By Brian Bingaman
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Continuing on as a quartet after a bitter split with long-time member Kathy Valentine, the all-female rock band that gleefully proclaimed “We Got the Beat” is going on the road one last time.
The Go-Go’s, who rose to fame in the ‘80s on the strength of songs like “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels,” kick off their Farewell Tour Aug. 2 in Clearwater, Fla. It brings them to the Sands Bethlehem Event Center Aug. 6 and the Fillmore Philadelphia Aug. 11.
In a phone interview, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Caffey said that declaring this the Farewell Tour was lead singer Belinda Carlisle’s call. “We’ve talked about this for a long time. Four years ago, we were going to pull the plug, but then said: ‘Aahhh, we’ll go a few more years’,” Caffey said. “It’s not the end of the band, it’s the end of touring.”
Breaking up in 1985, briefly reuniting in 1990, then becoming active once again in 1994, she seemed sure this was the “final” Go-Go’s tour.
In between, Caffey contributed songwriting and played on the hit-laden early part of Carlisle’s solo career, and co-wrote the theme song to the TV show version of “Clueless” as well as the Keith Urban hit “But For the Grace of God.” “As a songwriter, I’m not just shackled to The Go-Go’s. Jane (The Go-Go’s other guitarist, Jane Wiedlin) knew him (Urban), and we got together and launched his country career. He’s a great guy,” Caffey said.
Caffey shared that the song that launched Carlisle as a solo artist, “Mad About You,” is part of The Go-Go’s set list. “That song was originally written for the band. And we broke up in 1985, so Belinda recorded it and really made it her own,” she said, promising “a few surprises” for the audience.
“We’re looking forward to every single city on the tour, and we can’t wait to play and have fun with the crowd.”
Four months ago, expanded re-issues of the albums “Beauty and the Beat,” “Vacation” and “Talk Show” were released.
“On our first record (the multi-platinum ‘Beauty and the Beat’), producer Richard Gottehrer (who had worked with Blondie) really wanted to make the songs shine,” Caffey said of taking The Go-Go’s punk rock ethos and putting the focus on their pop melodies, which made them commercially successful. “We still play very punk on stage.”
On their 2001 album “God Bless The Go-Go’s,” Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong contributed the song “Unforgiven.” “We knew Billie for a long time. He was a big fan,” Caffey commented.
Following in the footsteps of “Green Day’s American Idiot,” Caffey said some big Broadway musical theater names are involved in creating a show about The Go-Go’s called “Head Over Heels,” scheduled to debut in a year and a half. She named Jeff Whitty, the Tony winner of Best Book of a Musical for “Avenue Q,” and Michael Mayer, who co-wrote “Green Day’s American Idiot” with Armstrong and won a Tony for Best Direction of a Musical for “Spring Awakening.”