Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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

After the Go-Go's third show in 1978, Belinda stepped off the stage "feeling like we had played our best show yet...":
But then I popped a cassette of that show into the tape player of a friend's car. Until then, I had never heard myself sing. I was horrified. I sounded terrible. I could carry a tune, but barely. I also screamed more than I sang.

I hit the Stop button, put my hands over my face, and thought, Oh my God, I need to take some vocal lessons.

More daunting than vocal lessons, however, was the unreliability of their drummer, Elissa Bello, who "frequently missed rehearsals and didn't seem to be taking the band seriously enough." Um, like the rest of the Go-Go's were?

Gina was a talented, serious, and trained drummer from Baltimore who had come to L.A. with Edie and the Eggs, and art-house group fronted by Edith Massey, a favorite actress of cult movie director John Waters.

We broke the news to Elissa, who was understandably upset and ended up telling people that she'd been booted because she was dating a girl whose ex was our manager, and blah blah blah. It wasn't true. Elissa was fired because she wasn't reliable and it became obvious we needed a drummer with serious talent and attitude.
Well, it certainly sounds like Elissa had the attitude, just maybe not the talent (also: do I still detect some sour grapes, more than thirty years later?). Soon to be dumped bassist Margot Olaverra frequently displayed issues of her own:
At some point in the evening, whether we were playing or partying, she would end up on the stage in whatever club we were in, shouting, "Where is my purse? Somebody stole my purse!" Then she cried. Then she got mad at everyone, grabbed the microphone, and shouted, "Motherfuckers, give me back my purse!"

People got so used to it they rolled their eyes and said, "There she goes again." As far as I know, here purse was never stolen.
Maybe it was part of the act. Hell, in the punk scene, you could be disturbingly weird on-stage, intentionally, and receive praise for it!
In July, Devo played at the Starwood, and the Ohio art school grads were so good they subsequently ended up being the house band at the Whiskey.

I was a huge fan of Devo, but I was always intimidated around Mark Mothersbaugh and the other guys. It wasn't for any reason other than that they were smart college graduates who had a well-thought-out vision, and I feared not understanding whatever it was they were talking about.
That's OK Belinda, no one else really understood it either.

But she probably felt like a Mensa member compared to a certain Van Halen frontman:
In his memoir, David Lee Roth said he screwed one of the Go-Go's. Not true - unless there was some hanky-panky I didn't know about. He may have exaggerated a close encounter the two of us had one night outside the Whiskey following a Van Halen show. He was entertaining a gaggle of girls on the sidewalk, and I was walking to the Rainbow from my apartment. As I passed by, he grabbed me and we made out on the corner.

Till that moment, we had never met. I'm not even sure that should be counted a meeting.
Oh, I think it counts, Belinda.

But soon, two contemporary British bands would do more for the Go-Go's than merely intimidate them with their art school intellect, or their lips.


George Vreeland Hill said...

I love the Go-Go's.
This is great stuff.

George Vreeland Hill

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