Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Interview With Belinda Carlisle: I Talked to the Lead Singer of the Go-Go’s About Beyoncé, Punk Rock, and Buddhist Chanting

Posted by on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 3:42 PM


Do you still listen to punk rock? Like, blast a Germs record or anything?
Yeah, sometimes I do. I’ll put the Clash on. The one punk album I’ll always listen to is usually Wall of Voodoo, I love Wall of Voodoo, I think they still sound fresh. And the Clash still sound fresh to me.

I read in an interview that you love Beyoncé.
I did. I think she’s lost a little bit of her authenticity, to be honest. There’s no question that she is talented and probably the most beautiful woman on the planet, but to me she’s sort of gotten uninteresting. I’m not taking anything away from her. I do think that watching her live is mesmerizing, that’s for sure.

What other current musicians are you a fan of?
I don’t really listen to a lot of current stuff. My tastes are more world music; I listen to a lot of world music. I don’t really listen to a lot of pop anymore. Sometimes I hear something, it’s really good, but I don’t know who it is. Usually it’s out of the UK. There are more unusual, better things coming out of the UK than the US. That is my opinion.

You live in France part-time. Are there any artists in France right now that haven’t made it big in the US that you think the US needs to know about?
There are a lot of really good, amazing French artists. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, I mean I usually see them when I’m at the gym on the video [laughs]. There’s a girl named Natasha St-Pier that has an amazing, amazing voice and she has amazing songs. There are a lot of iconic artists here, like Serge Gainsbourg. Serge Gainsbourg was the first punk; way before Lou Reed or any of those New York people, there was Serge Gainsbourg. He was the ultimate punk and not a lot of Americans know about him. He’s probably my favorite French artist of all time. I did a French album about six or seven years ago and I covered two of his songs, “Contact” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” He was really prolific, he was a very interesting person. There’s a biography on him called A Fistful of Gitanes, which is amazing.

You haven’t released a solo album for about seven years, and the last Go-Go’s record was in 2001. Do you still write music?
Yeah, I had a little hit in the UK last year, “Sun”—it was co-written by Jane Wiedlin and myself and Gabe Lopez. And the Go-Go’s are experimenting in the studio next month with Linda Perry, so we’ll see what comes of that. But I think for myself, I’m more of a singer than I am a songwriter and I’ve always been that way.

I love Linda Perry’s style, so that’s exciting you’ll be working with her. She writes great hooks and brings a powerful aspect to a song that gives it more of an edge beyond just being a pop song. Exactly. Yeah, I think it will be a really good combination so we’ll see what comes of it.

Have you worked with her before?
No, it’s the first time.

Are there any musicians that you would love to collaborate with that you haven’t yet?
Oh, god. I don’t know. I love Barry Gibb. He’s an amazing songwriter. It’d be interesting having a song from him.

For some reason I really think you, despite what you said about Beyoncé earlier, I really think you should collaborate with her. That could be the best thing to happen in music.
[Laughs] I don’t know, she’s pretty spectacular. I do feel the same way about lacking authenticity, but she is pretty spectacular, I won’t take that away from her. She is absolutely talented. And of course something like that would be totally interesting for me, I don’t think it’ll ever happen, but... [laughs].

That would make my head explode, in a great way. If she calls you, maybe just go with it.
Of course I would!

A few years ago you wrote an autobiography—would you ever write another book? Do you have more to say?
I definitely have a lot more to say but I’m not interested. I did it once, but I think that’s enough.

I want a Belinda Carlisle cookbook.
That’s so funny. No, if I was ever gonna do something, I’m like an armchair traveler. If I’m not traveling I’m reading about traveling, so that could be something. Writing that autobiography was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m glad I did it, it was an experience.

You’ve always been so open about your life and some of the things you’ve dealt with, but I’m sure writing everything out in one place was a little overwhelming.
Everything that’s in there I was comfortable about revealing, and believe me there’s plenty that I just kept to myself. People say, “How could you talk about all that?” and actually I have no problem talking about my demons, the drug abuse, or whatever. You know, you can make changes later in life. It was not a dirty laundry book, I wasn’t doing anyone else’s dirty laundry. A lot of the publishers, that’s what they wanted and there was no way I was going to do that. And I’m really proud of that because I could’ve. It wasn’t about that, it was about making it a little bit rock and roll but also making it an inspirational book.

