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Belinda Carlisle Talks Final Go-Go’s Tour

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The Go-Go’s have kicked off their “Farewell” summer trek. The band, featuring co-founders Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, and Gina Schock, was originally supposed to call it quits after a planned 2010 jaunt that was postponed after guitarist Jane Wiedlin got injured. The Go-Go’s then reunited in 2014 for what was promised to be the band’s swan song — yet survived to play one last summer tour. The band is currently working on a career-spanning documentary and a jukebox musical, titled, Head Over Heels, which they hope will hit Broadway in the near future.

Lead singer Belinda Carlisle told Rolling Stone, that the group’s ties are far more than just professional: “We’re not co-workers; we’re one, big, happy, dysfunctional family. Sometimes the dynamics are good; sometimes they’re bad. That’s the way it’s always been and will continue to be. . . We all felt like we maybe had a few years left, and we wanted to end it in a way that would celebrate the legacy of the Go-Go’s rather than just disbanding. But all this means is that the Go-Go’s are done touring.”

Carlisle, who has lived in France for years, plans to move to Bangkok after the current tour wraps, said, “I’m ready to move forward. The Go-Go’s have been together for 38 years. It has to end at some point.”

She spoke about the band’s 1981 debut album, Beauty And The Beat, which spent six week on top of the Billboard 200 album charts, marking the first time a Number One album was written and performed by a female group. She recalled being on tour with the Police as the Go-Go’s made rock history: “The highlight for me was when Beauty And The Beat went to Number One and their album (Ghost In The Machine) dropped back to Number Six, and we were opening for them. Sting came into our dressing room with a bottle of champagne and said congratulations. They were really gracious and sweet about it.”

When pressed about how the ’80s started out looking as though female rock groups would be the norm until it soon petered out, Carlisle agreed, saying, “I don’t understand why there aren’t more. You would think after the Go-Go’s, you would have a lot more. You had the Bangles, you had L7 and others. There should be a lot of bands like the Go-Go’s out there but there aren’t. But at the time, we didn’t really look at things in terms of gender. We were just a band. We didn’t really consider ourselves feminist. We were feminist only in the way that we never really compromised our image. Everything we did was totally authentic, and we did it on our own terms. So in that way we were feminist, but for us the music was genderless. We were a band first and an all-female band second. But of course people like labels.”

When we last caught up to Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin, she shed some light on the dynamics of the band these days: “I love being a Go-Go. It definitely has its ups and downs. We have a very intense energy with each other. Sometimes it’s amazing fun, and it’s always magical when we play live together other. But sometimes we are just such a pain in the ass to each other. Like, we all get on each other’s nerves. ‘Cause we’ve known each other for so long — basically it’s a five-way marriage that’s gone on for 33 years (laughs).”

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