A new documentary is premiering Friday, July 31 on Showtime called The Go-Go’s, which “chronicles the first all-female band to play its own instruments, write its own songs and soar to No. 1 on the album charts.” Here’s what you need to know about its member timeline and what everyone in the band is doing now.
Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin were the founding members of the band, which started out as a new-wave punk band in the late 1970s in Los Angeles. According to a Rolling Stone biography of the band, Carlisle, who was a cheerleader in high school, began playing music with Wiedlin, who got Carlisle started playing guitar.
They were soon joined by Charlotte Caffey and recruited Margot Olavarria on bass and Ellisa Bello on drums. However, the inexperienced Bello was soon replaced by Gina Schock on drums and the band started to have some commercial success. But in 1980, the group decided if they were going to be a big hit, they needed to lean more into pop songs and Olavarria was asked to leave. She was replaced by Kathy Valentine.
The group had a huge hit with their 1981 album Beauty and the Beat, which went double platinum and had two of their biggest hits in “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat.” The band’s sophomore album, Vacation, was certified gold and had a hit in its eponymous single. The group had a couple of other hits in 1984 but they weren’t as successful as they had been in the previous few years, so Wiedlin left the group. Paula Jean Brown was brought in to replace her, but Carlisle and Caffey left the group in 1985 and it disbanded.
The group reunited for a 1990 benefit concert, then got together for a retrospective album in 1994 that had a few new songs on it, which led to a short tour. A few years later, Schock sued the group, claiming she was not properly paid for her songwriting contributions. The suit was resolved in 1999 and the band reunited again. They toured regularly from 1999 onward, but Valentine left in 2013 and sued the band for breach of fiduciary duty. That suit was resolved in 2014.
But in 2018, Valentine rejoined the group to perform in conjunction with the debut of the group’s Broadway musical, Head Over Heels. The original quintet of Carlisle, Wiedlin, Caffey, Valentine, and Schock reunited for several shows that year. Then in early 2020, the group announced a tour to coincide with the release of the Showtime documentary, though those shows have had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Belinda Carlisle Today
Carlisle had the biggest solo career outside of the band, which includes hits “Mad About You,” “Heaven Is a Place On Earth,” and “I Get Weak.” She was the Playboy cover and celebrity pictorial in August 2001, appeared on Dancing With the Stars in 2009 and starred as Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray in London’s West End from October 2009 to March 2010. She released her eighth studio album in 2017.
In her personal life, she married film producer Morgan Mason in 1986 and they welcomed son James in 1992. According to a recent interview she did with the East Anglian Daily Times, Carlisle and her family moved to Bangkok, Thailand in 2017. She has also become more politically active for LGBTQ+ rights because her son is gay.
She has also been sober since 2005, telling the East Anglian Daily Times that by now, “Sobriety is second nature. I don’t give it a whole lot of thought. Of course, it’s one day at a time, I still go to meetings occasionally but I don’t struggle with it.”
Jane Wiedlin Today
Wiedlin had a mediocre solo career, charting one hit in the top 10 in 1988 called “Rush Hour.” She also dabbled in acting, appearing in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Clue, Sleeping Beauty, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and MTV’s Spyder Games. She also did quite a lot of voice acting, including The New Batman Adventures, Mission Hill, Hex Girls, and Scooby-Doo.
Wiedlin has been married twice, to Ged Malone from 1987 to 1999 and to David Trotter from 2004 to 2005. She does not have children.
In a 2011 interview with The Advocate, Wiedlin said the lesbian rumors about the Go-Go’s never bothered her because she has always identified as bisexual.
“I’ve always been on record as considering myself bisexual, so for me, in my mind, it wasn’t really a rumor. If you’ve had sex with multiple women and multiple men, I’d say that makes you bisexual, right? So those rumors never bothered me,” said Wiedlin.
After her time in the Go-Go’s in the 1980s, Caffey formed a band with Meredith Brooks and Gia Ciambotti called The Graces. She also co-wrote Keith Urban’s hit “But For the Grace of God” and played piano on Jewel’s “Foolish Games” album recording. Then in 2008, Caffey wrote the book, music, and lyrics for the musical Lovelace: A Rock Musical,” based on the life of porn star Linda Lovelace.
She is married to Jeff McDonald, the co-founder of the band Redd Kross. McDonald and Caffey also played together in a band called Ze Malibu Kids with McDonald’s brother Steven and Steven’s wife Anna Waronker. McDonald and Caffey have a daughter named Astrid, who was born in 1995.
After the Go-Go’s broke up the first time, Valentine was in two different bands, the BlueBonnets, and the Delphines. In between Go-Go’s reunions, she also released a solo album called Light Years.
Valentine was married to musician Steven Weisburd from 2002 to 2012. They have one daughter, Audrey, who was born in 2002.
In 1988, Schock released a self-titled album. She also had songs on the soundtracks for Bull Durham, The Accused, Superstar, Deadly Little Secrets, and Crooked Arrows. More recently, she has been co-writing songs for some of the biggest names in pop music, including Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.
As far as her personal life goes, Schock is notoriously private. There have been rumors over the years linking her to actresses Sara Gilbert and Jodie Foster, but those are unsubstantiated. Schock herself has never gone on record about her personal life.
In a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Olavarria said the band used her arrest for buying cocaine as an excuse to kick her out, though the real reason was that they needed a more pop-friendly sound.
“I found out I’d been kicked out of the band from my good friend Exene Cervenka, from X. The Go-Go’s wanted someone with more pop song capability, and the desire to succeed, pretty much at any cost. There was a lack of integrity on their part, and the part of their manager, and their lawyers, who I also sued. I was already in a better band — Brian Brain. The lawsuit took three years,” said Olavarria. “It’s sad that they played the drug card to explain why they kicked me out [Olavarria had been arrested for buying cocaine]. I find that so ridiculous. I was an outrageous party girl, I really was, but the others, in many ways, were way worse. And all of them continued in the drug world.”
She went on to say that she wasn’t “bitter” about the break-up anymore because it was a long time ago.
“I’m not bitter, because it’s been such a long time, but I have no friendly feelings towards any of them. It’s tedious and boring for me to talk about; I was in Brian Brain, which was a better band, for so much longer, but nobody’s calling to interview me about that.”
As for Olavarria’s personal life, she was married to guitarist Geoff Smyth, who was also a member of Brian Brain.
The Go-Go’s documentary is out now on Showtime.