‘Beauty and the Beat’ goes onWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been 30 years since The Go-Go’s “Beauty and the Beat” bounded up the charts and hit No. 1.
The quintet became the first female band that played its own instruments and wrote its own music to reach that coveted spot on Billboard.
“When we first finished [the album], I was a little bit disappointed in the way it sounded; to me, it didn’t seem as powerful as how I thought we sounded live,” said bass player Kathy Valentine. “I was worried that it just didn’t represent the band very well, but I guess it didn’t really matter. The songs after all this time still get airplay.”
Think “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat.”
“A good song is well-crafted with memorable melodies and lyrics that resonate with people. That’s the key to any good record,” said Valentine, who wrote “Can’t Stop the World” for the group’s debut and later co-wrote “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.”
An expanded 30th anniversary edition of “Beauty and the Beat” was released last month. The deluxe edition includes several live tracks.
Valentine, singer Belinda Carlisle, rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin, guitarist and keyboardist Charlotte Caffey, and drummer Gina Shock will bring the Ladies Gone Wild Tour to DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich., for a 7:30 p.m. show June 16. The B-52s will open. Tickets range from $10 to $42.50.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about The Go-Go’s,” Valentine said during a call from Los Angeles, where the band was rehearsing. “Every time we play, people say, ‘Oh, you’re having a reunion.’ We broke up in ’85 and got back together five years later, and we’ve pretty much been playing on and off all through the ’90s and this decade.”
Valentine, primarily a guitarist, was the last member to join. When asked in 1980, she didn’t play bass.
“I had four days to learn their entire set on bass,” she recalled. “I had to go off of a really crappy-sounding cassette tape of them at rehearsal and live shows; it wasn’t an easy job.”
The Go-Go’s rode the early MTV wave with memorable videos featuring the band playing in a public fountain and faux water-skiing.
“A band is all about collective energy,” Valentine said. “It is very much like a family. I felt so guarded and so close to the girls; they’re like sisters to me. I felt like I kind of blew off my family and made The Go-Go’s my family for probably four or five years because I was just so wrapped up in it.
“As far as that still being the case, no, you grow up, your life becomes more fully realized and not so focused on one particular element. Now The Go-Go’s is a part of all of our lives, but it isn’t the focus of any of our lives.”
Valentine has a blues group, The BlueBonnets, and also released a solo disc, “Light Years,” in 2005. And she is putting together a blues disc with several singers.
“When you hear females doing blues, they’re kind of belting out the tunes. What I thought would be interesting to do is bring that music to another kind of delivery,” she said.
Her love for The Go-Go’s is obvious.
“I feel very privileged and very honored to have gotten to participate in a band that made such an impact even though we haven’t always been recognized as much as I think we deserve.”