The Go-Go’s have been eligible for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ever since their debut LP, Beauty and the Beat, turned 25 in 2006. But they didn’t even appear on a ballot until this year. “I think there was a lot of misogyny within the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for a long, long time,” lead singer Belinda Carlisle recently told Vulture. “Just by the ratio of men to women in it, that really says it all.”
But once voters were finally given the option of choosing the Go-Go’s this year, they got in. Mere seconds after the news went public, we chatted with Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, Charlotte Caffey, and Jane Wiedlin about the long-awaited honor.
Let me be the first to say congratulations.
Everyone: Thank you!
Go around and tell me your first reactions to hearing the news.
Gina Schock: I guess everybody will say pretty much the same thing, but we’re extremely excited about this. I feel like we’re getting the Academy Award of Music. It’s like a Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m extremely excited and very grateful.
Kathy Valentine: I have to say how quickly hope and anticipation can turn into elation. It’s pretty amazing. It’s amazing to find out. It’s really, really exciting.
Charlotte Caffey: I was like, “Wait, wait, what? Really?” It was so … I was kind laying in a neutral position for all these months, like, “Well, you know. It could go either way.” And it is really, really thrilling. We feel honored. It’s just very special. It feels like we’re in the right place, like we belong here. That feels really, really good.
Schock: Charlotte, did you go from a neutral position to sitting up straight? [Laughs.]
Caffey: I did! I’m sitting up right now!
Jane Wiedlin: We knew that, for whatever reason, we weren’t one of the popular kids in class when it came to this whole Rock & Roll Hall of Fame thing, for a long time. And so I just didn’t think about it ever. I was like, “For whatever reason, they just don’t like us and they never will.” And then everything shifted and there became this possibility that it might happen. I was pretty afraid to be hopeful. I don’t like to get my hopes dashed. And when we found out it actually happened, I was dumbstruck. I was afraid to hope; I really was. And then it happened. It’s hard to express how exciting it is to be induced in the cool kids. It’s amazing.
This year’s class is very special, with Tina Turner, Carole King, Todd Rundgren, the Foo Fighters, and Jay-Z. Are you able to imagine a big jam of you all playing together?
Schock: We’re definitely in a cool class, that’s for sure. I was thinking about that earlier. The Class of 2021 is a pretty cool place to be.
Caffey: Pat Smear called me yesterday. We were discussing the punk-rock roots of the Foo Fighters and the Go-Go’s. At that time, he appeared to not know that he was in. I guess we’ll all be there. I guess we’ll have to play an original Germs song, or something. [Laughs] Let’s do “Forming.” It’s got two chords.
Valentine: Belinda has to act like [Germs frontman] Darby [Crash].
Caffey: Oh, my God, that’ll be fantastic. She has to rub peanut butter all over herself. [Laughs.]
Do you think your recent documentary softened the ground for this? That really reminded the world of your incredible story.
Schock: Our story had gotten overshadowed by, “Oh, they were crazy. They were wild. They got high. They broke up.” So what? All bands do that stuff. Our story, our real story, our songs, our success, our material, coming from the punk scene in L.A., that was kind of obscured by the other stuff … By Behind the Music kind of crap. And it did create such a great awareness of the band at this time. It all worked perfectly.
To wrap here, how do you think it’ll feel to stand at that podium in Cleveland and finally accept this award?
Schock: We might need those five little Go-Go-mobiles to drive us around onstage. We can put flags on the back that’ll say “Go-Go’s.” But it’ll be great for us all to be together. The five of us actually made it! We made it! We’re all alive!