Entertainment » Music

Belinda Carlisle Talks Current Tour, Reliving the '80s

by Steve Duffy
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Jul 12, 2018

When Belinda Carlisle was a teenager, she joined a Los Angeles-based, punk rock band The Germs under the name of Dottie Danger; but she never performed with them due to a bout with mononucleosis. Soon after she started The Misfits, who became The Go-Gos, and the rest is pop music history.

With their first CD, "Beauty and the Beat," The Go-Gos became the first all-female band in pop music to achieve a #1 album while writing their own music and playing their own instruments. After the group disbanded in 1985, Carlisle has had a successful solo career with such radio hits such as "Mad About You", "I Get Weak", "Circle in the Sand", "Leave a Light On," and "Heaven Is a Place on Earth." In 2010 she published her autobiography "Lips Unsealed," which became a New York Times bestseller. Last year she released her latest CD, "Wilder Shores."

Ms. Carlisle still occasionally performs with The Go-Gos, most recently at three sold-out concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. She is currently on tour as part of the Retro Futura, America's premier tour of artists from the 1980s. Joining Carlisle on this year's tour are ABC, Modern English, Tony Lewis from the Outfield, LiMAHL and Bow Wow Wow's Annabella. For upcoming dates on the tour, visit this web page.

EDGE spoke to Ms. Carlisle about the tour, her music, and being the mother of a gay son.

EDGE: Best part about reliving the '80s on this tour?

Belinda Carlisle: It's amazing! The '80s were so great for music. It is a lot of fun to be part of this tour. It's going to be instant gratification for the fans.

EDGE: Which songs do you still enjoy singing while on the tour?

Belinda Carlisle: The one that I don't sing while on this tour - "Summer Rain." It is such a great song with a complex melody. I will be singing a lot of fan favorites. I still love singing "Mad About You."

EDGE: Do you get sentimental when you perform a Go-Go's song?

Belinda Carlisle: I don't get sentimental about the songs, but I do get sentimental about us as a group and what we have accomplished. We just performed a 3-night sold-out show at the Hollywood Bowl. I am still humble and honored that so many fans want to continue to see us perform.

Punk rock roots

EDGE: How do you feel about the music industry today?

Belinda Carlisle: Honesty, I do not pay much attention to it. Most of today's artists are uninteresting. The music industry is more about producing a package than producing someone with real talent. I am a huge fan of Lady Gaga and Adele. Both have real talent.

EDGE: With your roots in punk rock, do you still have some in you?

Belinda Carlisle: Always! It's in my DNA. I will always have a little rebel in me. I am always looking for ways to reinvent myself, but I will always be that little punk rocker who started the Go-Go's so long ago.

EDGE: In your book "Lips Unsealed," you chronicle your journey to recovery. How has being open about your past struggles helped you heal?

Belinda Carlisle: It keeps you accountable when others know what you have gone through. Plus, it is my story to tell. I can control the narrative. When others try and tell your story it is never right. When you can share what you have been through hopefully others will also seek help for any issues that they have.

Becoming politically aware

EDGE: How did you discover Buddhism and how has it changed your life?

Belinda Carlisle: I grew up in a strict Christian family and (was) forced to go to church every Sunday and religion never clicked with me. The older I got I found myself asking who was I, where had I been, what had I been doing. I started doing a lot of reading and one book that I favored was "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. I was able to really connect and embraced Buddhism in a way that made sense for me. I chant a few times a day. It has become a solid spiritually foundation for me.

EDGE: How has having a gay son changed you as a mother?

Belinda Carlisle: My son came out to me when he was 14 years old. I was so glad that he was comfortable enough to tell me. I didn't care that he was gay, I cared more about what kind of world he was going to have to live in. Since his coming out, I have become more politically aware. It doesn't matter who you are or who you are in love with, we all have a voice and need to use it to be heard and to make change.

EDGE: What's next for Belinda Carlisle?

Belinda Carlisle: Right now, my plate is pretty full. The 30th anniversary of my album "Runaway Horses" is this year, so I will be doing something to celebrate that. I will also continue being a contributor for Condé Nast Traveler. What I love about this point of my life is that I am as busy as I want to be.

For more information on Belinda, visit visit her web site.

For upcoming dates on the Retro Futura tour, visit this web page.

For those in the Boston area interested in purchasing tickets for the tour's July 15 date at the Lynn Auditorium visit the Lynn Auditorium website.


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