Adelaide Film Festival
Review by Sarah List
This is the documentary to take your music obsessed rock star daughters to. I didn’t know anything about the Go-Go’s beyond their music before seeing this documentary, and even music-wise, its was Belinda Carlisle’s solo career that was really my childhood niche. I would never have imagined they began as a bunch of punk club rats that decided to start a band because they were the last people in the scene without one.
Raw and uncensored from the start, Original members Jane Weidlin (guitar) and Carlisle (vocals) showed that success was a priority and they were willing to cut ties with members regardless of the hurt and betrayal that generated.
With the addition of Charlotte Caffey (guitar) and Kathy Valentine (bass) to pen lyrics, and the professionalism and coach role of drummer Gina Schock, (some considerable effort to finally learn how to play their instruments), The Go-Go’s finally started to make headway as the house band for The Whiskey on Sunset. This proved crucial as they impressed The Specials and Madness, who invited them to the UK where they opened to angry skinheads who did not like women with instruments especially if they did not play ska.
They returned to America a commercial success and made the jump suddenly from playing clubs to stadiums, and while life seemed to be one giant party, the foundation causing the cracks that would eventually tear the band apart were already laid. A relentless schedule fueled by drugs including a particularly malignant secret heroin addiction of Chaffey, and an unequal distribution of wealth of the members due to most of the songwriting royalties heading to Chaffey and Valentine caused irreparable damage. Despite their sisterly, fun loving image, the gloss of being a Go-Go was wearing thin and after just three albums and a couple of years as a unit it was over.
What a ride. This fresh, funny, no holds barred account of the band and each other speaks to the desire for freedom that each and every woman seeks at her core.