The Go-Go’s lips were anything but sealed on Wednesday (May 12) morning as the group’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was announced.
Four of the five group members — save for singer Belinda Carlisle, who resides in Bangkok — gathered on Zoom to celebrate the news. “I’m trying to think of different ways to say how this feels,” drummer Gina Schock told Billboard. “We’re gonna keep saying the same thing over and over. I’ve gotta get a thesaurus out.”
Bassist Kathy Valentine noted that “my phone is exploding,” and when guitarist Jane Wiedlin quipped that “I don’t have any friends,” Schock, Valentine and guitarist-keyboardist Charlotte Caffey exploded into admonitions of “Not true!” Valentine also offered to text Wiedlin to make her feel better.
Mostly, the Go-Go’s — who made history as the first self-contained all-female band to top the Billboard 200 with its 1981 debut album Beauty and the Beat — were thrilled to be one of three first-time nominees to make the final class of 2021 list, along with Foo Fighters and Jay-Z. It comes with the Go-Go’s being on a bit of a roll as well: Last year the group released an acclaimed documentary, The Go-Go’s, along with “Club Zero,” its first new song in 19 years; and this week it’s re-releasing an expanded version of the band’s last album, 2001’s God Bless the Go-Go’s.
Valentine also published a memoir last year, All I Ever Wanted, while Schock is working on a book of her own.
“I have no idea how any of this works,” Wiedlin said on Wednesday, adding that, “without the documentary I don’t think we’d be getting in. That film really hammered people on the head about how we were the first all-female band that wrote their songs, played their own instruments and went to No. 1. I agree that people who do things first should be remembered in these sorts of hall-of-fame places. The fact that it’s actually happening is f–kin’ crazy.”
The group members said they also feel some vindication after being overlooked for years. “I feel like we’ve always been underdogs,” Caffey noted. “We were underdogs with the Rock Hall as well, for years. It just feels really, really good and we’re celebrating ourselves and other women. It’s a great thing.” Schock added that, “I don’t think any of us thought about this” during the early ’80s. “I think we were too busy having a great time, hanging out with our friends, making music. I never thought about anything like this happening. I’m in a little bit of disbelief. I guess it is happening. Like Charlotte said, we’ve always kind of been underdogs. I never imagined this.”
Exulting that “we’ve outlived the Go-Go’s haters,” Valentine opined that in addition to the group’s historic achievement, the work from its four studio albums holds up well. “The bottom line is the songs,” she said. “The songs are good. They’re classic songs. They have withheld decades. You can hear a Go-Go’s song on the radio and it doesn’t sound like it’s coming from 1982. We very much had a chemistry — and it’s still there. If you have the songs and the chemistry and the timing…there it is, y’know?”
The troupe expressed delight at being inducted alongside Foo Fighters, Carole King and Tina Turner in particular — “I want to do ‘Private Dancer’ with the whole choreographed thing,” Wiedlin said — and some disappointment that Iron Maiden did not make the final cut. And plans are just starting to be made for the night itself.
“Maybe we can talk all the other inductees into wearing pajamas and we can make it a pajama party,” Wiedlin said. Schock, however, threw out a more aggressive idea. “I hope we get in a really big fight on stage, in a fistfight or something, that they talk about for ages.”
The 36th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is slated to take place Oct. 30 at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The event will air live on HBO and the Rock Hall’s SiriusXM channel and stream later on HBO Max. Tickets go on sale in July, while an exhibit honoring the 2021 inductees is expected to open during the summer.