes things exciting in life in general. Last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films, do you have any favorites?
Katey Sagal – I’m not really hugely into Horror movies. I loved Get Out (2017) though, I had a few jumps in my seat. There is one out now which my kids saw called Hereditary, they said it’s really freaky. I am not a huge Horror fan though, I am really sensitive, so stuff really scares me. It’s kind of like roller coasters, that’s not my thing either. Sci-Fi, let’s see, I love the Planet of the Apes movies. I really like character-driven movies and stories.