New interview with Kathy from PennLive.com
When the Go-Go’s debut album, “Beauty and the Beat,” arrived in stores in 1981, it became the first all-female group (that played its own instruments and wrote its own songs) to hit No. 1 on the Billboard record charts.
Thirty years later, few female bands have followed in its wake, a fact that bothers bassist Kathy Valentine somewhat.
“I’m surprised about that stuff,” she said while taking a rehearsal break in Los Angeles. “It’s one of the questions I ruminate over a lot.”
It’s a good thing that the Go-Go’s are still going strong then. Valentine, Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock and Jane Wiedlin have reunited this summer for a “Ladies Gone Wild” tour and will make one of their first stops at the Hershey Theatre on Sunday.
By a lucky coincidence (the ladies were supposed to tour last year, but Wiedlin hurt her knee), the tour also happens to coincide with the 30th anniversary of “Beauty and the Beat.” The album, which featured such beloved hits as “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat,” went double platinum on its initial release and is regarded as one of the most successful debut albums ever.
“The album came out at a real exciting time in music,” Valentine said. “A lot of new wave bands were making big splashes. That era was a great time for our record to come out.”
A deluxe edition of the album was just released last week, which Valentine dubbed “a nifty little promotional opportunity.”
And while concertgoers can expect to hear classic Go-Go’s tunes, Valentine said putting together the set list can be a struggle.
“It’s a struggle. We all have our favorites. Two thirds of the set is just obvious, perennial standbys. The last third is a struggle,” Valentine said. “You can’t even argue if someone says they don’t like a song. You can’t say ‘Yes, you do.’¤”
But don’t think for a second that Valentine ever gets tired of those “perennial standbys.”
“When I’m playing, I’m very much in the moment,” she said. “Even if I’m playing something hundreds of times, I’ve never done it in that place. It’s always different.”
“My role in the band is that I’m hyper-aware of what everyone else is playing. I listen very closely to what everyone else is doing, and I do what I can to make sure everyone sounds their best. I don’t ever feel like I’m going through the motions.”
And how has the band changed since its debut 30 years ago?
“When a band is young and all live in the same town or house, there’s this juggernaut of energy that everything is synched together,” Valentine said. “That’s just for a short period of time for a band, and then you grow up. Now we live in different cities.
“We have different ways of looking at what Go-Go’s mean to us,” she said. “For me, I would really like as long as there’s interest in the band to keep doing it and have that niche in my life.”