The second part of our interview with Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s The band plays Seattle on August 14 at Woodland Park Zoo.
What were the recording sessions for Beauty and the Beat like?
Mostly I remember just having an awful lot of fun and a lot of hijinks and pranks. We recorded in New York and moved into this ramshackle hotel called the Wellington. And we had two suites; Charlotte and I lived in one and the other three girls lived in the other. And the one thing for sure I remember — or I don’t remember — I never remember sleeping during that time. Because we would work on the record all day, and then we would go out every night to clubs and shows and just have wild nights and do the “walk of shame” home at dawn and then get up and do it again. And that was one of the joys of being so young, is you had that kind of energy!
What are the highlights of the album for you?
Well, yesterday at rehearsal we were playing the set. And we played “This Town” and I thought “Wow, this might be my all time favorite song I’ve written.” I loved “This Town,” and I think 30 years later it’s still a really good song with really good lyrics and I’m super proud of it.
Why do you think album still holds up today?
I think as a songwriter I’d have to say the great songs. But it has a certain charm that is still apparent after all these years. I think it’s an honest album. And it’s an album made by young people with a lot of passion, enthusiasm and innocence. And I guess people still respond to that.
It took a while for the record to take off.
Yeah, it took the album a year to get to #1, which is unheard of today.
So you were working it all that time.
We never stopped touring that whole time. We did a club tour and then we did a little bit bigger club tour and then a small theater tour. And then we opened for the Police, which was really what cracked the nut, because they were playing stadiums. That was insane. When we opened for them at Madison Square Garden, it was unbelievable. I mean, in looking back on it, it didn’t even seem real to me, it just seemed like a movie I saw.
What is like when that kind of massive fame hits?
It’s kind of a big blur. And my main regret in life, and I have very few regrets to be honest, is that when we did get so big, we never really sat down and enjoyed it or thought about it. It’s just we were working so hard, and the more popular you got the more stuff there was to do. There wasn’t a lot of time to sit there and go, “Wow I can’t believe all these years of hard work, what are the odds that this would happen?” Or, “Wow, I’m going to pat myself on the back.” Well, there was none of that. It was just a lot of, “Okay, you’re doing 50 interviews and a TV show and a concert and….” I mean, I’m not complaining. It was awesome. But we were kept so busy, it sort seemed that one minute we were the top of the charts and the next minute we were breaking up.
Are you surprised the band is still out there touring?
Yes. Very surprised. Very surprised. When I was 15 I never thought I’d live to see 21. And then I became 21, and I’m like, “I’ll never live to see 30.” And this just keeps happening to me. And finally in my 50s I’m like, well I’m going to stop saying I’m never going live to see this. I’m just going to go ahead and live my life and stop worrying about numbers. And I kind of feel that way about the Go-Go’s. I’m absolutely shocked we’re still doing this. But at the same time, more than shocked, I’m thrilled.
Do you think the band will ever record new music?
Yeah. I do. I do. Especially because nowadays you don’t have to put out a whole album. Which is basically a nightmare for the band because we all live in different places in the world. But we could put out one song at a time on the Internet, and we could do it for almost no money. So instead of investing years of your life and hundreds of thousands of your own or somebody else’s dollars you can do it yourself. That’s the scene I grew up in, DIY, and I’m happy to get back to that. In fact, in my career outside the Go-Go’s, it’s what I’ve been doing for decades.
And in addition to the commercial success, the Go-Go’s are also an inspiration to others.
Right. Well, that’s happened quite a bit in our career. And it’s especially exciting when someone who’s actually a famous musician tells you that. Nowadays the biggest thrill we get is when we do shows and we see people that were obviously fans of us back in the day and now they’re bringing their kids to see us. And you see these girls out there that are 8, 10, 12, and they’re singing along to your songs. And just the idea that we are still having an impact on girls is incredible. And I mean it’s super heartening and I’m really proud that my band does that.