Belinda Carlisle and Charlotte Caffey had considerable punk rock street cred when they joined forces as the Go Go’s. Of course, they didn’t know it or feel it at the time. To the general public (not you punk rock aficionados reading this), the Go Go's seem like an overnight sensation, but there were some serious dues-paying behind the scenes.
Belinda before the Go Go's
Belinda played drums for the Germs as Dottie Danger for about five minutes. She was a “Blackette” back up singer for Black Randy and his Metro Squad. Once she moved to LA, she was well on her way to being an It Girl, just being cute and being at the right shows, right parties, and on the arm of the right guys. She had a distinctive look and fashion sense. And drive and ambition.
Here are some images of the It Girl along her way to international pop stardom.
at the Whisky. Those guys are the brothers who were in the Jonezes
with Karlos Kaballero of the Dickies
as a Blackette for Black Randy
Belinda and I went to neighboring high schools and knew each other from common extracurricular activities. She had focus, Belinda. There was no doubt that lady would make a mark on the world. While she's always been cute, one day, she just turned up all turned out in vintage beauty, just like a 1950s movie star!
The IT GIRLS!
with gal pals Gail, Connie and Wyline
with Don Waller
Charlotte Caffey was in The Eyes. They had some plum gigs (like opening for the Jam and Dickies in 1978) and their existence proved to be a launch pad for each of the members on-going career. Charlotte had strong musical and songwriting skills and played well with others.
Charlotte at the Plimsouls record release party with Rodney Bingenheimer
I first met Charlotte in 1977, standing in line for a Ramones show. We were the first two people in the line, and talked about our favorite bands. Her band The Eyes quickly became one of my favorites.
Charlotte during her Eyes days, backstage at the Starwood when they opened for the Jam and the Dickies.
When the Go Go’s got together, they were a fun and sloppy punk rock band of girls whose skills were all over the map. But eventually, they got it together and quickly became a favorite draw in clubs all over Southern California. On the night of the famous Elk Lodge riots – a notable date in LA punk rock history (March 17, 1979), the Go Go’s, first on the bill, were actually the only band to get their full set in. Cops and brawling ensued pretty much right during their set.
thanks to Flipside Fanzine for archiving wonderful artefacts such as this!
The Go Go’s line up changed a few times before cementing itself as the band most people know who had the hits like “Vacation,” which is now the soundtrack on mainstream TV for some cruise line or other vacation product and service. Go Go-Go's go!
They were Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Jane Draino (Wiedlin), Margot Olivera and Gina Schock. Margot was replaced by Kathy Valentine, who had come to LA from Texas with the Textones, where her bandmate was Carla Olson, who’s still making music today alongside some of the most noteworthy of folk rockers.
Bottom line: these ladies prove for certain that girls can rock and make a living at it.
You can buy any of these photos from Punk Turns 30!