The Go-Go’s Get Star on Hollywood Blvd: All Girl Band Broke Stereotypes. And The Top 40!


Today, over thirty years after their first gig, The Go-Go’s got a star on Hollywood Blvd, right outside the Masque where their first rehearsal took place in 1978.

The Go-Go’s were the first band to come out of the LA punk scene to break Billboard’s Top 40. And, more importantly, The Go-Go’s were the first all-female band to top the charts who wrote their own music and played their own instruments. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, held the number one spot on the Billboard chart for six consecutive weeks and went triple platinum, selling over 3 million copies.

The Go-Go’s have inspired generations of female musicians to take up instruments, write songs and perform, as well as being muses to all genders with their DIY spirit and utter coolness. Additionally, the band supports numerous charities. Guitarist Jane Wiedlin, a licensed clergyperson, officiates same sex marriages and loudly supports the LGBT community, as well as supporting Bowling for Boobies, a breast cancer support charity.

Friends and fans got the beat.

Hundreds of fans, surprised and happy tourists, long time punk stalwarts, and friends of the band turned out, including Abby Travis (bassist for Beck, Elastica, Spinal Tap, KMFDM, and The Bangles, and a singer/songwriter on her own who was motivated as a teen by the Go-Go’s); Jeff McDonald (Redd Kross); Jennifer Schwartz (Desperate Teenage Love Dolls); author/actress and world renown bellydancer Pleasant Gehman aka Princess Farhana, who co-starred in the 2009 film Stuck! with Wiedlin; filmmaker/artist John Roecker; music industry faces Gary Stewart, Cary Baker and Jay Boberg; Blondie Drummer Clem Burke who delivered the band’s introduction speech; and Los Angeles councilman Tom LaBonge who read a proclamation declaring August 8, 2011 as Go-Go’s Day in Los Angeles. Hollywood isn’t La Bonge’s district–it belongs to Eric Garcetti, the deputy mayor, who kinda has his hands full. LA is a mess.

But it’s easy to forget our city’s woes on a day like today, with a blue sky, palm trees blowing in the breeze, the Go-Go’s hits wafting through the sound system, and friends celebrating the success of a band that came from our town, helped define the 1980s, and broke the mold.

After the Go-Go's got their star, they went to the Masque where they first played, and Jane and Belinda added a little something to the walls.

Photos: 1: Lisa Derrick; 2: John Roecker; ceremony video: Kim White


Los Angeles Underground Artists’ Tribute to Seminal LA Sounds Benefits Haiti Relief Efforts

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist Josh Klinghoffer covering Thelonious Monster’s “Anymore” is just one of the many gems on Beat LA: A Benefit for Haiti–a compilation from Narnack Records and Greatminds Records featuring some of today’s Los Angeles artists like Rats, Crystal Antlers, Microphonies, covering bands that shaped and defined Los Angeles’ punk and post-punk sound: X, Black Randy and the Metrosquad,  the Go-Gos, the Minutemen and many more–which benefits Doctors Without Borders and their life-saving endeavors assisting victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Covers of alternavtive radio favorites like fIREHOSE, Wall of Voodoo, Dream Syndicate, the Plimsouls and Cheech and Chong crash up against underground acts’ versions of  grittier bands like the Germs, the Urinals, 45 Grave, Nervous Gender, and Christian Death, with liner notes by LA maestro Gexa X who says:

LA had a FANTASTIC underground scene for a few years, say 1977 to 1982. It never got properly documented but it was huge and it was fun. These songs were part of the soundtrack of my life back then. But there is more to it. This is a healing project too…This album is one of many goodwill gestures people have come up with to help out. The political problems of the Western Hemisphere may be too much to tackle as individuals. But human problems sometimes wake the world up to the need to pull together and do something.

The album is available on iTunes, with links to listen and stream at the Narnack site. And we’ve included some of the originals for your nostalgic pleasure.