Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin has five simple words of advice for female rock bands — “Write. Write. Write. Write. Write,” she said.
“I think the world needs a lot more women that are really taking charge of their whole career and image, instead of women being picked by men and then songs get written for them and players played for them,” Wiedlin said. “I just would like to see a little bit more wholly, self-realized female artists. I know there’s some out there. But I want more.”
Wiedlin joined other members of her pioneering all-female band on a Broadway stage last week to welcome “Head Over Heels,” the musical based on the band’s infectious hits. They treated the audience to a two-song set at curtain call.
“Head Over Heels” weaves the Go-Go’s tunes — “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” and other hits with deep cuts and lead singer Belinda Carlisle’s subsequent singles — to tell an updated take on Sir Philip Sidney’s “Arcadia.” It’s an Elizabethan tale about a royal family trying to escape an oracle’s prophecy of doom, using Shakespearean conventions and reveals and mistaken identities.
“The fact that we actually made it to Broadway feels like it’s kind of a miracle. And also, super unlikely for a band that started 40 years ago as a punk rock band. So, it’s pretty thrilling,” Wiedlin said.
The Grammy-nominated Go-Go’s helped pave the way for future female artists and notably sang and played their own songs, but Carlisle stops short of feeling like a role model.
“I don’t like that term. I don’t think we’ve ever thought of ourselves as role models. We just did the work and got on with it,” she said. “It’s weird that there aren’t more Go-Go’s that have come along. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason.”
The Go-Go’s have no plans to tour, but Wiedlin claims it’s not the end of the band.
“In 2016, we did a no-more-touring tour, and basically, we announced we were not going to be touring anymore, which for some reason most people thought that meant we were breaking up. But we’re not broken up,” Wiedlin said.
She said the band will continue to work together, and separately, as well as perform in situations she deems, “exciting.” And having time can lead to cool projects, like the Broadway show.
“We were all to the point where touring is just a bit too much, so we are very happy to be focused on the musical ‘Head Over Heels’ right now,” she said. “There’s plenty of stuff in the future for us, both together and apart.”