Heroes: The Go-Go’s
The punk-pop innovators finally get their due with the release of ‘Made In Hollywood’ by Gina Schock.
“New York’s not a comfortable place unless you have some cash,” Gina Schock says over FaceTime. She’s calling from a friend’s apartment in Los Angeles, where she now lives. “Even after 27 years here, there are still parts I don’t know, like in the Pacific Palisades or Eagle Rock.” From New York to L.A. and everything in between, Schock has lived many different lives over the past 40 years as the drummer for The Go-Go’s, an all-female rock band that formed in California in 1978 and is still together today. Their songs like “We’ve Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” remain cornerstones in rock music. But for Schock, even long before the age of social media, when constant documentation of our lives has become the norm, Schock made sure to capture her time with the band all throughout the decades. “I had a camera hanging around my neck all the time,” she says. “I was snapping shots all the time, wherever we were…in an airport, on a tour bus, backstage, in our hotel rooms…anywhere. I was chronicling it…it primarily focuses on the ‘80s, which was the craziest and most fun time.” Now, Schock has gone through all of her old photographs in order to put together Made In Hollywood, a project that was originally meant to be a purely visual coffee table book but has since become something more. “There’s so much behind those images in photographs that I felt compelled to start writing about them,” Schock says about adding text to the book. “It reminds me of the journey I went through with the girls, all together. It brought me closer to everybody in the band, you know. It was a wonderful journey and putting this book together made me super grateful.”
Only four days after the book hit stores, Schock and the rest of The Go-Go’s also received the honor of being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “Well, we’ve certainly waited long enough,” Schock jokes. “The band had sort of resigned itself to the fact that we were just never going to be inducted, and we thought, ‘Well, we know what our contribution (to music) is’ you know?” That changed quickly after they received the news. “Everybody was kind of blown away and was smiling ear to ear, and all of a sudden, all of that acting like we didn’t care, well…I guess we did.” The Go-Go’s will also be going back on tour closer to the end of 2021. “I tell you, in every way, when we step on stage and start playing, there’s a wonderful, magical thing that happens,” she says. “There’s this fantastic chemistry that we have, where we just bounce off of each other. As mentioned, that energy has been going strong for over 40 years now. “You know, we’re still together, and there’s a reason,” Schock ponders out loud. “I’m not sure what that reason is other than to say, we’re a family.”
Read the exclusive interview with Gina Schock below!
V Magazine: I wanted to just start with the book that’s coming out. Can you tell me a little more about it?
Gina Schock: The book, Made in Hollywood, is my life through photographs. My life and the band, telling the story through photographs. And there also is text, I did wind up writing a lot more than I had anticipated. There’s so much behind those images in photographs that I felt compelled to start writing about them. It primarily focuses on the early 80s, which was like the craziest, fun time. And that’s when I had a camera hanging around my neck all the time. I was snapping shots all the time, wherever we were… in an airport, on a tour bus, backstage, in our hotel rooms… anywhere. I was chronicling it…it primarily focuses on the ‘80s, which was the craziest and most fun time.”
V: Thank God. You must be so thankful. Are you still photographing, or do you think you’re going to start again?
GS: I think I’m probably going to start again because I’m loving looking at all that I have. Looking at all these photographs has brought me back to a time in my life. And I looked at all this, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, this makes me realize that I’ve accomplished a lot.’ It reminds me of the journey I went through with the girls, all together. It brought me closer to everybody in the band. It was a wonderful journey and putting this book together made me super grateful.
V: I’m so hesitant to bring up COVID, but I’m wondering if timing-wise, that was part of why the book is coming together now because it was a project to do while we’re all sitting around?
GS: No, it just happened the way it did. What’s weird is it was a very organic process, and it worked out the way it did. The timing couldn’t have been better. I mean, my God, we’re getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the 30th. My book’s coming out on the 26th. We couldn’t have planned that. I mean, come on.
V: [laughs] I was sure you had planned it somehow.
GS: No, that was just crazy luck. There’s a synchronicity to this – I can’t believe it. Things couldn’t be better than they are right now, you know.
V: Can you tell me a bit more about getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
GS: We’ve certainly waited long enough. And I’d say it’s about time, but the band had sort of resigned itself to the fact that we were just never going to be inducted, and we thought, ‘Well, we know what our contribution (to music) is’ you know? And so we were kind of cool about it but then when we heard the rumblings of like, ‘Hey, you’re going to be nominated next.’ Everybody was kind of blown away and was smiling ear to ear, and all of a sudden, all of that acting like we didn’t care, well…I guess we did.
V: When was the last show you gave and when’s the next one gonna be?
GS: We’re doing shows at the end of the year here in the States and then next summer in June and July we’re going to be opening for Billy Idol in the UK like Wembley, Leeds – all these big football stadiums so that’s really exciting.
V: That’s such a dream concert. Do you still love doing live shows?
GS: I love being on tour. I am just a musician for life, I just love it. I love it. And I mean there’s plenty of time to have your life, but like the Go-Go’s, what a golden opportunity for the five of us to express our musical inclinations. I just feel so lucky. I love touring, I love getting out there and feeling the fans. There’s this thing, this electricity that you get when you’re playing. You give them something, they give you something back and together it’s this wonderful thing that happens only at a Go-Go show.
V: I know you’ve done projects outside the Go-Go’s especially with music and songwriting. Are you still doing stuff like that right now or is this all-consuming?
GS: This is all-consuming – with the book I mean. I am working like crazy for this book because this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me and it’s the culmination of all years and years – over 40 years worth of my life. It’s very important to me and I hope that I will get back into songwriting. I mean it’s always there. I’m capable of doing plenty of things, I’ve proven that to myself but right now the focus is this book and the Go-Go’s and the shows coming up and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There’s a lot going on till January of next year.
V: So, you were never a New York Girl? You always lived in LA?
GS: No, New York’s my second home. I grew up in Baltimore so I used to go to New York as a kid with my parents.We were always taking trips up there. And then I had an apartment in New York for 15 years, or I had a couple of apartments for like a 15-year span. I love that city. Here’s the thing about New York City, you can be really young but you can’t get old in New York City and not have money. You gotta have money. New York’s not a comfortable place unless you have some cash.