“We Got The Beat,” “Vacation,” “Head Over Heels,” “Our Lips Are Sealed”…It’s been close to 40 years since The Go-Go’s first formed, yet the music remains popular as ever. Unfortunately, 2016 brings the farewell tour of The Go-Go’s, and the group’s final New York City show will be at Central Park’s Summerstage on Aug. 13. Best Coast and Kaya Stewart will be supporting The Go-Go’s on those shows.
In advance of the Aug. 13 outing, founding guitarist Charlotte Caffey caught up with Downtown. Beyond her hits with The Go-Go’s, Charlotte has found success in other musical ventures over the years. After the first break-up of The Go-Go’s, Charlotte was part of The Graces, which featured a then-unknown Meredith Brooks and recorded for A&M Records. She composed the theme song to the television series Clueless with Anna Waronker, played piano on the Jewel hit “Foolish Games,” and co-wrote a #1 single for Keith Urban, to name only a few of her notable accomplishments.
The music of The Go-Go’s — which also includes vocalist Belinda Carlisle, guitarist Jane Wiedlin and drummer Gina Schock — will not only live on through video and radio play after this farewell tour, but as Charlotte alluded to within our Q&A, a Go-Go’s musical is currently in the works with a major team. She herself, along with husband Jeff McDonald of the cult alternative rock band Redd Kross, has passed the musical torch along as daughter Astrid fronts the L.A.-based band The Side Eyes.
Any chance you guys might do one-offs in the future? Or is the absolute end of the band?
Charlotte Caffey: I always say “never say never” with this band. I would be open to one-offs!
You’ve co-written for notable artists over the years. When did you first realize that it was an option to write for other performers?
CC: Very early in my career with The Go-Go’s, because I started getting requests for songs.
Do you have a co-write that you’re most proud of?
CC: I’m proud of a lot of the songs I’ve written with other artists and writers, but the first one that came to mind was “But For The Grace Of God” with Keith Urban. It was his first #1 AND the first time I had written a country song.
Speaking of co-writes, I was a big fan of the co-write that Billie Joe Armstrong did with your band called “Unforgiven.” Prior to that collaboration, had you been aware that Green Day was influenced by your band?
CC: Yes! We were on tour in Japan at the same time as Green Day and Billie Joe was so awesome and fun to hang out with. He told us that we were an influence…I was honored, to say the least!
Is there a Go-Go’s accomplishment that you’re most proud of?
CC: So many (again) but the one that comes to mind first is the fact that we had a #1 album for six consecutive weeks with Beauty And The Beat. We could have never imagined that would happen!
Do you have a favorite song to play live?
CC: I love “This Town”…
What do you remember about the first gig that you ever played in New York City?
CC: I think it was The Mudd Club. I remember being VERY nervous because we heard the New York audiences were tough. But we had an incredible show and the audience loved us!
Your upcoming New York show is at Central Park, where you previously recorded a DVD. Was this being the site of your last New York City show on purpose?
CC: We were presented with the idea to play Central Park, and we said yes because out last show there was great!
Where did the idea to tour with Best Coast come from? Did you know Bethany before the tour was put together?
CC: I believe our management suggested it. I had heard about Best Coast from my daughter Astrid, who is a fan. She has great taste in music. I am thrilled about this tour and I’m looking forward to meeting Bethany.
After this tour has wrapped, what’s ahead for you?
CC: I am working on a couple of musicals. The Go-Go’s musical is in the development phase. We just did a workshop at Vassar College at the beginning of July with Michael Mayer and Tom Kitt. So amazing and fun! Even though we aren’t going on tours anymore, our songs will still live on the stage in a musical called Head Over Heels. It will be a must-see!
I’m also working on Hit The Wall, which is a play about the night the Stonewall riots started in New York City in 1969. Anna Waronker and I have worked some songs into the piece and now we have the go-ahead to turn it into a musical. The Stonewall was just named a national monument on Jun. 24 of this year.
What about more from Ze Malibu Kids? Any other writing?
When you’re not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
CC: Go on hikes, go to the beach, watch trashy TV, meditate, read…
Finally, Charlotte, any last words for the kids?
CC: Express yourself…