By MIKE CHAIKEN
They’re saying “farewell.” But they’re not saying goodbye forever.
The Go Go’s are out on the road this summer, and they’re coming to Connecticut next week, on what is dubbed their 2016 Farewell Tour.
But the band’s original and only drummer Gina Schock said the group is not, repeat, breaking up. And they’re not foregoing live performances. They just won’t be traveling from city to city as they have had since their first album, “Beauty and the Beat” skyrocketed to the top of the charts with hits such as “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We’ve Got the Beat” and established the group as superstars.
The decision, however, to halt touring was not a sudden one, said Schock. There has been discussion among the band members—which also include singer Belinda Carlisle, guitarist Jane Wiedlin, and guitarist Charlotte Coffey—to get off the road for some time already.
Schock said the change wasn’t a unanimous decision. She, for one, is a “diehard roadie… I loved to tour.
She said touring is great because you get to stay in nice hotels. You get to travel.
But then, at the end of the day, Schock said, you do have to work. “It takes a lot out of you.”
Although she’d like to keep playing all over, Schock said she is understanding about why some members want to get off the road.
“Maybe that will change,” said Schock, who hopes to convince the band members to reconsider. “We’ll play it by ear.”
But The Go Go’s still are a going concern, tours or not. “We’re still together.” And she said the band will try to find other ways to play live.
There are other projects in the works for The Go Go’s as well, said Schock. For instance, they are working on new music.
One of the ventures seems miles away from what one would expect from a group that started off as a punk band in the Los Angeles scene. The band’s songs have been included in a jukebox musical called “Head Over Heels.”
But, Schock said, the show is not based on the story of The Go Go’s. It is built around a 15th century poem called “The Arcadia.” The show, with a book by Jeff Whitty (“Avenue Q”), had a production last year at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It currently is being workshopped at Vassar College.
Schock was clearly excited about the show as she cited the number of awards—such as Pulitzers—earned by the creatives. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow also is a producer.
“It’s looking hopeful and great,” said Schock.
She stopped in for the workshop and Schock said she was “knocked out” by “Head Over Heels.” “It’s beautiful… The arrangements (of The Go Go’s songs) are breathtaking.”
Although weaving the songs of The Go Go’s with a 15th century poem seems a stretch, Schock said “it works seamlessly.”
“Here we were a punk band and now we’re doing Broadway,” said Schock.
The fact that people are still talking about this former punk band nearly 40 years after they hit the L.A. rock scene is not a surprise to Schock. After all, for herself, that’s all she wanted.
When she left her home in Baltimore when she was 21 to go to L.A., Schock said she told all of her friends when she came back she was going to be a rock star. And she did.
“I did believe anything was possible,” said Schock. “All I lived for was music.”
And it just worked out The Go Go’s have stood the test of time, said Schock. “It’s been magical, wonderful… insane.”
For the Farewell Tour, Schock said the fans should expect a longer set than has been typical for the band. They’ll also be pulling out songs that they never performed live before, including stuff dating back to their punk days in 1979. They even will pull in songs like Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball.”
“We’re just approaching this like every tour, we’re going to do the best show we can,” said Schock.
And after the tour, besides The Go Go’s, Schock is working on her songwriting career and will continue her efforts to get her songs in the hands of major artists as well as working with developing artists.
The Go Go’s perform at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield on Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $150. For tickets, go to www.RidgefieldPlayhouse.org
For more information about The Go Go’s, go to GoGos.com