It may be the same Go-Go's lineup that scored the band's biggest hits, but if you ask
guitarist Jane Wiedlin, they aren't really the same Go-Go's this time around.
Rather, they are a collection of maturing new-wave rockers who have a story to tell.
"Our communication skills are much better now," Wiedlin said last week prior to the
opening of the pioneering all-girl act's reunion tour over the weekend. "Things
that would have made me nuts even five years ago don't even bother me at all now. I'm
much more OK with things. Personality quirks that used to drive me insane now are just
something to laugh at."
Although they officially broke up in 1985, the Go-Go's have never completely stopped
going. And now, as the members of the band's most heralded lineup embark on another
of their periodic reunion tours, the guitar-popsters say they have more than a
brief fling in mind.
As the band prepared for an 11-date tour, the five members singer Belinda
Carlisle, Wiedlin, guitarist Charlotte Caffey, bassist Kathy Valentine and drummer Gina
Schock have a different perspective on the rock scene but are still about having
"We still laugh at the same juvenile humor; we're still telling the same jokes," Wiedlin
said. "But we're that much more grown-up than last time we did this."
"When we're working on music and someone criticizes something ... now I realize that it's
just someone's opinion," Wiedlin said. Pausing to give her inimitable little-girl laugh, she
continued, "It doesn't turn into a fight or a hidden grudge of any kind. When someone
gets testy, I just think, 'Isn't that cute? ... there they are again, still being themselves.' "
The tour opens with a string of West Coast dates that kicked off over the weekend in
Seattle and was preceded by a secret show Thursday at the Viper Room in Los Angeles.
The group's first tour since a 1994 outing to promote the compilation Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's ends with another Los Angeles gig July 17.
But touring is not all the Go-Go's have in mind. They are planning a book and movie
about their career.
The Go-Go's produced such durably bouncy hits as "Our Lips Are Sealed" (
href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-music/Go-Gos/Our_Lips_Are_Sealed.ram">RealAudio excerpt) and "We Got the Beat"
(RealAudio excerpt) in the early '80s, a time when
all-female bands were the exception rather than the rule. However, their rise opened
doors for many other female rockers during that period.
Formed during the late-'70s Los Angeles punk scene, the Go-Go's went on to write and
record upbeat, winsome songs about romance, friends and frivolity on their three studio
albums: Beauty and the Beat (1981), Vacation (1982) and Talk
"I know that we encouraged a lot of young girls to go ahead and pick up an instrument
and start their own bands," Wiedlin said. "Even without us, all that would have happened
eventually; I just think that we were lucky enough to be the first. It's something that no
one can ever take from us."
"It has become apparent to me," Valentine said, "that the Go-Go's are a prototype
a classic, if you will. There is a Go-Go's sound and a Go-Go's vibe [that] has stood the
test of time. No one has done what we do quite how we do it."
But Wiedlin said things weren't quite so innocent backstage.
"What makes the story so great," she said, "[is] you have these five squeaky-clean
cheerleader types playing happy pop music, but behind the scenes there was addiction
and rampant sexuality and ... I don't know. Maybe it's all just a big cliché. But it's
hard to know, because it was my life."
That's the life the band wants to recount in print and onscreen.
The plan, she said, is to tell the story of the group's rise to fame in an entertaining motion
picture. The group will set to work on the project after its tour. In addition, the Go-Go's
plan to write a tell-all book that details their trials and tribulations and includes photos
and press clippings.
"It's a pretty juicy story, but it's also the real rags-to-riches, Cinderella type of story, too ...
All the wild behavior and sex and drugs and stuff ..." she added. "Because it was chicks
doing it, I think it holds just slightly more interest to the public."
Wiedlin was one of several Go-Go's who released solo albums or formed new bands in
the late '80s and early '90s; she released Jane Wiedlin in 1985 and two more
solo albums in the next five years. Lead singer Carlisle scored with the #1 pop hit
"Heaven Is a Place on Earth" in 1987.
While they have occasionally regrouped and talked of recording a new album
they did record new tracks for Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's they
generally have played a few shows and gone their separate ways.
But the bandmembers are now expressing nostalgia for the old days. "I miss the sex and
drugs," Schock said. "The '90s suck."
Go-Go's Tour Dates:
July 7; San Francisco, Calif.; Maritime Hall
July 8; Los Angeles, Calif.; Greek Theater
July 9; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Santa Barbara Bowl
July 10; Las Vegas, Nev.; House of Blues
July 11; San Diego, Calif.; Open Air Theater
July 13; Phoenix, Ariz.; Phoenix Celebrity Theater
July 14; El Paso, Texas; Civic Center Theater
July 16; Dallas, Texas; Bronco Bowl
July 17; Los Angeles, Calif.; Greek Theater