The Go-Go’s

Alison Ellwood (director)
The Go-Go’s

When Police drummer Stewart Copeland discovers the Go-Go’s are not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he’s incredulous.

“The most important aspect of musicianship is feel,” Copeland declares in this 90-minute documentary that makes a good case that the first (and last) all-female band to reach #1 should be in the HoF. “They established a groove that worked.”

The captivating film follows the group’s evolution from punks who couldn’t play their instruments to catchy pop hits like “Vacation” and “We Got The Beat,” and playing Madison Square Garden in less than a year. Director Alison Ellwood pulls almost no punches in the drugs and sex categories, including intra-band relationships and litigation, with candid interviews from all members, past and present.

In live footage, Kathy Valentine delivers creative, authoritative bass lines, and despite her nonstop bouncing, Jane Wiedlin’s rhythm guitar is solid. As a melodicist, Charlotte Caffey is not of the blues-bender school; in the manner of George Harrison or Duane Eddy, she plays guitar parts more than solos. And in Belinda Carlisle and Gina Schock they had a charismatic front person and first-rate drummer. A bonus is the parade of Ricks, Fenders, Gibsons, and Gretsches.

This article originally appeared in VG April 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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