You’ve had such a full, amazing life—you’ve sold out Wembley Stadium, you posed in Playboy... What else do you hope to do? I hate the term Bucket List...
I know, I hate that term but I know exactly what you’re saying. The one thing that I’m really excited about is that I’m working with people in Kolkata about establishing their first animal hospital. That’s my next big project outside music. As far as music goes, I don’t know, I just kind of winging it. I mean, I’ll definitely do a Kundalini album in the next year because I’ve been doing a lot of chanting. I’m really into that genre of music and when I finish my yoga teacher training that’s what I’ll do for sure. And besides that, with the Go-Go’s we’ll see what happens with making an album. I’ve pretty much accomplished everything I’ve wanted to in my life as far as my career goes. Now the rest of my life is gonna be about having an adventure and giving back.

James, your son, is super active in politics. Is that something you’d ever want to get into to?
No. No, I have zero interest [laughs]. I can’t stand any of them, they’re so annoying and a bunch of liars to be perfectly honest. That’s how I feel. Constantly disappointed, even by the ones you vote for. So no. Uh uh.

Belinda Carlisle and the Go-Go's Taught Me How to Be Punk >>


Comments (17) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
ugh she is a horrible human being. i've met her and she is the WORST.
Posted by xina on July 15, 2014 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Yes, Belinda. Nobody in America has ever heard of Serge Gainsbourg. Christ.
Posted by tkc on July 15, 2014 at 4:42 PM · Report this
Rotten666 3
How old is that photo?

Posted by Rotten666 on July 15, 2014 at 5:28 PM · Report this
I love her. In my opinion she´s totally underrated in America. Great songs and albums. Glad to see that she´s back. Cant´wait for a new album. You go girl!
Posted by Alexandre on July 15, 2014 at 5:57 PM · Report this
seatackled 5
Weren't there three other Go-Go's?
Posted by seatackled on July 15, 2014 at 6:07 PM · Report this
biffp 6
World music? Someone with musical integrity would at least like St. Vincent or Courtney Barnett. Those Playboy shots really show a lot of time has passed since 2001.
Posted by biffp on July 15, 2014 at 6:16 PM · Report this
"Serge Gainsbourg was the first punk; way before Lou Reed or any of those New York people, there was Serge Gainsbourg" is one of the stupidest things I've read today.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on July 15, 2014 at 10:05 PM · Report this
#8 Do you really know who Serge Gainsbourg was???
Posted by pm37 on July 16, 2014 at 1:08 AM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 10
I'm more of a Jane Weidlin man myself.
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on July 16, 2014 at 6:34 AM · Report this
Sean Jewell 11
Isn't kundalini a Hindu thing? Wouldn't it be Hindu chants?
Posted by Sean Jewell http://https://twitter.com/cursedjewell on July 16, 2014 at 9:38 AM · Report this
12 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
HER of all people to deride a singer of Beyonce's caliber for "authenticity" is outrageous, while she tries to scrape an ounce of authenticity for herself by continually referring to her punk rock roots. Carlisle always comes across stupid and vapid. she should keep her mouth shut and count her blessings and money.
Posted by byebyebirdie on July 16, 2014 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 14
Posted by Max Solomon on July 16, 2014 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Truly beautiful woman, great voice and intelligent, saw her sing live recently in the UK... believe me she still sounds as good as ever. There were and are 5 Go-go's by the way.
Posted by demonjeff on July 16, 2014 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Beautiful woman, great voice! There were & are five Go-go's by the way.
Posted by jaykay on July 16, 2014 at 1:30 PM · Report this
Wow! Gotta stick up for belinda because she is my idol, but what is with all the hatred? It's just a simple honest interview, no need to get so worked up. Her autobiography is also very good reading, especially if you're close to someone who's suffered with addiction and low self esteem issues. If you don't like her, don't read the interview. I love you Belinda ♥♥♥♥
Posted by HelenMelon on July 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM · Report this

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