“Behind the band, most of the time, sits the drummer. She sits on a stool, adjustable and padded, commonly referred to as ‘the throne.’ Maybe that’s because, really, the drummer rules the band.” – Kathy Valentine | The Go-Go’s
The drummer is the heart of the band – or the ruler on the throne – because timing, energy, tempo, intensity, and excitement can all be controlled from behind the kit. The drummer helps propel the band forward, moving into song after song as the audience gets absorbed into the show that they never want to end.
Gina Schock is one of those rulers, but thankfully not in a scary dictator way! Schock has led the Go-Go’s through countless shows since joining in 1979, and through their four decades as a band, the Go-Go’s have proven themselves the be more than “a cool girl band.” Yes, they are women, but they are a cool rock band regardless of gender, and this year’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame proves they are icons. They will be the fifth all-women group to join the Hall of Fame, and the only one NOT from the ‘60s.
After their formation in Hollywood, Schock, along with Belinda Carlisle (lead vocals), Jane Wiedlin (rhythm guitar and vocals), Charlotte Caffey (guitar and keyboard), and Kathy Valentine (bass), played the popular Hollywood club scene and snagged a record deal. In the same year, they opened up for The Rolling Stones and The Police, and were hanging with all the incredible musicians of the era. Their debut album, “Beauty and the Beat” – which turns 40 this year – shot them to fame. “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat” propelled the album to the top of the charts and it has been a roller coaster ride since.
Through their next two albums, “Vacation” and “Talk Show,” they gave us more hits that remain the soundtrack to our lives: “Vacation,” “Head Over Heels,” “Lust to Love,” “How Much More,” for instance.
OC Music News was fortunate to speak with Schock in the midst of all this craziness, and damn… she is awesome! Schock instantly makes you feel cooler by starting an interview with, “Let’s go, baby!“ We bonded over struggling with technology, enjoying animal Instagram accounts, and her own pup, Penny. “My angel is sitting right next to me right now, and I’m covering her up,” she said. “My little constant companion. An angel girl. She’s my baby.” (Check out Schock’s Instagram to fall in love with Penny!)
We reminded Schock about the anniversary of the debut album and what is still on their calendar for 2021 and she said, “There are so many dates flying around right now! It’s funny because it’s like you sit around waiting for something. Nothing’s going on. And then all of a sudden everything’s happening!” She continued, “But I couldn’t be more grateful and happier than I am for all that’s being thrown our way right now.”
In addition to the band’s accomplishments, Schock has her own big things happening. “I have my book coming out and a couple of other things that I’m working on,” she teased. “I’m very excited about the book, which is coming out the 26th of October, just a couple of days before our induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” So yea, there’s stuff going on for Schock and the Go-Go’s!
The Go-Go’s will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on October 30th, along with other greats like Foo Fighters, Tina Turner, Carol King, and Jay-Z. When we asked if she could tell us who is inducting them, Schock said playfully, “It’s a secret. It’s somebody who has been coming to our shows since the early days. But I can’t talk about it.”
Obviously any musician would be excited to be inducted and join their heroes, so we asked Schock her feelings on the Hall of Fame honor. “Well, I don’t know. I’m really excited and happy and somewhat in disbelief, you know? Doing this book has helped me really look at my journey over all these years, and I’m just smiling ear to ear because I can’t believe I’m still around,” she told us. “I’m still here and I’m talking about this, I get a chance to share my story with the fans and with other folks who may be now interested in the band. I’m just very excited and grateful and can’t believe it’s all happening.”
For an artist to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, they must have “released their first record 25 years earlier” and “have created music whose originality, impact and influence has changed the course of rock and roll.” The Go-Go’s have certainly done that. “Definitely the band has paid its dues, and we deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Schock explained. “Don’t get me wrong, but it’s a beautiful thing. So I’m excited. And the Foo Fighters are getting inducted and Taylor and Dave are two of my favorite drummers, so I can’t wait to see them!”
Gina Schock with Fellow Rock and Roller Joan Jett.
PHOTO PROVIDED COURTESY of MAD INK PR
The Go-Go’s are getting together to work on their performance for the ceremony, which is hard to do with five adults. “We are spread across the globe!,” she laughed. She promises they are working hard – as they always do – and putting together something amazing for us all. The performances and induction will be aired in December on HBO.
Once the Hall of Fame celebration ends, the Go-Go’s will keep going with several West Coast show dates in December and January – including a stop at the Microsoft Theater in L.A. on December 29th, and at San Diego Civic Theater on January 3rd. You can even ring in 2022 with them in Las Vegas. They are also touring with the legendary Billy Idol in June 2022.
The band was working on new music pre-COVID and gave us “Club Zero.” Unfortunately they could not share it in person, so these dates will be the first time. “COVID sort of knocked us out of the water last year and again this year, and we really don’t want to do anything to endanger anyone’s life,” Schock said. That means if you want to see a show, plan to be vaccinated! “We’re going to be really, really strict about enforcing that. You have to be vaccinated before you can get into the venue and taking people’s temperatures as they walk in the door. We are extremely serious about this. We’re not playing around,” Schock explained. (Side note: Won’t it be amazing when the crowd is all vaccinated and we can enjoy the music without worries?!)
As for Schock’s new book, a friend commented on all the photos she had at her home and suggested she share them with fans. While many of us Gen X folks are thrilled to NOT have pictures of our debauchery floating around, well… let’s face it… we are not the Go-Go’s. Most of our lives pale in comparison. Fortunately for us, Schock has always loved photography and you can see tons of photos from the early days of the band. Candid, intimate, hilarious, touching photos Schock captured as the band formed, signed a record deal, and took over the rock world. “Made in Hollywood: All Access with the Go-Go’s” will give readers the inside story with photos to match. It’s like sitting down with Schock and going through a scrapbook as she tells you the stories captured in those pictures.
In addition to the craziness we are invited to see in the book, the bond that these women have is amazing. To see in pictures and stories how much they love each really makes it clear why the Go-Go’s remain. In addition to hilarious moments, you can see their bond as they cared for Schock after her heart surgery. “We made it a party!,” she laughed. “These girls are my family. Yes, we fight, but we have grown up together and I love who we have all become.” Schock admits being 20-something rock stars had its difficult times, but they got through it together. She could not say enough good things about them all and the love truly radiates.
“Made in Hollywood: All Access with the Go-Go’s” will be out October 26th and there will be an audio book later, but I highly recommend picking up the physical book to pore over the many photos.
There are more things ahead for Schock and the Go-Go’s, but for now, we have to be patient. All in due time… Schock said it best in her book’s closing line: “The Go-Go’s are never over!”
If you would like to meet Gina Schock and pick up her book, she is having two SoCal meet and greets. November 5th at Harley Laguna Beach, you can share appetizers and conversation with Schock. You can also pop up to Mr. Music Head in Hollywood on November 6th to meet her as well. She has also added additional cities to her book tour, so check them out. Trust me when I say she is worth it! It was a pleasure to talk with her and when she said, “Call me anytime, babe!” at the end of our call, I believe she meant it!