The Go-Go’s are the famous all-girl group from the eighties, best known for hits like Our Lips Are Sealed and Vacation. While their music was light and fun, like many bands they struggled with addiction behind the scenes. Thankfully, they’re all alive and well today, and can look back on their troubled times with sober insight.
“We Only Had One Tool In Our Box”
The Go-Go’s currently have a musical on Broadway, Head Over Heels, and they still have many fans who have loved them since the eighties. But the Go-Gos imploded after three albums. As guitarist Jane Wiedlin recalled to People, “We only had one tool in our box, and that was drugs and alcohol because there was just so much going on. It was so stressful. You were exhausted, so you’d have to pep yourself up and then you’d have to bring yourself down.”
Bassist Kathy Valentine added, “We had the jobs where you didn’t really have to grow up, so we could stay in this extended state of adolescence.”
Like many bands, the Go-Go’s indulged in cocaine, which was a big eighties drug, and drinking. Lead Singer Belinda Carlisle confessed she had a three-decade battle with cocaine, and she told The Guardian, “I can’t believe I’m not dead. I should look like the Phantom of the Opera with just two holes in the front of my face.”
Carlisle would also regret not being there for her son when he was growing up, and putting her husband “through the wringer with my addiction. I asked him once why he stuck with me, he just said he always saw the person underneath.”
The Go-Go’s became big right away with their debut album, and as we see with many bands, early success took a terrible toll before they sought out recovery and rehabilitation.
“It was very disruptive,” Caffey told Foxnews. “It’s not normal, you know? It’s very exciting, but it’s very disturbing too. We were ordinary people, having an extraordinary experience…It was just overwhelming. I didn’t know how to balance things out back then. I think it was escalated by what happened to the band. It just provided us a carte blanche to everything…but coming home and drinking is not the answer. You need to balance it another way.”
“I Put Myself Before All Of It”
Keyboardist Charlotte Caffey said when she got sober, “I put myself before all of it. I needed my sanity more than I needed anything else. I was fighting for myself every day, and I’m very happy I did.”
Like many who finally get sober, Wiedlin is glad for the bad times, because it made her a better person. “I felt really lost during that time. Now when I look back, I think, ‘Thank God all that happened, because I don’t think I would’ve ever grown up.”
And now the band can enjoy their second coming sober, making their success even sweeter the second time around. “It’s a little strange that people are so interested in our band, because we’ve been together for 40 years, and a lot of bands – our peers – a lot of them are missing in action or dead. So we feel really lucky that we’ve become relevant again in 2018. It’s pretty exciting…”