Monday, September 3, 2012

Early Go-Go's Mischief And Mayhem - Part I

The Go-Go's didn't remain terrible for long.
We needed someone to guide us through the basics, starting with how to plug in our equipment. We really were that clueless.
Charlotte was a California blonde with a sensibility that was more pop than punk. It was probably because she actually had some music training ... Margot and I approached her one night backstage at the Starwood and asked if she wanted to join us in our new band, the Go-Go's. It's funny to think that we hadn't even played a gig but we were already talking as if there was nothing more real and happening than our band ... We told her who was in the group and that she would play lead guitar, which she said sounded great. What she left out was that she didn't know how to play lead guitar.
No problem! Here's how Charlotte tells it:
Belinda came up to me that night at the Starwood, I was playing with my punk band The Eyes; it was The Jam, The Dickies, and The Eyes, and we would play two sets a night. Of course, I can’t imagine that today (laughs). But it was between sets, Belinda and Margot came up to me and they looked so freaky to me, because I was pretty normal looking. I think Belinda had purple hair and she was wearing a trash bag, and spiky heels with ripped stockings. Now it’s no big deal, but back then it was freaky. And Margot had pink and green hair and all this freaky makeup. And I thought, Well, this sounds like fun.
Again, another life-altering decision clearly made with the gravity the occasion deserved. It turns out that Charlotte would fit right in:
Slash magazine ran our first print interview/feature, and in it, Jane described herself as an "ex-Catholic, ex-cowgirl, ex-fashion designer." Charlotte said that she possessed an IQ of 165 and declared herself a genius whose fantasy was "to be gang-raped by seven Mister Rogers clones." I described myself as a reject from a "strict Southern Baptist home" who liked "huge sweatshirts, rabbit feet, the Hollywood cemetary, rosaries, penguins, the Marquis de Sade, and gin rummy."
Sign me up! At this point Belinda, most of the other Go-Go's, and various members of the L.A. punk scene lived in a soon to be infamous apartment building known as the Canterbury.
If someone had blown up the Canterbury, and God knows someone might have tried, most of Hollywood's punk scene would have been destroyed. I heard rumors the Canterbury's landlord was also a pimp and oversaw a theft ring ... The Canterbury was a great big interconnected stew of  crazies devoted to two things, partying and music, though it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began ... Theresa and I had a studio apartment with a kitchen. It came with a disgustingly dirty and worn plaid sofa - the piece that qualified it as "furnished." We also shared a Murphy bed. One day, in a burst of inspiration, I set out to paint the bathroom bloodred, but I ran out of steam halfway through and never finished.
Well, what's more punk than a bloodred bathroom? A halfway painted bloodred bathroom. In the book We Got The Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story Of L.A. Punk, former Runaways manager (and all-around sleazy music business hanger-on) Kim Fowley put it best:
The scene at the Masque and the Canterbury got into a lot of decadence and debauchery, and all of the fucking and sucking, and the heroin and the dog fucking and the obese shit-assing with the Go-Go's and their early circle. Somewhere in the vomit, the blood, and vaginal pus, somewhere among the filthy hypo syringes and the blubber, there probably was poetry. Scene cheerleaders got to have their scabied cunts eaten on dirty roach-infested floors while this loop music raged and worms crawled, you know? It was excremental existential sexual shit at death's door. 

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