Pretty on the outside

The Go-Go's are back from vacation...again

Although the film's premise has yet to be determined, the Demmes promise that the "sex, drugs and rock and roll" aspect of the band's early-'80s excesses will be well documented, whatever shape the final script takes. As for the film, Caffey and company are less concerned about a warts-and-all portrayal than having their celluloid story become a clichéd rock-and-roll stereotype.

"We don't necessarily want to do a biopic," she says. "Mostly because it's like, 'Big deal. Band gets together and gets big. Then the excesses come and they fall apart.' It's one of those things that you've seen a million times. What we're trying to do is find the story within the story. We want to try and narrow it down and maybe just look at one weekend or something."

A tell-all book is also in the works, authorized by the band and written by longtime Go-Go's confidante Pleasant Gehman. Caffey says fans shouldn't expect a serious, thought-provoking tome. "It's going to be a lot of pictures, a lot of stories. Mainly we want trash. We would like it to be a book that you pick up at the airport and go, 'Ooh, this looks trashy; let me take it on the plane.' We want it to be one of those ones that you don't want to put down."

The whole world hasn't lost its head, just the Go-Go's. From left, Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Jane Wiedlin, and Kathy Valentine
The whole world hasn't lost its head, just the Go-Go's. From left, Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Jane Wiedlin, and Kathy Valentine
Who regrets this picture more? Belinda? Gina?
Who regrets this picture more? Belinda? Gina?


Bronco Bowl

Berlin opens

July 16

Another project of a somewhat more reverential nature is Unsealed, a new Go-Go's tribute album from 4 Alarm Records featuring interpretations of some of the group's best-known songs by indie bands like Figdish, Truly, and Season to Risk. "I haven't heard it yet, but there's an AOL Go-Go's board, and the fans on there are kind of appalled by it," says Caffey with a laugh. "Maybe I have a more eclectic sense of music, but I'd be interested to hear bands like the Frogs and the Chainsaw Kittens to see what they do with the songs."

Although the summer tour will visit only a dozen cities, the group is planning to record several of the shows for the purpose of compiling a live album to be marketed and sold through their newly launched Web site (

Amid the various projects, the one question that keeps coming up is whether the tour is merely a one-off event or if the temporary re-formation will lead to something more permanent -- possibly a resumption of their recording career. Caffey isn't quite sure what the future holds in that regard, but points to Blondie's rebirth with this year's No Exit -- the group's first new album in 17 years -- as an obvious source of inspiration.

"They set the tone doing what they did. I think it's so great. The thing about Blondie that people ask is, 'Is this like an '80s thing?' Well, no it's not. A lot of music written at that time was passionate. There was a lot of passion going on and a lot of intensity in that punk movement. So much so that it's still valid today. It's almost like they're new songs. There's something about them that makes them as vital today as it was then."

Although there's certainly more resonance in the work of Blondie or the Go-Go's than say, A Flock of Seagulls, the biggest concern of any group attempting a "comeback" is whether they can assemble an album that isn't merely a rehash of their previous material. Caffey is hopeful that the band members' transition from wild twentysomethings to mature 40-year-olds will prove to be an artistically rewarding one.

"The thing I've always said is that I'd love to see where we are. We've all had a lot of experiences outside the band. At least on a playing level and a musical level, we sound better than we've ever sounded. So it would be interesting on a writing level to see how everyone's changed as well."

Unlike other bands that have reunited to the collective groan of the public, the prospect of a new Go-Go's album is considerably more appealing. Although the tracks on the group's swan song may not have been as fully realized as their earlier material, it's difficult to argue against the notion that the Go-Go's ended their original run too early. While one could debate the relative merits of Talk Show versus Beauty and the Beat, there's little doubt that the group was at or near their creative peak when it folded before playing out its hand. The combination of guitarist Jane Wiedlin's departure and increasing chemical addictions within the group forced them to halt the band after just three albums.

Although Caffey says the group hasn't been writing songs for an album as such, the idea of resuming as a working unit is clearly on their minds. "Yeah, we've talked about it. We haven't started that process yet mostly because we just haven't had the time. Also Belinda's in the cycle of starting a new solo record."

Judging solely on the basis of the three new songs written for the Valley retrospective (two of which Caffey co-wrote), there seems to be more than sufficient potential for the Go-Go's to follow Blondie's lead back into the recording studio. "I would love to see what would happen when we sit down and try to write stuff, just to see what happens without any pressure," says Caffey. "Because that's the best place to be. When you're not having to worry about a record deal and you're not like, 'Oh my God, we have to do this.' But for me the bottom line is the material would just have to be phenomenal."

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