The Go-Go’s Remain Timeless in Digitally Released Documentary « American Songwriter

The Go-Go’s Remain Timeless in Digitally Released Documentary « American Songwriter

With their first three albums—Magnificence and the Beat (1981), Trip (1982), and Discuss Present (1984)—The Go-Go’s made historical past as the primary all-female band who wrote their very own songs and performed their very own devices to high the charts. Forty years later, their hits resembling “We Received the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “Head Over Heels” nonetheless stand as vibrant examples of good pop songs. In 2020, The Go-Go’s, a documentary about their rise to fame (and the struggles that typically engendered) premiered on the Sundance Movie Competition, then aired on the Showtime channel, receiving excessive scores and demanding acclaim. On February 5, the movie shall be launched on digital codecs (through Mercury Studios).

“I watched it as if it wasn’t me, as if it wasn’t my story, as a result of it was so attention-grabbing and it drew me in a lot,” says Go-Go’s guitarist/pianist Charlotte Caffey in regards to the movie, calling from her Los Angeles house. “After which I spotted, ‘Wait, that’s us.’ To see it laid out like that, it’s actually cool. It was very highly effective to see that.”

Caffey wrote “We Received the Beat,” the band’s first High 10 single, and co-wrote a lot of their different hits, as nicely. She remembers precisely when she realized she ought to develop into a songwriter and performer: “I noticed The Beatles at Dodgers Stadium after I was twelve [years old],” she says. “I wasn’t screaming together with the remainder of the ladies. I used to be watching them intensely. In my thoughts I used to be like, ‘Oh, I’d love to do that.’”

By the point she was fifteen years outdated, Caffey was a proficient pianist who was writing her personal songs. “I grew up listening to radio, and it’s form of what shaped me – the traditional songwriting of the ‘60s and ‘70s was actually the springboard for me,” she says, noting that the surf guitar model, so standard in Los Angeles on the time, had a selected affect on her later enjoying model. By her teen years, she was drawn to the punk scene taking place in Hollywood.

Photograph by Cassy Cohen

“We began the Go-Go’s in 1978, I consider, and we had been uncooked gamers, let’s put it that means,” Caffey says with fun. “We weren’t skilled being in a band. I had had classical coaching and I went to varsity for a level in classical music on piano, however enjoying guitar was an entire ‘nother factor.”

Fortuitously, the band’s inexperience wasn’t considered as an issue within the punk world. “That scene we had been in in Hollywood, that was the best factor for me as a songwriter as a result of there was full freedom,” Caffey says. “It was about expressing your self, and everybody was welcome and being artistic. It was fully uncontrolled and wild. There have been no restrictions.”

Nonetheless, Caffey recollects feeling some trepidation as she realized her songwriting was veering away from offended punk: “I introduced in a music referred to as ‘How A lot Extra.’ I used to be actually scared as a result of it’s tremendous pop and it’s a few relationship. I used to be like, ‘Properly, I’m both going to get fired from the band, or perhaps they’ll actually prefer it!’” Fortuitously, her bandmates liked the music. “Jane [Wiedlin, rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist] instantly jumped on board and helped me end it.” The music later appeared on the band’s debut album.

“How A lot Extra” might have ushered in a brand new pop vibe for the band, however loads of their unique angst nonetheless got here by means of, mixing collectively into a particular model. “As we performed it stay, we nonetheless sounded actually uncooked and punk,” Caffey says, “so we had very melodic songs with a very tough edge once we had been enjoying it stay. That’s how our sound began.”

Caffey says she couldn’t have predicted that the band would go on to hit the charts and promote out stadium reveals around the globe —however she did know they had been onto one thing particular. “I keep in mind pondering this 1,000,000 occasions: ‘I feel these songs preserve getting higher and higher. One thing is occurring right here.’ That’s what I saved pondering. The entire thing was actually natural. It simply got here from our talents on the time and our love for melodic songs,” she says. 

The band would develop into function fashions for what ladies in bands might do – however once more, Caffey says they didn’t understand on the time simply how influential they had been. “We might see, as our audiences grew, that there have been ladies and ladies within the viewers, and it was so vital to us,” she says. “We had been so excited. That was actually particular. We actually did have a way that we had been doing one thing particular, nevertheless it wasn’t like we had been saying, ‘We’re trailblazing.’”

As The Go-Go’s movie reveals, the band’s sudden rise to fame additionally had a darkish aspect, resulting in extreme drug dependancy for a number of members, and more and more extreme arguments between all of them, which ultimately led to the band splitting up in 1985. With hindsight, Caffey calls their preventing “immature nonsense.”

The band went on to reunite and disband just a few extra occasions throughout the Nineties and into the 2000s, however Caffey says they’re in a wholesome place now, with all members lengthy sober and on good phrases with one another. “As soon as we lastly actually began speaking with one another, then that’s when it actually modified,” she says. “Now, if something comes up, we speak about it and transfer on.” The Go-Go’s chronicles their profitable reunion in 2019, which resulted in a tour and their first new single in virtually twenty years, “Membership Zero.”

Photograph by Melanie Nissen

Caffey says she and her bandmates are all wanting ahead to the post-pandemic world once they can once more hit the highway. “Our stay reveals, we even have an extremely enjoyable time. The chemistry of the 5 of us collectively, I’ve by no means skilled it with every other individuals in my life,” she says. “It’s loopy. We actually love enjoying. It’s not an act.” 

Followers can even look ahead to extra new Go-Go’s songs, as Caffey confirms she and Wiedlin have agreed to make use of this time throughout the pandemic to start out working collectively on new materials—though she admits she will’t actually clarify what, precisely, makes a music proper for the band. “There’s a component, there’s a particular sauce, I don’t know what it’s,” she says. “If I sit down and attempt to write a music for the Go-Go’s, it by no means works out.”

Because of this, Caffey has a really free-form strategy to songwriting (in line with the no-rules scene she began out in 4 a long time in the past). “What I do is stream-of-consciousness. I’ll sit down and begin with the concept and let it go. I take heed to a few of my cellphone memos, as a result of I put every thing on my cellphone – it goes to some attention-grabbing locations typically. That’s how I form of really feel out a music, really feel out an concept. Generally I’ll begin on guitar and I’ll be like, ‘Hey, I ponder what this is able to sound like on piano? Let me go over there.’ Then I begin doing an entire completely different factor. I really like the natural side of songwriting,” she says.

With The Go-Go’s documentary popping out on digital codecs, followers may have one other probability to expertise the band’s story and timeless pop songs. Whereas the movie is candid about all of the ups and downs of their profession, Caffey says she and her bandmates are specializing in the nice elements. “We’ve had unimaginable experiences and we’re all very grateful,” she says. “We have now humorousness about many issues. We had been very fortunate. It’s an attention-grabbing historical past and I really feel very, very lucky to have it’s mine.”

Important photograph by Paul Natkin

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