More than 30 years after they first broke up and 26 years after they reunited, the Go-Go’s are currently on what’s being billed officially as “The Farewell Tour,” arriving at the House of Blues on Monday. But at least one member is quick to stress that this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the iconic band.
“We’re not breaking up or anything,” drummer Gina Schock says. “Essentially, what we’re doing right at this point is stopping touring. But we have a lot of things going on, as a group and individually, so we’re busy with this band still.” Even so, she admits that she’d be happy to see the Go-Go’s keep playing live: “Hopefully I can talk other folks into maybe doing some more touring at one point or doing a couple shows here and there.”
Schock’s certainly been a catalyst before; in addition to the economical but supercharged drumming that might be the band’s secret weapon, she introduced the early, punkish Go-Go’s to the boring concept of actually practicing. “When I was in Baltimore, I played in several different bands, doing four sets a night, two sets of originals, two sets of covers, that kind of thing,” Schock says. “When I met the girls, they had just picked up their instruments. One thing I did inject was a different work ethic: Guys, no, we don’t rehearse once or twice a month, we rehearse every day after work and on weekends, and that’s how we’re gonna get better. And everybody adopted that work ethic, and it did pay off.”
Q. The recorded legacy of the Go-Go’s up until your 1985 breakup — “Beauty and the Beat,” “Vacation,” and “Talk Show” — came from a lineup that existed for less than five years total. Does it feel to you like you accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, or do you think that there was even more that you could have done?
A. I think we accomplished a hell of a lot in a short period of time. It was insane, the amount of work that was getting mashed into that period of time. We got a lot done. Certainly, there was more that could have come from that band at the time. But things had gotten out of control, with too much money and too many drugs, and that was how it had to end at that point.
Q. Kathy Valentine left the band in 2013 under what sounded like acrimonious circumstances. Did you think that maybe the four of you would be able to patch things up with Kathy and bring her back into the fold for one last hurrah, to close it out the way it began?
A. You know, it’s something that we never, ever talk about, honestly, because we’re too busy moving forward with what we have on our plate now, and have had on our plate in the last couple years. I have no idea what Kathy’s doing. It’s a sad thing, the way that it had to be, but that’s the way that it had to be. I’m not really allowed to talk about it much. But I wish her only the best. But the truth is that that first album, “Beauty and the Beat,” was written before Kathy was even in the band. So our most successful record, and what established us in America, was before Kathy Valentine was in this band. She certainly contributed some, but it was already there.
Q. The band has seemingly never been shy in talking about the drugs, the groupies, the general bad behavior that you indulged in during your heyday, to the point where you ended “God Bless the Go-Go’s” with a song about it. What’s emboldened the band to be so forthright about things that a lot of bands would either downplay or refuse to talk about at all?
A. Growing up. Getting older. Your age. You get to the point where you’re comfortable in your own skin, you know who you are. You’re not this person that the media has made up, which is kind of the way it was in the beginning, when we were like “America’s sweethearts,” when we’re not. We were like every other kid that’s 21 years old and has success — you go [expletive] nuts, you know? I feel bad for Justin Bieber or Miley [Cyrus]. They’re always up their [expletive] about this or that. They get tortured at that these days. God, I’m glad that all this social media was not around, with the iPhones and all, because I tell you what, we’d’ve been in jail. [laughs] We would have definitely had some run-ins with the law, for sure. We talk about, Wow, thank God that we were out when we were, because it was much easier then. There wasn’t paparazzi following you every step of your day, every move you make.
Q. Your VH1 “Behind the Music” episode talked about the separation between the “America’s sweethearts” image versus the behavior behind that image.
A. But we weren’t doing anything extraordinarily hideous. We were just behaving like young kids do when you’re in a big band. I think it’s just kind of normal. I don’t feel bad about anything. I don’t regret anything.
At the House of Blues, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets: $35-$45. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.comInterview was edited and condensed. Marc Hirsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.