It has been more than 25 years since their all-female California power-pop sound first buzzed through the charts, and the Go-Go's are still proving that beauty and the beat can be eternal.
Jane Wiedlin, who co-founded the band with singer Belinda Carlisle in the late 1970s, says that these days, tours are less rowdy, but the "girls" - her word - still wanna have fun. The Go-Go's play St. Petersburg's Jannus Landing tonight.
"In the early '80s we once toured for nearly two years straight, and now we never do more than about two weeks," Wiedlin said. "And since most of the girls have put their partying days behind them, it's a lot more sedate in the dressing room. We still manage to have a good time, though."
From 1981 to'84, the Go-Go's were one of the hottest bands on radio and MTV, with hits includingOur Lips Are Sealed, We Got The Beat and Vacation. In '84, Wiedlin left for a solo career and to act (she was Joan of Arc in 1989's Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure). The band reunited in 2001 to produce the disc God Bless the Go-Go's.
Wiedlin recently took time to talk about the band's history, her foray into acting and the future of the "girls."
Back in the early '80s, did you have a problem with male groupies? How are your fans today?
To be honest, we didn't get a lot of groupies in the old days, and we certainly don't get a lot of groupies these days. We get a real kick when our longtime fans bring their kids to our concerts. I think Radio Disney plays us a lot, so there is a whole new generation of music lovers that are discovering our music. It's nice to show young girls that chicks can rock. And play instruments.
You co-wrote Our Lips Are Sealed with Terry Hall. It's a great tune where we get to hear you softly sing "Hush my darling . . ." during that one verse. Talk about the creation of that song.
In 1980, the Specials (Hall's band before Fun Boy Three) came to see us play in Hollywood and invited us to tour with them in England, where I embarked upon a short but dramatic romance with Terry. Later he sent me some lyrics inspired by our relationship, and Our Lips Are Sealed came out of that. So many people have done versions of that song. Of course, I am very proud and pleased to have written it.
You were the first Go-Go to leave for a solo career. Regrets?
It was fun but scary to make music without the band. In retrospect, I'm not so thrilled with a lot of what I did, but I was on my own for the first time, and it was a big change for me. I don't have many regrets. Certainly I love my life where it is right now, and so I don't think I'd change the past because it might affect the present.
You had a bit role in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and played Joan of Arc in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. How did those roles come about?
I decided to pursue acting when I went solo, and my new manager helped me procure an agent and a few parts. It turned out to be much harder than it looks, and as much as I enjoyed those experiences - being a Trekhead, I was thrilled to meet Leonard Nimoy! - I don't think I'm very good at it. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure becoming a hit was a huge surprise for me, and, I think, for everyone that worked on it.
What's next for the Go-Go's and for you?
We have no set plans at the moment, and every year it seems to get a little more complicated trying to get together to do stuff. We are now living in five different places, which makes it a real challenge to get together. Still, we love to make music, so anything could happen.
Steve Spears writes the Stuck in the '80s blog on tampabay.com. Read more at blogs.tampabay.com/80s.
If you go
The band plays at 8 tonight at Jannus Landing, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. Doors open at 7.$31. (727) 896-2276; www.jannuslandingconcerts.com.