Since the early ‘80s, The Go-Go’s have been a force to be reckoned with. The first all-female band to have a number one album (1982’s Beauty and the Beat) got together in Los Angeles in 1978. The line up of Belinda Carlisle on vocals, Charlotte Caffey on keyboards, Jane Wiedlin on guitar, Kathy Valentine on bass and Gina Schock on drums made history when four of their catchy pop songs charted on Billboard’s Top 40. Internal friction split the Go-Go’s up in 1984 but the band re-formed in 1990. Sadly, July marks the Farewell Tour for this iconic group who, after 30 years, have decided to hang up their mic stands and call it a day.
The Go-Go’s were a massive inspiration to me. The image of and camaraderie between five women who wrote and played their own music was a powerful elixir. I was so intent on following in their footsteps, I joined an all-female band and learned to play bass. And wouldn’t you know, the first two songs I ever learned were “We’ve Got the Beat” and “Our Lips are Sealed.” Those songs may sound simple enough but let me tell you —Kathy Valentine writes deceptively intricate bass lines!
Now, with the legendary Go-Go’s going, going and nearly gone, I talked with Kathy about the grand finale — which winds up in her home town of Austin, Texas — as well as the other cool stuff she’s got going on. She’s a mom to a rockin’ young daughter. She’s in another all-female band, The BlueBonnets and she recently produced an album for Adrian and the Sickness . Kathy is also writing a 140 character at a time memoir on Twitter that you can follow at @kvmemoir! Since she was 16, Kathy has taken music very seriously. Bet you didn’t know that before the Go-Go’s, she played in Girlschool! Kathy was gracious enough to shed some light on the upcoming Farewell Tour and what her life will be like after the Go-Go’s.
CD: How did the band decide it was time to quit?
KV: Belinda had enough with this chapter of her life. She is into a lot of new things and she now lives in France, India and Morocco, with different aspects of her life centered in each place. Even the limited work we do as a band has become somewhat of a chore for her, not a joy, and she wants to retire. The Go-Go’s wouldn’t really be the Go-Go’s without her, so this phase is over.