File under: Music obsession
I'll admit it, I LOVE The Go-Go's.
It goes back to the fall of 1981. I was a freshman in high school, absolutely miserable about being in a new school, having no friends, and failing my classes. I was not happy with life at all. On the days that I went to school, my escape was coming home and listening to music.
Chicago radio was good back then. There was a true Top-40 station, WLS. Being that they were a large station and very popular, they were the first in the city to get new music. New on the scene was a band who had become popular in Los Angeles. They grew from the punk scene, they softened their edges a bit while retaining their crisp sound, and recorded an album which was quickly taking America by storm. And one afternoon, I was introduced to The Go-Go's. I heard "Our Lips Are Sealed" and was transfixed. I begged for an advance on my allowance so that I could run down to the local record shop (Round Records in Rogers Park) and buy their album "Beauty and the Beat." Start to finish, I loved it. It made me happy. It gave me a reason to put up with all of the misery I was experiencing in my life.
Okay, so it didn't win me any friends. That would have meant I'd have had to talk to people. It didn't improve my grades. But it offered me an escape.
Not long after, I transferred to a different school. I made friends and I was getting better grades. Directly correlation to The Go-Go's, probably not. But they saw me through the tough times.
I've remained a fan for years. I was worried when Gina Schock (drummer) had open hears surgery. I cried when they broke up in 1985. I followed their solo careers. I was Mad About Belinda Carlisle, sat in Rush Hour with Jane Wiedlin, and wandered to the Middle of Nowhere with Gina Schock.
Belinda has had the most successful solo career, both in the US and abroad. As the voice of the band, her solo work evoked the memories of the early days, even if her sound wasn't the same.
Time heals all wounds and The Go-Go's regrouped in 1990, then again in 1994 and finally in 1999 and have been touring annually, since. They even released another album in 2001. This was the year I finally met all of them and got to know Jane Wiedlin a bit. I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to provide input for their website. Jane herself told me that she loved the idea and we collaborated on some of the text for my section of the site.
Over the years, I've seen the band 25 times. I've seen them in Florida, California, Nevada, Missouri and here in Chicago. I last saw them in Vegas in January 2007.
I found out this morning that they're coming back to Chicago. They'll play the House of Blues on January 30. Vahona and I will be there. I emailed her today and it made her day to learn that they were coming back to Chicago. I ordered tickets for us this afternoon. :)